Wednesday, 16 May 2018 07:53

The Integrity of Approachability

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Our approachability is vital. Our integrity is at stake.

 “Did you read my email?” A ministry friend asked me this question – he was following up on an earlier promotion that had sent me. At times like this you have several choices: lie, act dumb, or admit the truth. By the time the question was posed (truthfully) I could not remember the email correspondence. My answer was, “I cannot remember getting the promotion.”

More and more I am concerned with the integrity of approachability. WOW! What a title. I use this title for lack of a better one. Let me explain. Everyday we are approached by friends, ministry associates, family, and colleagues with information. This information comes in various forms: promotions, information, a greeting, or an opportunity for ministry.

Communications is a two-way street and our response to messages aimed at us is where integrity comes into play. If I ignore a friend’s message, what kind of friend am I?

In a day when ministers are inundated with information overload, how do I manage my integrity and allow myself to be approachable, without becoming brain dead by endless pieces of correspondence? On a regular basis, I am reminded that we ministers do not return text messages, emails, and/or phone calls.

Each day we are bombarded with text messages, emails, and promotions that desensitize us. How do we handle these bombardments and protect our hearts with integrity and remain approachable?

I am reminded of Jesus’ encounter with two bewildered disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Lk. 24:13-35) These two men were confused, struggling to find answers, and hanging on the brink of hopelessness. Jesus displayed the integrity of approachability with them. How did He do it?

Jesus took time. The two disciples were walking along talking. Jesus took time to walk with them and answer their questions.

Each day it is important that I take time to listen to those who are reaching out to me. It might be a text message, an email, or a promotion. As I typed this message a friend texted me an order for a Subway sandwich. I had promised to pick up sandwiches for a pastor’s discussion group. If I had ignored this message I would have damaged my integrity with that pastor.

Jesus interacted with the two disciples. He listened, asked questions, and responded to their thoughts. If I receive messages and fail to respond, it is as if I am saying “I do not care.” I indict myself for my lack of attention and response in paragraph one.

Pastors, I may sound a little preachy as I write this article, but I think I am on target. Our approachability is vital. Our integrity is at stake. I realize we cannot be vulnerable to every text message or email that comes across our desks or screens. However, we cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to friends and those who need to approach us. To close ourselves off is to close our heart to ministry. We have our integrity to protect!

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