We are hooked to our cell phones. Our cell phones are hooked to us. It’s replaced the GPS, camera, calculator, flashlight, the news, letter-writing, a calendar, and the home phone. It’s changed the way we do life. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s here to stay and we can admit we like it.
The latest research reports that an average person spends 2 hours and 51 minutes per day on their mobile device. 22% check their phones every few minutes and 51% look at it a few times per hour. Just take that in.
When our kids were little, before I was on a local church staff, I made Sunday morning the best day of the week. Nobody woke up to alarms, but rather breakfast in bed. The house smelled like muffins (thank you, Jiffy muffin mix) and each was accompanied by a favorite, morning, tasty beverage: coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate. Every other day of the week could start by alarm, rushing, searching, running, on the move. But not Sunday. I thought of it as ‘pouring out a drink offering as unto the Lord.’ This tradition continued when I went on church staff, because…well, Sundays are game day and it’s the day we prioritized to be dedicated to our family’s faith formation in partnership with the local church.
Mr. Bob and I decided early on, before I was on staff, to live out Hebrews 10:25 and had to constantly attend to guarding Sunday mornings for church. We still would participate in all sorts of non-church activities, but we knew we could not raise adults who would love the Lord with their whole hearts for their whole lives without the help of what the local church had to offer: relationships, values, teaching, practicing, and experiences in developmentally appropriate ways with other Jesus guys and gals. Today, that investment has paid off with both making attendance and involvement in their local churches a priority in each of their families.
When the pandemic hit last spring, I imagined what we could offer as an easy win for high impact effectiveness and would cover the greatest amount of territory (Prayer of Jabez). With the desire that our families not become accustomed to doing life without their local church, the cell phone was a good place and platform to love people to Jesus systematically, personally, and creatively.
For almost a year, if I received a text from someone, they’ve gotten a text from me on Sunday mornings. Not through a database, but by sitting down each Sunday morning in my quiet chair (which is not always quiet) and taking the time to reach out to them all on my cell phone. All of them.
I choose a meme, image, or scripture on Saturday evening so it’s at the top of my photo file and send a text to each person in my phone. I last counted in January for a total of 162.
I send the text. I pray for him/her. Once my phone reads, “Delivered” I send the next. Not everyone replies, but many do. I Sunday morning text with no expectation. But for those who I have not seen in over a year, it’s been a weekly check-in and the ongoing text conversations have been personal and precious.
I’m sharing this because it’s easy. It’s in your hand. Yes, it takes time, but everyone is worth the time and we know how special it makes us feel when someone texts us ‘just because.’ We are family! If I’ve gotten a text or sent a text in the last week, which builds the list, they hear from me on Sunday mornings. Just a quick reminder that, “I’m in this with you, Brother,” “I’m in this with you, Sister.”
Who’s in your hand? How are you checking in with them systematically, personally, and creatively?