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I keep a list in “Notes” on my iPhone of over 120 passwords for everything from Naval Academy business, Gmail, Instagram, Spotify, Hulu, MyChart, Zoom, DMV, Adobe Cloud . . .

One of my favorite passwords, and it is only used on 1 of the 120 accounts, is “DeathBy Meeting2021!!

Annette says I have an odd sense of humor but “DeathByMeeting2021!!” makes me laugh. I often joke that if a Martian came to Earth, he would be shocked at three things: 

  1. Why we sit for so many hours in front of a box (TV).
  2. Why we pay for water.
  3. Why the people of Earth spend so much time in meetings while most participants pay little attention and play on their phones or computers.

The theory is I am ADD and that could be true, though clinical testing says not. What I do know is as a pastor and a bishop I spend untold hours in meetings. I have been in a 6 hour Zoom meeting! I have been in bishop meetings in the US where senior bishops read the newspaper and didn’t listen to a word! A few years back, I was in a 13-hour bishop’s meeting in Rwanda where no one but the presenter was paying any attention.

A three-star general in my first church held all his meetings standing up and limited them to 12 minutes. He said the productivity went way up when he shifted to this format and length. 

One of my jobs as a bishop/overseer of clergy and churches is to go to meetings. Meetings can be awesome. They can be important and useful. But clergy often have 4–6-hour meetings that honestly are highly inefficient.

Last year I decided to switch the way our vestry functioned. At our monthly meetings, we now spend half the time in prayer with people in our church who are sick or walking through a challenging time. It is has been an absolute gamechanger. We still get all our work done, but we do most of the heavy lifting before we gather together. This is actually way more effective because when considering important matters, we can present the detailed info ahead of time and allow folks to dig deep into the weeds. They can ask questions and get clarification when they are not tired and have time to think critically. This happens BEFORE we gather to meet. And the win is that now parishioners get deep heart-felt prayers from their shepherds that “availeth much.”

This week as we gathered our clergy, we likewise made a shift to more time spent praying to the Lord, listening to the Lord and praying for one another. 

I cannot tell you how powerful this was. I have had clergy text me and say this was the best meeting they have gone to in their entire time as a pastor. We are not machines. We need the prayers of our brothers and sisters.

How might you get an opportunity to pray with others?

Pray with folks before you end your phone call? Pray a short blessing over your friend or family member? Pray together before bedtime? Our Book of Common Prayer has an awesome service called Compline which I highly commend. Also, Family Prayer If you need help, try these out. Let me know what the Lord has taught you and what works.

Every Grace,