One of the recent trends in communication has been the adoption of cell phones by the general public. Many of those people who have been the most adamant adopters have been in the younger generation. Most young adults up to the age of 30 have never known a world without cell phones and cannot imagine being disconnected. Even when these you people move out of their parents homes or leave college to get their own place they do not opt to have a land line. The thought seems to be, “I already have a phone, why would I want a land line phone?” In an economic sense this seems to be very logical…for us older people (older than 30…) the thought of totally doing away with a land line seems equally unthinkable.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]“Non-attenders end up calling the church phone and leaving a message. This is not an ideal situation.” [/cryout-pullquote] As for me, right now the Church has a land line with an answering machine which gets checked twice a week. Members of the church know that if they want to get in touch with me they should do so by calling my home phone, or in an emergency my cell phone. Unfortunately this can also lead to abuse of your phone numbers. On one recent day I received three non-emergency calls on my personal cell phone while at work. On the other hand, non-attenders end up calling the church phone and leaving a message. This is not an ideal situation.
Despite the feeling of jumping off a cliff by getting rid of their land line, bivocational pastors may want to follow the lead of their young adults.
- Cell phones have built-in capabilities bivos need. Voice-mail and texting are two very desirable capabilities that a land line may or may not offer. Answering machines are a poor alternative.
- Long distance service is included at no additional charge on many plans.
- Cell phones increase your availability. Because you can carry a cell phone with you, if a call comes in you really need to answer…it is right there in your hand, not on an answering machine two days from now.
- Cell phones can be had fairly cheaply and reduce your monthly phone bill. Pre-paid phones can be as low as $10 with a $20 card for minutes. Our phone bill for one month is in the $30 to $40 range per month, with no long distance included. A full smartphone is not needed. A simple flip phone is sufficient for most uses.
- By being available via the church cell phone you can STOP giving out your home phone and personal cell phone numbers to people who might abuse them.
- Cell phones allow you to filter your calls and set appropriate office hours. If you make it known you will allow the phone to go to voicemail after a set time, for instance, phone number abuse can be kept to a minimum. Caller ID can help you avoid sales calls.
The main disadvantage I can think of when getting rid of a land line is that your listing in the yellow pages will disappear. However, this may not be the problem we think it is. Yellow page usage is going down all the time, and people are searching on the web for phone numbers of churches. A solution to this might be to try it for a month or two with a prepaid cell phone while keeping your land line. See how it works before you make the leap!
In short, for the bivocational pastor a cell phone may allow you to be not only more efficient in your ministry but may cut costs for your church as well.