Parish life is non-stop. Whether it’s a marriage prep, meeting with a family after a loved one has passed, visiting an elementary class, or leading a bible study, there’s always a next thing to do. In the midst of all of the bustle, it’s incredibly easy for details to slip through the cracks and small annoyances to start adding up. One of these details is simply knowing where to go for your next pastoral care visit. 

When Fr. Smith was first assigned to St. Peter’s parish (and before smartphones were ubiquitous) he was told to visit Nancy Johnson at her home. The problem? No one at the parish provided any help. So, Fr. Smith brought out his map and address book and started driving. He drove, and drove, and drove some more, but Nancy’s house was nowhere to be found. Eventually he realized he had to turn around at a particular sign, drive to the end of a road, turn to the right, then take a left and go far enough down and around a corner to find it. After visiting Nancy and returning to the parish, Fr. Smith was exhausted and he still had three more visits to make. To top it off, at the end of an incredibly frustrating day, his pastor called him and asked if he was truly committed to his vocation.

Even now with the ease of smartphones and Google Maps, tiny details such as finding each address for each pastoral visit can be a serious hassle. Not only do you have to dig through your files or spreadsheets, but you also have to hope that the information you have is up-to-date. Much like Fr. Smith, you have probably thought to yourself, “There has to be a better way to do this.”

The simple truth of the matter is that even for the best and most well-meaning ministers, these small hassles and annoyances eventually impact ministry. The tiredness and frustration are things we often think we can hide, but in the end they will break through the mask we put up and affect those we are trying to serve. So what’s the solution? Use simple tech to never miss a small detail.

Imagine receiving a daily email with all of the names and addresses of every pastoral visit you need to make neatly laid out for you. Better yet, imagine being able to see that on an app that can also automatically provide you directions to each visit. This is what is possible, this is the better way. 

When these kinds of small details are ironed out, things that were once a burden become easy. That low level anxiety and stress you’re used to feeling? Gone. Any worry you had about getting lost on the way to a visit? Gone. Suddenly, you are free to be more present, more caring, more loving because the details that used to take up your energy are now handled through a simple app on your phone and computer. Now more than ever, we need to focus on being present to those we serve and accompanying them on the way. This only happens when we can stop sweating the details. It is time to choose the better way.