This blog isn’t about technlogy. But as a middle aged techie, I realize that we use technology in church much more than we did when I started pastoring almost 25 years ago. So I am going to write some articles about using technology in ministry, how it can help, some pitfalls, and some tips.
One of those ubiquitous technologies is email. Most everyone has email now. In my church most meeting minutes, scheduling, committee communication, and interoffice communication is via email.
I’m one of those Americans who is tethered to my iPhone so if someone emails me I receive that email within minutes. So what is the problem?
Most of the email I receive is either garbage (advertising, etc.) or items such as newsletters that I really don’t need to see right away and that I really don’t need to be interrupted by. But I keep close tabs on my email so that I do get important email from church members, colleagues, and family. So the problem is then, how do you use email effectively and not waste huge amounts of time?
One solution is message filtering. You can do a lot of work in your email client to filter email into categories, but that takes a lot of time, and for some people is too complicated.
One solution on the iPhone are programs like Mailbox.app, a mail program that basically allows you to triage your email and have important email return to your inbox at predetermined times. Boxer.app also does similar kinds of sorting of email. I am currently using Boxer on my iPhone and iPad for email. I wish it had a Mac client.
Currently I’m testing an email service that really has reduced the amount of junk in my inbox. It is called Sanebox. Sanebox scans through all of your email and works really well if you have a gmail account. It checks your email for addresses you have previous replied to. Any address you have previously replied to goes to your inbox. By default all other email is sorted into another folder for your to check on later.
If there is an email that you want in your inbox you drag it to your inbox and sanebox will remember next time to put that email addresses mail in your inbox.
I have been amazed how much this has reduced the trash I have to wade through in my email. Now I only see email I really need to see. Then, when I am not busy, I check the Sanebox folder for anything I might have missed. After using it for a few days, little to nothing that is in the Sanebox folder is really anything I need to see, or at least not right away.
Just a warning here, Sanebox is not free. If you decide to give it a try, there is a three week trial period and then, if you like it, you have to pay a fee.
Also, if you are an iPhone user, the Boxer email app has built in Sanebox integration.
It is great when we can really make technology work for us rather than add to our work load!