What a time we live in! The way we do everything is changing rapidly. As an example, after lots of conversation with the staff and leaders of NorthStar, we made a cool decision – we eliminated our office space… NorthStar staff are now TRULY mobile workers. Here’s why we did it:
- We started looking at just how many costs were involved in having an office just to have an office. I don’t think that having that space is money well spent… we can do everything that we do in that space, in other spaces (keep reading). Value directed this decision.
- Several pastors in the area that I respect highly (including my friend Nate Ferguson over at The Village) work out of the homes of the staff or other places. They arrange meetings in public spaces (restaurants/coffee shops/etc) and have the flexibility to be where they need to be when they need to be there. As I researched this, I discovered that most that I talked to liked this option so much, they NEVER intended on building an office (and their churches are growing, I believe, in part because of it)! Experience affirmed this decision.
- Technology allows me to video conference with my staff at any time via iChat. While in Atlanta last week, I could talk to my family, staff, and friends like I was in the same room…nearly effortlessly. An internet based (VoIP) PBX phone system rings multiple locations and transfers calls as though we were in the same building (should be online this week). Add to that the instant messages, email, voice mail, text messaging, etc. and I can be in contact effortlessly. Technology empowered this decision.
- Finally, I have become more and more a mobile worker over the last two years. Every morning I start my day out of the office in a coffee shop to think, pray, read, and be around people. It is a vital part of my day. I spend all day Wednesday in a "third place" to write the body of my weekend talk. And I schedule more meetings in restaurants, coffee shops, and other places than my office, because it is usually more convenient and comfortable for people. This ensures that I am connected, plugged in, and listening to culture and those not like me. It helps me mix with folk… vital to my ministry. Culture and diversity inspired this decision.