After days of being more “off the (Internet) grid” than on it, I am reconnected with the technological tools upon which I am embarrassingly dependent. Last week, my laptop and cell phone/PDA were stolen from my car, and I have been scrambling ever since. Though I am pretty “religious” about backing up my computer data, I did lose most of the sermon notes and manuscripts from 2009, the bulk of a writing project I had been working on (and for which the deadline is approaching), and virtually all of my contact information for literally hundreds of people.

I had a real problem getting a new PDA/phone and getting it activated. I spent hours (2.5) on the phone with tech support, another hour with the warranty company that had sent a replacement (reconditioned) phone, and still another hour at the Verizon store–all to know avail. I could make calls but not receive email–a real problem. I made one last trip to Verizon to say, “I am just going to buy a brand new PDA and, when the warranty stuff gets straightened out, I will have a backup device.” This time, I got a different technician who said, “Let me take a look at that phone.” He tinkered with it for about 15 minutes and got it working like a charm.

And, I thought: even in a technology driven business, it’s people who make the difference: well-trained, customer service oriented, and friendly people.

If that’s true with the providers of electronic tools and gadgets, and the software that makes them run, just think how much truer it is for the church. All the programs, ministries, and projects matter, but not nearly as much as caring people who take time to listen, to help, and to connect with others–with their needs, gifts, hopes and dreams. Personal connection makes all the difference.