I was on the road this week, with a few of those days of travel spent on the Mid North Coast for our Term 3 Principal Advisory meetings. 

Based out of both Kempsey Adventist School and then also Stuarts Point Convention Centre – now known as Yarra Holiday Park – I spent those days swapping between a myriad of meetings, conversations and catch ups. My travel buddy was our company GM, Mr. Paul Hattingh; he and I needed to arrive early at KAS for some pre-meetings, before our Principal meetings kicked off on Tuesday afternoon, and so we were wonderfully hosted that day by the KAS Business Manager and his team.

Upon arrival we were kindly given his office, as our own private meeting space; but only after having the joy of meeting ‘Waffles’, the KAS ‘support dog’ with all of his fluffy exuberant welcome (Waffles and Business Manager both of course!). Once in the Business Manager’s Office though, we set ourselves up for a zoom meeting and a range of ‘admin’ tasks that needed to be completed online.

What made this a noteworthy experience is that we literally shared the same L shaped desk for nearly three hours: sitting opposite sides and navigating a shared work area between us full of screens, iPads, papers and cords. While one of us was in a Zoom, the other was quietly typing away in the background and then at other times, we were both busy typing, emailing and Teams-ing messages across this great land of ours. At one point, a Zoom was even taking place between Kempsey, Perth, Sydney and Fiji! The marvel that is technology was clearly evident.

In the space of those three hours though we represented what both the physical proximity benefit of team, and the distant technology connection benefit of team, looks like. The key linkage element in all of those experiences though was simple: communication – clear, direct and relational. 

For those that may not know, my office space in Cooranbong is in the corner of our large meeting room downstairs, whilst our managers are based upstairs in pods, offices and groups. My day is therefore filled with either myself or the team benefiting from our ‘staircase required workout’, as we catch up face to face by moving from one floor to the next and back again because often, a digital message just does not fit the situation.

And that is the key: being present, in the moment and in person.

In this age of easy access to each other via technology, it is so easy to forgo the effort of leaving a desk, a room, a building or even a location; to then spend time in face to face, same time, same place, personal conversation.

Team requires investment. Constant investment allows for future returns, drawdowns, on the relational bank account.

Investment in knowing.

Investment in sharing.

Investment in being, doing and caring.

Investment in same time, same place, face to face communication.

I can only wonder at how impossible building the deep connection felt by the disciples with Jesus would have been if they only had an ancient version of Twitter (now known as X); texting and emailing being their only connection with Christ.

The idea that a ‘disciple’ has the dust of their Rabbi’s shoes on their own feet, provides a wonderful image of the impact of relationship, connectivity and proximity. Whilst many ‘Knew of Christ’, the disciples in fact ‘Knew Christ’ (as well as any human could) because of the time they spent together, face to face; doing life together.

So as you plan for next week, as you look at your meetings, the ones that truly matter, I encourage you to review them from a relational, connectivity and presence perspective.

As the saying goes: ‘wherever you are, BE there’. Literally.

In person, in conversation, in team.


This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.