Where not to have a Quiet Day


09/12/2013 by Chris Green

tumblr_static_calm-lake-107227You do still have them in your diary, don’t you? Those regular pauses in your ministry life that make it possible to breathe, sink in God’s Word, and regroup your plans.

Once a month, perhaps, taking a couple of hours for you, a Bible and a notebook.

Once a quarter, perhaps, taking a day for your, your Bible, your notebook, and your plans for the year to see how you’re doing.

And maybe a day or two in the quieter times in the summer to do some serious thinking.

But where do you go? Some people go to regular conference centres, though the costs mount up. Cheap hotels can be bit seedy. Spiritual retreat centres can be a lovely for some; a bit inward looking for others. Staying with friends, perhaps.

Having just had a Quiet Day myself, I’ve discovered where I never, ever want to have a Quiet Day. It’s nothing to do with being in the country, or away from people, or by the sea, mountains or a lake. Noise and people do not make a place distracting. The most distracting place for me, is anywhere with wi-fi.

Which, given that I live in the twenty-first century, is pretty much most of the planet that I could access.

Here’s what I do when I really need space for thinking. I give all my internet enabled equipment to someone else. Phone, iPad, everything. If I’m in a room I physically remove any cable that makes wi-fi or internet access possible. I give them to someone I trust, and ask them not to give them back to me. If anyone needs to contact me, that person can handle my calls.

Why has this happened? Our brains have a gazillion thoughts a second, and one of the weirdnesses of the web is that we can act on any of them. I must contact Matt! What is the name of that weird fish I saw on TV last night? I need to choose a Bible passage for that CU meeting. Remember to buy milk! And in order to be productive, we’ve utilised digital tools. Forget the weird fish thing, but my diary, planner, lists, contacts, Bible, books I’m reading, are all often on the same device, tempting me to flick and flick and flick.

That’s really helpful in many contexts, but not when I need to focus.

Now, most of us have the self control to switch off for an hour or two. But a whole Quiet Day offline is a bigger issue.

In order to be productive, I have to ditch the tools that make me productive.

That takes planning. So if I want my diary I need to arrange to print it out beforehand. I need notebooks and pens and pencils, because I’m going to a land where there is no Evernote or Nozbe. I need to be able to record those fleeting ideas, and yes, later I’ll make them digital.

But for my Quiet Days I need to be off the cloud.  Where do you go?


Click HERE for occasional updates from me, and you’ll be entered for the giveaway AND receive a free e-book, ‘The Power of God’s Words.’ I won’t share your email with anyone else.


11 thoughts on “Where not to have a Quiet Day

  1. Windy_London says:

    Quiet days are difficult with little kids running around the place, but I take the point.
    I (and my family) would benefit most from WiFi/3G free evenings. If you do see me online after 10pm tell me to switch off 🙂

  2. Totally agreed – I even turn wifi off sometimes for sermon prep, but definitely wouldn’t take anything with internet access away on a quiet day. If I’m going away for a few days (e.g. retreat centre), I might, but I’d leave it in my room most of the time.

    • Chris Green says:

      Thanks, John. It’s a meter of helping my self control – And removing the physical cable is often what I have to do in my own study in order to write.

  3. Mark M says:

    Best place at college – the chapel!

  4. […] Chris Green is v wise as ever: where never to have a quiet day […]

    • Chris Green says:

      Not sure about the wisdom, Mark, but it’s a way of avoiding my weakness. I’ve also discovered the value of a very old laptop with a removeable wifi card!

  5. halliday5z says:

    One of the many reasons I love to stay at Lee Abbey in Devon; no wifi or mobile signal. It is also a very beautiful place and full of lovely people!

  6. halliday5 says:

    One of the reasons why I love to stay at Lee Abbey in Devon- no wifi or mobile signal. It is also a very beautiful place and full of lovely people!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.


God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: