It pains me to write this post because (1) I find it incredibly sad that it needs to be said at all, and (2) I don't want this blog to be "lecture posts" but this is worth writing about. I am amazed at the number of young folks in religious leadership who are entering the scene without basic mobile device ettiquette. Since I am a fairly young person myself, this reflects badly on my own cohort.
In short, mobile devices -- no matter how wonderful they are in so many ways -- communicate partial presence. In most cases that is because they DO detract from presence, even though we are so accustomed to them that we can't fully recognize their detraction.
Religious leaders: model presence! Be radical. Whenever you are spending time with others, seriously consider turning off those devices.
If you must have a cell phone on, put it on vibrate and keep it close to your body (not in your purse) to reduce the sound when it rings. Do not answer when it rings until you have fully excused yourself from the room and the door is shut behind you. Then look at the number on the phone and think, "Do I need to be available right now? Can I check my messages later?" A helpful policy is to leave a message on your voicemail letting folks know you do not answer the phone, but will call them right back for immediate needs if you are available. Then you don't have to answer at all.
And please, please, whatever you do, do not text in meetings, even if you think nobody is noticing (fat chance). It may be countercultural to say so, but it is, in a word: rude.