Powering Off: A Pastor Unplugs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - In today's world, technology is a must in how we work, socialize and play.  There is a fine line between being connected and being controlled by technology.

In pastor John Tanner's office at Cove Methodist Church, the evidence is clear of his 21-day break from technology.  He's taking a spiritual detox from distractions.

"It's been surprising to me what's been the hardest and what's not been hard, some of the entertainment aspects the social media and the entertainment aspect of the technology I have not missed," Tanner said.

Tanner challenged his congregation to join him in a 21-day digital detox, to set aside the busy distractions that come with technology.

"A busy mom -- what she ended up doing was shared with me, she was admittedly a social media junkie, she's got young children and she carved out 5 in the afternoon to 9 at night and put a little sign on her desk at home and said because my family is more important and sat her phone on that sign," Tanner said.  "For that length of time from 5 to 9 so a little less radical comprehensive to what I'm doing for the 21 days but her words were that it's been life changing."

Tanner says unplugging technology is allowing his congregation to plug in to what matters most.

"To remove distraction to purify that focus on God and being still before God and removing those distractions for a season of time to maximize that focus so this fits with that ancient tradition of what fasting is designed to accomplish for the soul so this just seems to be a little different kind of fast," Tanner said.

Removing technology in today's workplace can lead to serious roadblocks, though.

"I still have to get my job done," Tanner said. "I can use my computer to write in word processing, but definitely nothing like the constant connectivity I would usually have," Tanner said.

He said it's about finding a balance between what we need and what we feed.

"When I have to go back in to the normal routine I'll do so with some clearer boundaries, better boundaries, I'll do so and more intentionally about how I handle emails, how I handle texts," said Tanner.

Tanner says it's ironic. A lot of his church members found out about the  technology detox on Facebook.

Watch and read our series of reports on Powering Off:

Powering Off: Excessive Internet and Social Media Use and How to Create a Healthy Balance

Madison Family Eager To Take “Powering Off” Challenge

Pastor's Challenge: A Huntsville pastor challenges his congregation to commit to a 21-day digital detox

Powering Off: A Pastor Unplugs