More than half (57 percent) of evangelical leaders say they take a Sabbath from electronic communication devices. Many of the 43 percent that do not break from their devices wish they did, according to the December Evangelical Leaders Survey.

“In the 1900s, we talked about the addiction to work and called for Christians to trust God and avoid becoming workaholics,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). “In the 2000s we seldom hear about workaholics but know all about digitaholics. It’s time to trust God enough to look up to him more than down to a phone.”

John Stumbo, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, practices the Sabbath most weeks. “It is a day to renew and restore. One essential aspect of this weekly Sabbath is disengaging from electronic communication. Closing my laptop lid and choosing not to read emails on my phone are acts of discipline, but help break my addiction to technology, free me to think different thoughts, and breathe different ‘soul air’ for a day,” he said.

Daryl Nuss, president of the National Network of Youth Ministries, said, “Except for having access to YouVersion at church, I try to leave the phone in my office and not use my computer to check, receive or send any emails on Sundays.”

“It’s gets harder and harder to discipline myself to shut off social media,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota. “Sometimes while on vacation I will uninstall social media apps from my phone so that I’m not able to access them.”

Almost all of those who do not take a Sabbath from electronic communication devices included comments with their response, such as:

  • “Sadly no. But aware of the need to do so.”
  • “I feel like I should, but I don’t for the very reasons that make me feel that I should.”
  • “No, but wish I did.”
  • “I see the need for discipline in my use of such devices but have not formally taken a Sabbath from them.”
  • “I think it’s a good idea though. I have the best of intentions, but have yet to do so!”

Anderson said, “Fascinating how many evangelical leaders are serious about taking a Sabbath from electronic communications devices. It’s equally interesting how many wish they would but don’t.”

The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.