But What if I Miss It?

How many times as a child did your parents, or maybe a teacher, tell you that you could change the world? You could be anything you wanted to be and make a dramatic difference. The idea of changing the world is planted in many of us from little on. It’s not an inherently bad idea, but unfortunately the result is that we get to a place as adults where we start waiting for God to move in radical dramatic ways when the reality is that He often moves in the mundane. There seems to be an idea floating around churches today that, “If I’m not literally changing the world, being radical, I’m missing my God given calling.” But if we look at Scripture we see that oftentimes God called people to be obedient to a very specific change in their every day world. That obedience affected the people around them….

Build the System

If you laid the groundwork yesterday, you should currently have three lists – a 5 minute list, a someday list, and an essentials list. Today we will build a system to get them all done. Step Five: Contextualize Each Item on Your 3 Lists Contextualize each item on your three lists. Ask yourself where you need to be to complete each task. And keep in mind, we think these items are tasks but many of them are actually projects – there are several steps required to check the item off the list. It’s important to distinguish between the two. It may be helpful to group items together by context for completion. Step Six: Determine the Next Actionable Step Take a look at your tasks and determine the very next tangible step you must take in order to complete the item. Be as specific as possible. i.e. – before you can…

Lay the Groundwork

There are eight steps I would suggest when setting up a solid system for time management. This process can seem a bit overwhelming. Have no fear, we’ll lay the groundwork today and start fresh in tomorrow’s post as we construct the system. Step One: Purge Your Brain Write down all of the things you feel like you have to do, or feel like you have to do. This should include anything that requires some sort of action from you – big or small. Everything from taking out the trash to picking up a shirt at the dry cleaners to writing the next chapter of your book. Get it all out of your brain and on to paper. Step Two: Enact the 5 Minute Rule Go through your list and put a check mark by all of the items that would take less than 5 minutes to complete if you were…

Why Does Time Management Matter?

Time is something many of us wish we had more of. But it’s also something few of us have a solid system for managing. We often fail to see the value in setting up such a system. Time management, however, is important because if you don’t manage your time, it will manage you. And time is not a kind manager. It will do it’s best to keep you living in the urgent, frazzled, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and not getting done the things you want to get done. There is a lie that says you don’t have enough time. Maybe you’ve believed this lie. Or it’s brother “I wish I had as much time as _________.” The hard truth is that you have exactly the same amount of time as ____________ – the same amount of time as every other human being in the history of the world. The first step…

Navigating Life as a Thinker

I thought we’d wrap up this series sharing a few tips for navigating life as thiner: Define Your Wins. I don’t get caught up in the rat race of tracking my hours. I know what I need to get done and what it looks like to win. I know that I put in a sufficient amount of time and that’s what matters. As long as I’m winning I don’t let the amount of time I’m spending or not spending affect my feelings of productivity and accomplishment at the end of the day. Find a Schedule that Works for You. I personally allow myself a more flexible schedule, but I have friends in similar jobs who need more rigid schedule. I have several blocks of time in my week that I fit into that flowing schedule including: A couple of hours working on my next sermon. I’m usually 4-6 weeks ahead…

The Measuring Dilemma

White collar workers punch in at 8 o’clock and punch out at 5. In between they have a routine set of responsibilities, most of which revolve around managing people who are responsible for tasks. Blue collar workers are also punching the clock but spend their days producing very tangible results that directly correlate to the amount of time they put in. This new thinking creative class falls somewhere in the middle. Oftentimes they still produce something, like the blue collar folks. And they also spend time managing people like white collar workers. But, the majority of their time is spent on thought. Designers deliver you a beautiful poster that required 3 hours of work in Photoshop but only after 3 hours of thinking about colors and fonts, brainstorming ideas, and doing some research for inspiration. Consultants spend a great deal of time thinking about what is effective for their industry…

Blue Collar. White Collar. New Collar.

I had two conversations recently that caused me to consider a question: Are pastors blue collar workers or are pastors white collar workers?  The question first came in a conversation with a mentee who was concerned maybe he doesn’t put in enough “time” at his job. As I was talking to him I figured out that he gets everything that is expected of him done, and more. Outside of his job responsibilities, he contributes a great deal to his tribe, and doing a great job at all of it. However, it’s difficult for him to add up the hours to get 40 hours in a week or 60 hours in a week. He may be working 80 hours and doesn’t realize it because a lot of what he produces is thinking. I asked that same question myself in speaking with a mentor. I oftentimes get to the end of a day…

Practical Steps for Stepping Up Volunteer Recruitment This Summer

I hope you’ve seen this week that summer truly doesn’t have to mean shutdown. The natural change in rhythm that happens this time of year is a great opportunity to develop new leaders and recruit volunteers. There are a few practical steps you can do to get started: Make a list of people of the top 10 people you wish were volunteering but are not currently. Invent an event to create an opportunity for those 10 people to serve and then ask them to be involved. Ask current leaders to identify their replacement now so that you can start being intentional about investing in those individuals Spend 1 on 1 time with 1 leader each month from May through July Draw out your leadership pipeline and plot where your current and just below the surface leaders are. Make it a goal to move people along the pipeline over the summer…

Use Extra Summer Margin to Coach

Many pastors and other staff leaders spend a great deal of their time working in the church, sometimes at the expense of working on the church. Summertime often provides opportunity for sabbaticals from preaching, teaching, or other responsibilities. The result is margin to work on the church. Working on the church should include coaching and developing volunteer leaders. A more relaxed schedule and all around environment during the summer provides great opportunities to do this. Typically during our usual schedules we find time to invest in current leaders but may not have the margin to invest in new leaders. The extra margin of summer provides the opportunity to be intentional about coaching new volunteer leaders who are just bubbling up to the surface.

Summer Doesn’t Have to Mean Shutdown

For many people, summertime means vacation, traveling, relaxed schedules, and a break from the regular routine. For churches this can mean volunteer leaders are taking a break, taking a step back, or just simply not present as often. Our natural response to this is typically to put programs and activities on “cruise control.” But, summer doesn’t have to mean shutdown. I think it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the natural rhythms to find natural leaders who are ready to step up. It’s easy in our typical rhythm to always call on those in our current volunteer pool when we need extra hands. The change in availability due to summer schedules forces us to look outside the current pool and find other leaders who may be bubbling just below the service. This week I’m going to share a three ways I think summer can be a positive for leadership…