The Ministry Advantage

Never Enough Time

Time is a gift and how it is organized and used will influence results. Time management is a hot topic in the business world and has become a popular conversation among professionals across countless fields. Many individuals, including Christian leaders, claim to have a life of chaos that has an underlying theme of busyness. So is it possible to be busy and productive?

Having a balanced life within time management is not as achievable as living a centered life with equilibrium at the core. The core consists of knowing one’s mission, vision and purpose and mobilizing these truths. This foundation allows one to work in a fulfilling environment and equips the individual to be a better steward of their time. Every centered life has the unexpected happen and always at the inopportune moment. How you handle these detours is determined by your “go to” reactive plan, and time management can often play a role in this plan.

As believers, we have a unique awareness of spiritual gifts, in addition to natural abilities, strengths and acquired skills. Working from that essential core allows for a more aligned physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. The hours in a day are the same for everyone; how the hours are used is another key piece in effective productivity.

How much time is spent on doing versus developing?

The first step in analyzing usage of time is to track activity on a daily basis for one week. It is a big commitment, and maybe thought of as one more thing on the “to do“ list, but it is an essential exercise in order to find out how time is actually spent. Tracking in fifteen minute intervals will give a vivid and realistic picture of how time is spent.

After completing the task of tracking time, it is important to summarize the activities and see how much time was allocated for each. The next step is writing beside each activity what goal or objective it allowed you to accomplish. Through this time inventory, activities that do not align with objectives or goals will be apparent as time wasters.

Within a church community, a lead pastor can act as a role model for making good time-use decisions. How the pastor organizes time will filter down to the leadership team and ultimately to the volunteers and broader congregation. It is a skill that will enhance productivity and provide accountability when evaluations take place.

For success with time management, a shift in thinking may be needed.

One needs to work from a person’s sphere of influence, which can be defined as the task that works out of your strengths, natural abilities and acquired skills rather than your circle of concern. The sphere of influence is what an individual is called to do with their gifts, independent of a job title. If the tendency of one personality is to be the “fixer” or the “reactor” to every situation and respond to crisis that potentially cannot be changed, it will result in overload of the time management system. A person’s mindset needs to be challenged and to understand that there is no need to step into every crisis, but instead, it is vital to empower others to deal with the situations that can be managed through their strengths. We should focus on what gives clarity to – and what aligns with – our mission, vision, values and purpose. The sphere of influence is the foundation of successfully managing responsibilities and concerns.

Inconvenient moments will happen. God does his best work through us during those moments and we must be discerning and listen to the nudges of the Holy Spirit to know when to respond as he asks. “Extra grace required” moments are part of life and we can be equipped to handle those times without disrupting productivity. Know yourself, know your people, know what to keep give away and trust in the outcome.

This week’s article is submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to www.ministryadvantage.org.

For over ten years Ministry Advantage has been one of the premier church resources that provides coaching and training for pastors and church leaders helping them turn their vision into reality.

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