Pastors are most likely to start a new year disorganized. The holidays are a busy time personally, and in the life of the church. Do you need to get back on track?
The problem is that ministry doesn’t slow down. We need a simple process that will get us back into organizational shape without a large time investment. You don’t have a couple days to reorient yourself to the new year. Give the four steps below a couple hours, and you will find you have more energy, effectiveness, and efficiency as you head into 2012.
Step #1: Straighten up
Jesus is our Captain, and we are his soldiers. But how many of our offices would pass inspection?
The beginning of the year is a great time to get organized. Trash every piece of useless paper. Reduce your desk to a physical inbox, a keyboard, a mouse, a computer screen, and a pen. Like a general with his soldiers, get you bookshelves in rank and file.
Step #2: Regain the big picture
When you get junk out of site, you free your mind to think.
What big goals do you want to tackle this year? Which of last year’s projects are on their knees, begging you to complete them? What do your people need from you, their pastor?
Jot down some ideas.
You’ll be tempted to quit after step two because you’ll feel like you’ve made so much progress. And you have. But this article is about getting back on track with organization and productivity, and we have yet to enter into the productivity phase.
Step #3: Commit to some projects
Next, it’s time to break those goals down into tasks you can actually do. List out some projects (things that take more than one step to accomplish) that would get your big picture moving.
Even when you have broken your goals down into projects, you are still only in planning mode. Productivity, however, involves actually producing something. That’s why Step 4 is the game changer.
Step #4: Get to work
Before you finish this process, list the first two actions you need to take to get your projects rolling, and then do five of them. The point is to move out of the organizing phase, with all its euphoria, and into the productivity phase, with all its pain, thorns, thistles, and sweat (Gen. 3:17-19).
Once you make it this far, you have gotten back on track.
Staying on track is impossible, so make a habit of getting back on track
Nobody stays on track all the time. Jesus only had to set his face like a flint once, but we have to reset it regularly. That’s why we need God’s grace and strength. That’s why we rely on his Spirit.
The more often you get back on track, however, the less effort it takes. So regularly go through this process – every one or two weeks – to fulfill your ministry the best you can, relying on all the strength of his might.