Are You a Self-Starter, But Not a Self-Finisher?

“Self-starter” is an identity that up-and-coming leaders seek. It means that you take initiative and responsibility without being asked or coerced. You see a problem and you jump on it. No one ever has to tell you what to do. You put on your Nikes and just do it. But there can be a dark […]

Why November Is the Best Time to Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

There are lots of reasons people fail to meet their New Year’s resolutions, but I think an overlooked one is timing. Is there a worse time of the year than post-Christmas to make goals for the next year? You’ve been stressed by the busyness of the holidays, and you’re barely out of your food coma. […]

What it Takes to Get Important Things Done in Ministry

From my article this month at LifeWay’s Pastor’s Today blog: There is no shortage of activity in the pastor’s office these days. Everyone is busier than ever, pastors included. But being active does not mean you are impacting the lives of your people. Entire mornings slip away as you process email, dabble in your sermon text, and […]

22 Productivity Principles from the Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about productivity. Not only does it teach us how we can be more productive, it teaches how we can be more biblically productive. Some of these principles you can find in secular productivity literature today. (Indeed, many of the proverbs can be found in secular ancient Near East […]

3 Big Opportunities that Busy Pastors Miss

From my last article at Busyness in ministry is an epidemic. As our world moves faster and faster, pastors are being sucked into a vortex of tasks, projects, emails, and goals. The problem is that when you get overwhelmed, you get tunnel vision. Your perspective of your church becomes as narrow as your to-do […]

10 Productivity Experiments for Pastors

Pastors are busier than ever, but I’m pretty sure our ministries are not more fruitful than ever. How can we aim what we spend our time on toward what will be most effective for our ministries? How can we cut out what is least effective for our ministries? Since we’re both busy, I’ll cut to […]

13 Email Tips to Keep Your Inbox Under Control and Get Things Done

For many of us, email is a work killer. We have enough work apart from our inbox inventory to keep us busy for weeks. And that work is usually much more important than what pops up in our inbox. I am one month into a new pastoral role, and one of the most notable differences […]

5 Common Causes of the Unproductive Productivity System

You are not guaranteed to be productive just because you have a productivity system in place. That’s the first step, not the last one. The second step is putting the system to work. This step tends to trip people up. If you have assembled a system for getting things done, but you’re not getting those […]

How to Build a Do It Yourself, Ikea-Hacked, Stand Up Desk

After reading about how hazardous it is to your health to sit all day long (like here and here), I started to look into stand up desks. The problem is that most of them are really expensive, and really ugly – an acceptable combination only when it comes to big dogs. So I gave […]

Can’t Keep Up? Try this Simpler Approach to Productivity in Ministry

The solution to your current stress level might not be to reduce your work. It might be to reduce the ways you do your work. If you want to be more productive in ministry, I suggest you work more like a squirrel, and less like a bee. Allow me to explain. Earlier this summer, both […]

3 Ways Pastoral Burnout Can Sneak Up on You

The thing about burnout is that you don’t know you’re susceptible until it’s too late. You were flying high in ministry, and then all of a sudden you’ve crashed. The natural busyness of ministry can lead to burnout, but that is not something we can control. Our best defense against that kind of burnout is […]

10 Apps I Couldn’t Do Ministry Without

If you’re looking to boost your productivity this week, here are ten apps I use all the time, and highly recommend to you. I use a MacBook Pro, so many of these apps are Mac only. 1. Accordance What it does: Accordance is a Bible software program that puts the most important references books from […]

5 Enemies of the Productive Church Planter

This is a guest post by Jeff Brewer, lead pastor of Hope Fellowship in Lombard, IL (Acts 29). Hope is the most recent church plant of College Church. Jeff also wrote “10 Things to Remember After a Missions Trip” for The Resurgence blog. You can follow him on Twitter.  With so many tasks to be completed […]

9 Websites That Will Save You Money at Conference Book Tables

This is the second of three posts leading up to the 2012 Together for the Gospel Conference. If you are more than a mere peruser of the book tables at conferences, this will be a money saver for you. Caution: you are entering a book buying temptation zone if you are going to T4G next […]

When Your Neat Office Is a Bad Thing

It’s a mistake to say that neatness, organization, and productivity are all synonymous. You might not be able to discern this from the desktop organization aisle at Office Depot. Organization and productivity must go together, but they are not the same thing. It’s the difference between keeping your tools in the toolbox (organization), so that […]

4 Steps to Get Back on Track with Organization and Productivity

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 […]

Build an Illustration File That’s Easy to Use with Evernote

Has the time and effort of building and using an illustration file caused you to stop using yours? Is that the reason you haven’t bothered to put an illustration file together in the first place? Yet the merits of having illustrations filed away can’t be overstated. Having them on hand is much easier than thinking […]

The Getting Things Done Productivity Method in a Nutshell

The complexity of the Getting Things Done method of productivity scares a lot of people away. It’s not a perfect method, and it does take time to learn. But if you stick with it, there is a simplicity on the other side of the complexity that will help you, well, get things done. David Allen summarizes […]

How Divine Power Works Differently than Superhuman Power

Last week I had on of those distracted and unmotivated days in the office. I was grinding it out. My eyes kept drifting from my books. I couldn’t concentrate on my sermon prep. I broke my “check email three times a day” rule, like, twelve times. And it was only 10 a.m. For motivation, I […]

3 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting the Important Stuff Done: A Diagnostic

Have you been struggling to devote your energy to what has the biggest payoff in ministry? Has time in the Word, in prayer, and with people been shuffled to the corner for more urgent tasks? Maybe you’re busy all day, but nothing important seems to get done. From my own experience, when I don’t accomplish […]

Are You Getting Enough Rest?

Hacking our non-omnipotence is one of the most important things for us pastors to learn. We have a job that includes too much for us to do. The goal of our job – the salvation and sanctification of people – is something that we cannot attain, in and of ourselves. And our work never, ever, […]

3 Quick Changes That Can Add 30 Minutes to Your Day

How much more could you accomplish with an extra thirty minutes a day? Would you tackle those conference-discounted theological tomes that still enjoy crisp binding and clean margins? Would you follow up with the names on your lists to call or visit? Would you brainstorm new ministry opportunities? The only way to get more time […]

John Piper Says Efficiency Is a Non-Negotiable for Pastoral Leadership

Wait, John Piper thinks efficiency is important? Doesn’t he only care about prayer, preaching, theology, and scholarship? These things aren’t mutually exclusive, my friends. On the contrary, efficient habits are the bridge to the land of effective pastoral leadership. “A leader does not like clutter. He likes to know where and when things are for quick […]

Against the Pastor-Workaholic

If there is anyone who can justify being a workaholic, it’s a pastor. Our work literally never ends. There’s always a sermon to prepare, someone to counsel, or a meeting to lead. We can also trick ourselves into thinking that the more we work, the more we show we care. But being a workaholic is not […]

10 Reasons You Aren’t Done With Sunday’s Sermon Yet

Do you want to stop burning the midnight oil on Saturday night? I’m actually not sure what that phrase means, but my 8th grade English teacher said it all the time. Michael Hyatt lists 10 obstacles to getting important things done. These are just the headings; he provides an explanation of each pitfall. Any of these […]