The Productive Pastor

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Productive Pastor!

In this vacation-centric episode, I share about the differences between relaxing and replenishing and why we need to build then into our schedules.

Front Matter:

Top 5 Downloaded Episodes.
These are the 5 most downloaded episodes of The Productive Pastor. Some might surprise you...but these are the episodes folks found the most value in.

Productive Pastor Preaching Playlist
Try to say that fast 5 times! Here are all of the Productive Pastor episodes on preaching. This playlist function lets you have all of them grouped in the same place.

Art of the Sermon Podcast
My friend Dan Wunderlich produces and hosts this amazing show. He is only 6 episodes in, so you can get caught up quickly. Dan also mentions the Pulpit Fiction podcast, it's on my podcast app for a few listens this week.

Relaxing Vs. Replenishing

Over the last few months I have been asking myself serious questions about what is relaxation and what is replenishing. Many of us get to this point in ministry and it is helpful to revisit the question of relaxing vs. replenishing often. Taking a few minutes to clarify relaxing and replenishing is helpful and enough to give us tremendous margin.

Define the Difference

What is relaxing and what is crashing? I ask myself that often. I have learned watching 4 hrs of Netflix on the couch isn't relaxing...it is crashing and crashing isn't a healthy long-term strategy. Relaxing is what puts us into equalibirium...what it takes for us to breathe deeply again and be rested. Replenishment involves the activities that energize us and help us to live and lead to our full potential.

What's At Stake?

What are you great at? When are you at your best? Now let me ask you this question. Are you willing to lose that part of your life and ministry?

That's what at stake. Whenever we live out of a place with no relaxation or replenishment we can get into dangerous places quickly. It makes us start "shooting from the hip" and not leading strategically.

Define What Relaxes You and What Replenishes You

This will be different for each person. Take out a sheet of paper and start making a list of each of these two categories.

Build The Two Into Your Schedule

Both of these are different activities and require different things. Think first about the difference. 

  • Different Environments
  • Different People
  • Different Situations
  • Different Times

How do you now fit these into your schedule? Some of these are daily, others are weekly and we also schedule longer breaks throughout the year.

Mentioned Articles:

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime: Scientific American

How To Rest For Real: Relevant Online

PHD Comics Vacation

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Rest This Week: Forbes

Direct download: PP41_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:11am CDT

Welcome Back!

In this episode of Productive Pastor I am going to walk through a year-round sermon preparation calendar. So many folks ask me how they can find the time to get ahead in their preaching, and this is the best way I can think of. The first few parts of it are more production oriented and the last half is very specific about sermon preparation.

Mentioned Links

  1. 7 Must-Do Items for a Church Growth Calendar.
    Don't roll your eyes over the title. Think of it as a church engagement calendar. I stumbled across this post earlier in the week and have slowly been reading and letting it sink in. There is tons of great information and ideas here.
  2. How I work 40 hrs in 16.7 (The Simple Technique That Gave Me My Life Back). 
    I referenced this in an earlier episode, but didn't have access to a shareable link. Well here it is. If you want to have better control over your time...this is the way.

Creating a Sermon Preparation Calendar

Many times I hear from people about their desire to have more time to plan and prepare ahead in regards to preaching. This episode I want to share with you a way you can create a whole year vision for preaching, stay on top of things AND still have time for the rest of ministry. 

Remember, the things we feel we don't have time for are often the things we don't have the time to NOT do. 

Yearly

Once a year take a few days to think about the next year of preaching. Get away for a few days by yourself or with anyone else who teaches at your church. Bring along whatever you think will be helpful. I usually bring my journals from the year, my bible (duh), a few interesting books that have impressed me and a single volume commentary. Also, bring any demographic resources you might have, survey data AND a record of the last couple of years of preaching. 

This will help you prayerfully discern the direction your preaching could take for the next year. Often, as soon as this is done it works great to have a brain-storming session with the larger Sunday morning ministry team. 

Quarterly

Think of the ideas you have had a couple of weeks out from a Sunday that could have been easily accomplished if you would have had the time. We have all had them...and they usually end in regret because the only thing stopping us is time. 

One of the benefits of planning in advance is being aware of what is coming up. If you plan out...you will find these moments of inspiration strike when you DO have the time. 

The quarterly meeting is where you can talk about the environment, the schedule for preaching series and the details that allow all of your teams to be working on Sunday. As far as the preaching goes...it helps you begin to develop trajectory, the specific passages and the intended response. 

Monthly
At the monthly level preparation starts to get a little more personal. I take 1 day a month to do this. I focus on the sermons I am preaching for the current month and I prepare ahead for the next month by creating evernote folders and printing out sermon worksheets for each Sunday. 

The art of being aware of what you are preaching will help you so much. 

Weekly
The best thing to schedule each week during your preparation time is a few hours to devote to the future. That will help you get just enough traction to jump into things quickly. I then schedule my preparation time each day and devote it to a specific task. 

Daily
When I create my evernote files, I add the passage I am preaching to the top of each note. Every day during my devotional time I read the current week's passage and the next weeks passage. 

The best way to always have the time to be working ahead in sermon preparation is to build in time to be aware of what's coming up. Your church, your teams and yourself will appreciate the effort. 

Sermons That Have Reach Mailing List (signup to get the newest version of my sermon worksheet). 

 

Direct download: pp40_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm CDT

In this episode of the Productive Pastor we hear from Rev. John Jay Alvaro, Senior Pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church, about his unique sermon note process. John Jay has also created a fantastic resource about his process called "Creating Outside the Lines: Searching For A Visual Homeletic."

We talk about the visual process of sermon delivery John Jay practices and how he found his way to it. We talk about what it means for a congregation to give their pastor the space to find new ways to communicate. Ultimately, this isn't about a delivery tactic, but instead a process of public creativity and holy presentation.

Links Mentioned
PDF of Creating Outside the Lines (Creating Outside the Lines pdf. )
Spring Creek Sermons
Maker Monthly

Direct download: PP39_mixdownv2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56pm CDT

Welcome to the 38th episode of the Productive Pastor. It's a great, jam-packed time!

This week I am sharing part of my "Sermons That Have Reach" content. If you have using my sermon planning worksheet or have listened to the podcast for very long, you have heard me talk about a "Big Idea" or a similar concept. The Monday Moment takes this strategy and amplifies it.

Front End
1. The Art of the Sermon
It was a privilege to be part of this great new podcast and to be one of the guests on it's launch episodes. Dan is developing some great content. Productive Pastor listener, Rev. Brian Johnson, shares a great video on using NOZBE. Check it out here.

2.Threshing Floor Episode 50. I host this podcast with two of my best friends. We are hitting our 50th episode next week-it will be featuring JD Walt, sower-in-chief of Seedbed.

3. Productive Pastor Insider-Evernote, Death and Text-Messaging.

Using Monday Moments for Better Preaching

Monday Moments help us develop many different parts of our sermons. They affect the visuals, how we plan our messages and how we preach. They give us a guiding center (alongside our guiding text for the day). They help us develop repetition and focus in how we preach. They give people a literal phrase to repeat as they contemplate the message.Using a Monday Moment is a key preparation AND presentation device. It will help you plan and communicate better. The moment will help the people in your pews better internalize the message and remember it throughout the week.

The Preparation Pyramid 

Think of this as a pyramid, with 4 floors.

Basement: Larger Biblical Truth
1st Floor: How Does Scripture Emphasis This?
2nd Floor: What Is The Intended Response?
Attic: How Do I Best Articulate This IN Communication?

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I hope this introduction to Monday Moments will help you gain clarity over your preparation and communication. It is such an amazing tool.

Resources Mentioned:
Communicating For A Change: Andy Stanley

The Rocket Company Preaching Rocket

How To Write A Killer Bottom Line: Carey Nieuwhof

Sermons That Have Reach Early Bird List

Direct download: DR0000_0383_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09am CDT

37: How Batching Rocks Your World

First- let me just say how excited I am about the 4th season of The Productive Pastor. It is going to be amazing; high level, step by step content AND great interviews with ministry leaders from across the spectrum. 

How Batching Rocks Your World

Batching is the process of matching similar projects and tasks together and executing them one after another. Batching help us in many ways; it helps us work through tasks quicker, better and more efficiently. You don’t lose track and you find yourself actually being able to do more of them in a shorter amount of time. 

Batching saves us in many different ways; emotionally, creatively, our workspace AND with supplies. 

In short-batching will change your life. 

Here is how you can add batching into your workflow. 

  1. Do a Time Audit. (Check out PP 14: The Power of a Time Audit).
    Take a few weeks and get an idea of what you do, when you do it and when you do it. You will begin to see your normal operating procedure and get clarity about your own workflow and scheduling patterns. 
  2. Divide Your Tasks Into Buckets.
    I use these three categories...although you are welcome to use others. Creative, Administrative and Relational. The majority of what I do a week fits into these three categories. 
  3. Build your schedule around similar tasks. 
    By now, you know when you work well, when you work tired, bored or many other things. Begin putting high profile tasks into the time slots you best do high level work. Schedule those similar tasks together, at the time it is most effective to do them. Stick mindless work at times you aren't necessarily at your best.
 Batching (especially according to your own work patterns) will let you accomplish task based work significantly more efficiently and leave you time to be the best ministry leader you can be. 
 
Direct download: PP_37_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm CDT

Productive Pastor Season 4 LAUNCHES on Friday. 

Get a quick preview of what we are going to be talking about in the upcoming season. 

Direct download: super_secret_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am CDT

36: Productivity and Anxiety with Omar Rikabi

On this episode I come back to content originally recorded for Episode 28. My friend Omar Rikabi is a United Methodist pastor in the Dallas area. He spent years in college ministry and transitioned to the local church just over a year ago. Omar gets open about his journey and how productivity provides stability to help him in his overall life.

A big thanks to Steve Murphy and Rodmanprice for their iTunes review and ratings.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.36.51 AM

 

 




Mentioned

Periscope
Tomato Timer (webbased Pomodoro app)
Early Bird list for Sermons That Have Reach

Direct download: PP36_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am CDT

Welcome to the Productive Pastor. We are doing something a little different with this episode. The main conversation is a replay from the latest Threshing Floor Podcast. I host this show along with two of my great friends. Joshua and I have been having conversations about leadership and when it gets tough. We recorded one of these, and I am sharing a section of it today with you. If you liked what you heard, check out the full episode here.

Jonathan Andersen: Preaching Without Notes

Leading in Tough Situations

1. Center Yourself
The most important part of leading, whether in tough or easy situations, is taking care of your own soul. It is impossible to be leading people well if you are out of your own devotional life and sabbath rhythm. 

2. Know Your Growing Edges
What are you not good at? This isn't a new idea at Productive Pastor. It is really hard leading in a place you are unfamiliar. Identify your grow spaces and ruthlessly get better at them. 

3. Learn to Delegate
Both Joshua and I are huge fans of Volunteer Rocket. I have learned so much about delegation and building healthy volunteer systems through their training. It is worth every penny

Back Matter

Ministry Library is a fantastic resource I subscribe to. They create amazing videos of book summaries and other leadership resources.  Brian contacted me and wants to share a great resource about leading with our listeners.

Related Printout and Workshop

 

Next Season

August
In August, Productive Pastor will feature the FULL interviews from Omar Rikabi and Michelle Manual. You met them in Episode 28: Productivity, Call and Soulcare. This episode was hugely popular.  Both of these conversations were over an hour each, and we edited down the content seriously to fit in episode 28. If you resonated deeply with their stories-get ready for even more.

 

September
Our team wants to develop the absolute best 4th season we can and we can't do this without you.  Take the survey right here.

Also, in September I am releasing my first premium product. People have been asking me to do this for years and now is the time. It will be all about sermon planning and preparation. Keep your eyes peeled for future information. If you want to be the first to find out about ANYTHING-sign up right here.

 

Direct download: PP35_mixdownv2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Have you ever hit a personal or organizational rut? They are easy to get into if you aren't paying attention to goals and project management. This episode is all about staying focused on the forward momentum you have identified as the most important.

I want to point out listeners to the new podcast management plugin I am using (from the always brilliant Pat Flynn). It's called the Smart Podcast Player and it is awesome. You can access the entire archives at productivepastorpodcast.com

Thanks to our most recent iTunes review and ratings!

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 9.26.43 AM

 Keeping Important Things In The Front of the Pack

When was the last time you felt stuck? Personally or organizationally? It happens. I have seen myself or places I have been part of leading get stuck plenty of times. One of the primary causes of getting stuck is loosing sight of what really matters. It is no secret how important I feel goal setting and goal focused leadership is. I think goals are the secret to staying out of slumps or if you are in one, getting out of the slump quickly.

But just having goals isn't enough. You can easily make goals boring and mundane. I believe the best goals are focused around forward momentum and missional innovation.

Google is famous for it's 20% rule for staffing and the best innovation has come out of it. You can read about it here. Even if Marissa Mayer is true, innovation must always be happening. So if you are functioning off of great (and community built goals) and still getting slumpy...I would begin asking the innovation questions.

Here is why you need to keep your goals at the front of the pack.

1. Lead with goals (not responsibilities): Goals are what control you-not others thoughts about "what" you should be doing.
2. Keep you centered: Goals give you an anchor point.
3. Keep you safe: Goals should always be created in community and shared in community.
4. Any goal centered organization is going to stop being a goal centered organization: Think of how this changes your organizational structure. What does it teach volunteer leadership that will help them in their vocational life?

How to Start Being Goal Focused

  • Establish small and medium sized goals
  • Groupthink
  • Do it personally
  • Hit your goals publicly
  • Begin building goal based systems

Mentioned:
Why Your #1 Goal Must Be Front and Center: Time Management Ninja
How To Create an Energy Management List and Why Every Leader Should Have One: Carey Nieuwhof
What Effective Pastors Do With Their Time: Thom Rainer

Previous Episodes:
Building a Priority Based Schedule
Getting Out of a Slump

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

 

Direct download: PP34_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am CDT

Summer is HERE!!!

Summer means all sorts of awesome things. One of them is vacations. But let's be honest...most people in ministry don't vacation very well. This episode of the Productive Pastor is about how to take a great vacation and to not worry about the things that usually keep ministry  leaders from taking vacations. 

Front Matter

1. First #productivepastor tip: Go to the doctor. Don't be stubborn like Chad. I can't imagine how much time and energy I have wasted over the last couple of months because I am stubborn and I didn't want to spend 1 hour with my doctor. 

2. Winners of Called by JD Walt. 

A big thanks to ALL OF YOU who have been rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. It is a huge help. 

3. Michael Hyatt: Getting the Most Out of Evernote. 
Michael Hyatt is responsible for many of the things I do...and Evernote is one of them. His latest podcast episode is about interesting uses for Evernote. I found it incredibly helpful. If you want to get into Evernote for the first time, get the free download and pick up a copy of Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials. It is totally worth it. 

Awesome Vacations and Exactly How to Make Them Work

How well do you vacation? My wife and I have only taken a handful in ten years. We go on trips with family...but we have only gotten away, just the two of us, 3 times in 10 years. That includes our honeymoon. This year we decided to fix this problem. 

The first step is taking a great vacation is getting over the idea in your head that ministry people aren't allowed to be gone for over a few days. Your leadership needs to have your back. This will help you get into the right headspace. A theology of vacation is much like a theology of sabbath. They are purposeful and necessary. I was totally floored when one of my leaders told me, after my last vacation, "You are acting like yourself and that is exactly who we need you to be."

You need to decide or figure out what relaxes you. Vacations can be replenishing or retreat. What are the things that will contribute to that? This is part of developing the "why" of your vacation. Trust me, just doing this sort of thing in your head will help you get into vacation mode quicker. 

Tips on Making Vacation Work

1. Take 2 Sundays off. 
Yep. Get out of town for more than 1 Sunday. It will be tough, but it gives you the space to actually decompress. If this is impossible for you...it is a personal and organizational leadership issue. You need to be developing other leaders and teachers anyway. 

2. Clear your tasks 1.5 days before you leave. 
No one likes rushing till the last minute. If you are planning on leaving town Friday morning, have all of your tasks and work done by Wednesday at noon. This gives you an additional 1.5 days to take care of ministry items that tend to drop in our lap. If you end up not being busy, it will just help you clear your head earlier. 

3. Take 1 day back to recollect (not do). 
I am a fan of David Allen's Getting Things Done. Part of his method involves a collection phase. Use your first day back to collect all of the things that are now due. It will help you jump back into things better than instantly carving away at the first issue on the pile. Taking a recollection day at work allows you to strategize your time. 

4. Tell people you are going on vacation.
I have never had an issue with people bugging me when I am out of town (for work or pleasure). The reason why? I let them know I will be gone. The last few times I have traveled I haven't had a single issue. Once I get back, I hear from people...but generally people my age (I'm 35) respect being out of town. 

5. Find space for your creative mind to flourish.
Remember when I told you to decide if your trip was going to be replenishing or retreat? Make sure you spend the time doing the things that will make this vacation exactly what you want it to be. I read, but do whatever relaxes you. Don't "work" any. If I had an idea for a sermon or another work related item, I just wrote it down in an evernote notebook I made exactly for the purpose. I processed it when I got back in town. 

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

Direct download: PP33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am CDT