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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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?

typorama (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

Welcome to the very first "sub-episode" of the Productive Pastor. Occasionally I will have either more content than I really can release or I end up getting connected (usually through a listener) to someone who can really add quality conversation to an episode.

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and had a great interaction with Nathan Bledsoe (@revnayte) on twitter and he brought me into a conversation with his friend John Allen (@revjohnallen). John had some super interesting things to share about meetings and I recorded a quick conversation with him. 

Trust me, you will want to listen to this. 

John really shares about the pastoral heart in meeting leadership and what it means to keep people engaged during meetings. 

Thanks so much for coming on the show. Trust me, you will want to listen to this. 

 

Mentioned:
Wellesley Village Church
Church of the Pilgrims

Direct download: PP32and5_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Do you enjoy meetings? I have a love/hate relationship with them. I have worked in places with great meetings and horrible meetings. Now that I am in charge of most meetings, I want to make them part of a positive leadership experience for others.

Front Material

1. Back to Fridays.
I tried an experiment with Monday release dates, but I have heard from you (and seen the release day stats) enough to move back to Friday release days. Next episode will come out on Friday, May 29th.

2. iTunes review and rating.
Big thanks to Uriah Oxford and Jason Wnc for leaving reviews and ratings on iTunes. This really helps the podcast get out. Do you want to win a free book? The first person to leave a review and rating after release date will get a free copy of JD Walt's book Called.

Making the Most of Meetings

Meetings can be a drag or an incredible tool for leadership. Think back to the places and experiences where you have had great meetings and bad meetings. What did you learn to do (or not to do)? What environments were great for meetings and what were crummy?

1. Plan
Why are you meeting? Do you need to meet? Think how many meetings can be accomplished through an email or text message. If you are just getting together to inform others of plans or because you have a meeting on the books...you probably don't need to meet.

2. Purpose
Once you have decided you do need to meet, think about the purpose. What is being decided at this meeting? Who is doing what during the meeting? Perhaps another team member needs to be leading a certain part of the meeting or the entire meeting altogether. Run through a checklist to make sure you are prepped and ready to go. Send out a brief agenda so folks come prepared.

3. Pow-wow
Get your team together. This should be fun as well as serious. I once had a boss that would either meet in a formal room or during a walk to the gas station to get a snack. Great things were accomplished in both settings because the team was just that...a team. They were focused on what was going on and able to collaborate towards shared purpose.

4. Path
Don't leave the meeting until you have a plan for what happens afterwards. Who is following up on what? What tasks are crucial to the goals the team is working towards?

If you put all of this work in and still don't have a plan for afterwards you are going to miss out on all the great work you have done.

Resources Mentioned.
Teams That Thrive: 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership
Nancy Duarte- Meetings: When to Present and When to Converse
Lifehacker-Meeting Checklist
99u- Is this Meeting Necessary?

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: PP32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm CST

One of the parts of the Productive Pastor I love doing is big ideas and big vision. But sometimes life needs to be taken in smaller chunks. The day to day is where we grind things out. So on this episode I want us to talk about two related ideas; list making and bottle necks.

 

Me and the Geek.
My friend Joel Sharpton is a podcast producer and host. His newest show is called "Me and the Geek" and it focuses on people with interests and skill sets and how they geek out in these areas. I was privileged to be on the show last week. You can listen to the episode here.

Lists and Bottlenecks

I think lists are the backbone of productivity. You have to be aware of what you are doing.

There are two kids of lists.

1. Forward projecting

2. Task Catching

Forward projecting lists are acquired from working downwards from a larger project. These are the action items of something much larger. Some of these tasks might be repeatable, or a one time task. Forward projecting lists are great because you can brain storm the necessary items, get input from others (which you are doing) and then find the holes. You don't necessarily have to do this in order, just be able to organize them when you are ready.

Task catching lists are something we all need. Let me ask you this-you are walking down the hall at church on a Sunday morning and someone catches you to ask you a question. They bring up a few things you need to remember for Monday morning. How do you remember them? Everyone needs a task catching method.

Bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks are the place things slow down on your list. It might be a specific type of task or a person a task is designated to. In every project you will hit bottlenecks. For solo pastors, we have to be really honest with ourselves in how we can cause bottlenecks.

Two things help us with bottlenecks.

1. Healthy systems. (Check out Michael Lukaszewski on episode 19. He's a systems jedi).
2. A healthy volunteer ministry. If we look at New Testament leadership, we find out about mobilization and influence. Folks want to be part of something that challenges them AND is well thought out.

Resources Mentioned.
Volunteer Rocket
Teams That Thrive: 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership
Strengthfinders

Links Mentioned.
How I Podcast (My Podcasting Toolbox)
What I Learned Skipping Church

Direct download: TTF31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm CST

Do you have big rocks in your schedule? Or do you just do everything in the order it comes in? 

We are going to talk about making sure the right things are scheduled and scheduled first in this episode. 

5 Most Popular Productive Pastor Episodes

1. 17 Why You Need a Production Calendar
2. 14 The Power of a Time Audit
3. 16 Justin Wise on Call, Hustle and Why Goals Matter
4. 1 How to Reset your Morning
5. 5 A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath

Social Media Redux

1. schedugr.am-HT to Skye Mclain
2
Bufferapp.com power scheduler (use it. Trust me)
3. Meet Edgar-if only I had the money for this one. 

This last week I worked on being more intentional with my personal social media scheduling and was able to increase Productive Pastor downloads by 300%. Trust me, we can never stop being intentional enough with our social media scheduling. It free's us up to actually be social and interact with people. 

Scheduling the Big Rocks

Have you ever seen the illustration involving a jar, big rocks, pebbles, sand and water (or some variation). The basic idea is when we put the big (ie: most important) things in first we are able to get everything else in. This episode we are going to talk about how to schedule those big rocks. 

1. What Matters Most?
What are the things in your ministry or life that matter most? These are the things you must do. They might be tasks no one else knows about, but in order for your ministry to move forward they must be done. They can be the things that only you can do (hopefully this is the case). 

2. Yearly->Monthly->Weekly->Daily
What are you doing tomorrow? Having an accurate plan for what your week will look like is key. We can't just declare something important, never strategize how to attack it and expect it to get done. Big rocks are always part of a boulder. 

3. Weekly Planning
The Week is Where You Win.

I think the week is the time during our strategic productivity that provides the best results. If we can rock the week-we can do anything. Sit down with your big rocks and determine how much time they will take to accomplish. You are going to schedule that time first. 

4. Build Your Workflow

1. Meetings/Things that Don't Move.
2. Big Rocks
3. Medium stuff
4. Everything Else

Resources Mentioned

Week Dominator by NeuYear
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson
The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

Volunteer Rocket: I have been using this program for the last two months and I can't tell you how much it is affecting our ministry design at Foundry. It is expensive, but I would buy it all over again. 

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: pp30_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

Welcome to the 29th Productive Pastor. This episode is all about social media scheduling and how that might affect transparency and honesty. I also give a social media scheduling sheet at the bottom of the shownotes. This whole episode came from this instagram picture from a few months back.

While I am not scheduling a month in advance right now, I totally believe in mapping out social media scheduling. My friend David Lyell asked a great question and I promised I would hit it up in a future episode. Well now you have it!

The Middle

Thanks for all the great folks who shouted out about the last episode with Omar and Michelle. They got open and honest with us and it really resonated with people.

I also want to thank Michael Romans for this awesome tweet.

Project Management Links 

We did a couple of episodes on project management in season two and I found two great links this week about project management tools. I want to share them with you, I think both are great ideas for how to actually manage a project.

How To Organize Your Entire Life with Trello

No Project Manager? Try Bullet Journaling for Business Productivity

How to use Social Media Scheduling (and not lose your soul)

I believe highly in social media scheduling, just for the sake of productivity, much less for intentionality. Many people argue that doing great social media takes to much time, but with scheduling you can take care of it in a few minutes a week. Let's break this into the Why, What, When, Who and How.

Why
If you think everyone in your network see's the posts you make, you will be really surprised. A tweet has a lifespan of about 18 minutes, Most Facebook page updates are seen by 6-20% of the audience. I think Instagram probably has the best ratio, but I am not convinced they aren't using a viewing algorithm. If you want to make maximum impact, you have to schedule your most important updates.

Simply Measured for Facebook

What
Look at your insights, analytics and statistics. Let that data tell you what you need to be posting, what people are responding to best and how they are responding.

When
What are the best times of the day for you? When is it a bad idea to post?

Who
Your data tells you who follows you. What questions should that make you ask?

How
Each network has the best tools to schedule your posts. For Facebook I recommend the native scheduling ability. For twitter I use hootsuite. There is now a way to externally schedule instagram with www.latergram.me. I am a big fan of buffer for personal twitter and facebook sharing, but I find it isn't the best for organizational scheduling.  

So how do I use this sheet?
I highlight one thing to be my Major Emphasis. This is the most important "thing" I am trying to communicate that week. I also have a few medium items as well. I also make sure to emphasize a few posts that are more than likely to get high levels of engagement (based on my research). I then begin to fill in my posts for each network based off of the times I know things work best in each network. If a post is really important, I make sure to schedule it at the time I know the most people are online. I feel in the blanks after that.

Productive Pastor Social Media Schedule (download)

Transparency
The kicker in all of this is exactly what Dave asked about. We have to be strategic but we also have to be transparent. Folks will shut us off in a heartbeat if we are just advertising to them. Part of the beauty of doing this all at one time is realizing how you aren't being social and you are just asking, asking and asking.

Resources Mentioned

Justin Wise Think Digital.

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: PP29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am CST

This episode of the Productive Pastor will be a little bit different. I have a conversation with Omar Rikabi and Michelle Manual. Both of these conversations are centered around how productivity relates with our call and soulcare. These conversations stemmed out of the New Room conference this past year in Nashville. Omar and Michelle are friends from seminary. We had great conversations together and I wanted to attempt to repeat them for the podcast.

You can find Omar’s writing at http://omarrikabi.com/
You can find Michelle’s writing at https://dreadedpastor.wordpress.com/

Mentioned
Called: Following a Future Filled with the Possible by JD Walt

Direct download: PP28final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Today I interview one of the top leaders in ministry in the modern world, Carey Nieuwhof, the pastor of Connexus Church in Ontario, Canada. This episode is full of absolute gold.

I wanted to have this conversation with Carey because of his unique situation in ministry. He has served in the same town for decades and has some of the same people with him since the beginning. I let Carey tell you the nuts and bolts of this story. Here are the questions I used to guide our conversation.

1. How did your approach to productivity shift as your ministry changed?
2. How do you defend your time?
3. What message about productivity would you like to give listeners?

The part of our conversation I appreciated the most was when we talked about proactive vs. reactive. It has been a topic on my mind lately and I imagine I will be devoting a future episode to the topic.

Make sure to check out Carey's blog and podcast. You can find him on twitter @cnieuwhof

The Back Matter

Mentioned:
My Favorite Productivity Tools
The Week Dominator

 The Bookshelf:
Center Church by Tim Keller

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: carey_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to the third season of the Productive Pastor. I am really excited about this season and I want to share a few things with you before we jump into the episode.

New Content: I am working up a great way to feature different folks in the productive pastor community. One of the things I am fascinated with is other peoples work flows and space. Look for the "How I Pastor" series coming out soon.
New Conversations: The Productive Pastor has always had an undercurrent conversation about call and a theology of time management. We will let this conversation come up for air a little more this season. Until then-here are two great episodes for background information.

1. Episode 4: Starting a Theology of Time Management.
2. Episode 5: JD Walt on Sabbath

New Resources: I am committing myself to putting together 3-4 new resources this season for you and give them away. Most of these are in development right now.

How to Read for Maximum Effectiveness

Most of us in ministry are readers. If not, you need to be. Readers are leaders and leaders are Readers. It is a cliche...but totally the truth. The best pastors and ministry leaders are the ones constantly learning.

Reading can easily be a drag. We don't know what to read or how to go about retaining the information. There are services out there giving you book summaries...but let's be honest. Most of them are barely passable.

Maximizing your reading is all about developing a system for reading.

What really opened my eyes up over the last 6 months was a series of articles by Ryan Holiday.

1. How and Why to Keep a Common Place Book
2. The Notecard System: The Key to Remembering, Organizing and Using Everything You Read.
3. Read to Lead: How To Digest Books Above Your Level. 

Let me be honest with you. I first read these articles in the summer and spent to much time digging around the rest of Ryan's archives. But the secret I found really isn't a secret. Tons of other people manage to read an inordinate amount of material and keep ahead of it...all while managing other jobs.

The secret to reading for maximum effectiveness is to intentionally (and strategically) plan your retention.

1. Map out your reading. 
I did this for 2015. Other books will fall in with this, but I have a reading plan. Think of it like a course list for college or seminary. I have a path.

2. Find a time.
For me it is in the mornings after my walk and in the mid-afternoon. This is when my mind is at a "reading mode" the best.

3. Have a system.
Just working through a book and randomly highlighting, flagging and marking won't get you anywhere. Figure out a way to truly mark up the book and then save it. I use my own system of flags, notecards and evernote.

4. Process your reading.
Once a month I process all my reading. I go through the analog notes and input them into evernote. If it is a Kindle book-you can route them into Evernote (HT: Michael Hyatt). I follow my markup system and if anything needs it's own special note in Evernote, I make it. Each book also goes into it's own note.

This sounds laborious, but imagine what it can be like in 10-20 years when you have an extensive research library you can search, right at your fingertips and it is your own thoughts.

The Back Matter

The Bookshelf: Over the last two weeks I have been reading 2 great books I want to recommend.
1. Simplify: Ten practices to Unclutter your Soul by Bill Hybels
2. Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization by Greg Atkinson

Michael Lukaszewski (episode 19) has a great new company called Church Fuel. Their main product is a year program focused on systems. It looks great.

Our next episode will be a conversation with several people about call, time management and how their own personal theological development of productivity has affected their life.

 

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: PP26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am CST

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