The Productive Pastor

Are you still learning? That's a big question because most of our immediate answer would be a resounding YES!

But are we really?

I want to share with you the why of deliberate learning and hopefully jump off your battery towards more strategic learning.

Front Matter:

I want to thank Craig Finnestad for his book From the Waters Edge. You can pick up a copy here.

 

Never Stop Learning

Let's get into the nitty gritty.

What happens when we quit exercising something?

I learned this month. I started lifting weights with a coach using the starting strength method. The first day was absolutely terrifying. My legs were shaking, I couldn’t do the final lift because of mobility issues, and my coach was scared for me to go home on my motorcycle.

At best, I hadn’t used those muscles in a specific way in 20 years. Most likely, I had never actually used them before. But since then, I have become significantly stronger, more mobile and agile and now look forward to my 3 weekly sessions.

When we quit learning, we quit growing. When we quit growing, we will atrophy and our ability to do anything remotely strenuous will die.

One of the most dangerous things you can do in ministry is to stop learning. It will stop your personal growth, your leadership potential, and your church. Much of reading is simply brain massaging, making it work to its top capacity.

I want to share with you 5 places we can use to enhance our learning, but taking it in a totally different way.

  • Reading
  • Podcasts
  • Magazines
  • Youtube
  • Medium

Back Matter

Have you checked out the Productive Pastor Community? It’s an awesome place for ministry leaders to have productivity and time management resources. It’s absolutely free and connects you on Facebook to other folks in the community.

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Mentioned:
Mapping Innovation: a Playbook for Mapping a Disruptive Age

Carl Pullein: Youtube channel 

Direct download: PP78_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm CDT

Do you ever feel like you've lost control?

It's time to conquer the chaos and become a chaos killer. Over the last few months, I've gotten a little too familiar with chaos and what it takes to climb out of it. But we aren't going to talk about the dirty side, instead, I am going to share with you what it means to capture the chaos and keep it contained (so it can never come get you.)

Front Matter

It's about doing, not tweaking by Carl Pullein This is a fantastic article on Medium (one of my new favorite content sites). The biggest takeaway we can all grab from it is realizing in this new world shipping, instead of perfection, reigns.

My new youtube channel: Chad Brooks In this, I'm sharing a little more about life (alongside my wife Meredith). I already have two ironman texas vlogs and a timelapse or two up.

Chaos Killer

Chaos is in a direct relationship to capacity. When your capacity is hit to it’s maximum, in any area, and pushes pass it, then chaos invades your entire life and slowly begins to take it over. Like the raptors in Jurassic park, it is finding the weakest link in your defense system. Once in, it is capable of taking down the strongest place in your life.

There are three posts of chaos keeping: space, schedule, and soul. Each of these forms a protective element to keep those chaos raptors from destroying your life and sneaking in.

The 7 habits of Unproductive Pastors | PP58

Space
What do the physical spaces of your life look like? They serve as an almost instant reading of how we can let chaos overtake us. One of my favorite differences between total destruction and total creativity is Casey Niestat's studio. One day my office, study, studio, whatever will look like this. 

 

Schedule
What do you allow to run your day? Does your schedule run you or do you run your schedule? There is a big difference. The spaces you live and work in are a visible reflection of the chaos and how it orders your life. Chaos fills in all of the untended gaps and takes up space with distractions, reminders, and methods of life suck. 

Schedules need a buddy. That buddy's name is goals. The listlessness we can experience in life is the best bud of chaos. Remember that. 

I've been loving Michael Hyatt's new book Living Forward

Soul
How are you taking care of yourself? If you are run-down and ragged out, things aren't going to work out well. Your single, greatest defense system is a regular, rhythmic and routine time of prayer and scripture. Remember the twenty-mile-march. 

Building a Bible Reading Routine | PP55

Back Matter

Have you checked out the Productive Pastor Community? It's an awesome place for ministry leaders to have productivity and time management resources. It's absolutely free and connects you on Facebook to other folks in the community. 

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Direct download: PP_77_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

I am super excited to share my conversation with Adam Weber today. Adam is the lead pastor of Embrace Church. And he just wrote his first book! It is a fantastic, accessible book on prayer. I love it.

Front Matter

I'm hustling along on the premium content for my sermon worksheet. If you want to jump on the early bird mailing list, you can do so right here. Plus I give you the last beta version of the sheet.

My friend Danielle left a great review of the podcast on iTunes. Thanks, Danielle.

Talking with God (with Adam Weber)

On the journey with prayer.

  • prayer as a last resort.
  • 5 years in when I started.
  • In the season of "back-patting."
  • The relationship of external prayer and deep internal desire.
  • Instead of "I need your help" we run head first into fixing it ourselves.

Prayer has to change at the heart level-not the mind level.

  • I want to make a different but apart from you I can do nothing.
  • Don't wait until the bottom falls out.
  • Wild stuff
  • Intentional prayer life through the week.
  • The power of walks.

What does Sabbath look like?

  • Friday-Saturday
  • Physical space of sabbath. (walks and the front porch)
  • Art of the sermon interview
  • He preaches 28 times a year
  • what breathes life into you and what takes life from you.

Back Matter

Adam's interviews on The Threshing Floor

Adam Weber, Church Planting, and being Missional | TTF 35

Adam Weber on Prayer | TTF 83

Buy a copy of Talking With God: What to say when you don't know what to pray (amazon affiliate link)

AdamWeber.com

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community here.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Direct download: PP76.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:43pm CDT

I wanted to take a quick episode to do a study retreat recap and talk about some awesome things happening in Productive Pastor world

Front Matter

iTunes Review and Rating

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 7.41.16 PM

If you were one of the reviewers, make sure to contact me at twitter. @revchadbrooks

Study Retreat Recap (and more).

In episode 73, I talked about my upcoming study retreat. I was super excited to take this retreat. I learned several things on my retreat. 

  1. Go to a place that inspires you. It was really easy to study at the Lanier Theological Library. Almost perfect. 
  2. Being by yourself for that length of time is really odd. I was surprised how tough it was. 
  3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule. 

Sermons that have reach

Over a year ago I started working on a new version of my sermon worksheet. It has taken me ages to update this resource because I am making it 100x better. I am shooting for it to be out in April. 

Podcasting Sermons

I have been getting more and more emails from people wanting to start podcasting their sermons. I TOTALLY believe this is a great idea for any church. I've started writing material to help anyone start podcasting, including buying equipment and what services they need to use. 

Christians Go To Podcasts To Say Things They Can't Say In Church (from NPR)

 

Direct download: pp75_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm CDT

What's Up! Today we are talking about that little-used shortcut feature in Evernote. Evernote shortcuts are the best! This episode is all about the 5 best notes to have sitting in your shortcuts.

Front Matter

5 Must-Have Notes in your Evernote Shortcut List

Daily Journal
I first started this daily journal habit years ago. It's really quick. I note the day, weather, location, scripture and where my emotions are at. I learned this from Michael Hyatt. It's the first thing I do when I sit in front of my computer in the morning.

My Weekly Template
This is simply my always-working-on template for running my week. Currently, it isn't as task based as it used to be. Right now it is keeping track of some repetitive pieces of contacting that are important to me.

Sermon and Sermon Series Ideas
I have ideas in here that are YEARS old. I mean YEARS. All the way back to seminary. I don't do big fleshing out in here...but I get the ideas out of my head to the level I will quit thinking about them. I might not ever use them, but I am letting that part of my brain work and wonder.

Things I Need to Do
Ok. This one can seem really weird. I have a running task list...most of them are medium levels of importance. This is a strategic list and it works hand in hand with my weekly and daily to-do list, especially when it comes to strategic tasks.

Yearly Goals
This is the newest. I made some pretty big goals for 2017. This note isn't for working through these goals, just marking major milestones and bigger thoughts. I use this note to refer back to my goals pretty frequently, if not every day.

I hope these notes help you develop your own Evernote shortcut list.

Back Matter

Do you use Evernote and Trello? I have specific sub-pages setup for all my content relating to both of these. You can find them at revchadbrooks.com/evernote and revchadbrooks.com/trello.

Also, for anyone wanting to get their Evernote shortcuts or any other Evernote related skills honed better, you need to check out Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials.

We are starting a new idea in the Productive Pastor Community in March. We are reading Eugene Peterson's book Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral IntegrityIf you haven't jumped into the Productive Pastor Community, this would be a great time.

Direct download: PP74_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm CDT

Welcome to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I am sharing how I designed a productive study retreat. Can I mention how stoked I am about a STUDY RETREAT!!!!

I am spending a few days at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas. This should be a fantastic time for deep work and sermon preparation. I am also hosting a lunch get together for listeners of Productive Pastor. To find out the details, make sure you join the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook. I'll be announcing and coordinating everything there. 

Front Matter

Over the last year I have been working on a new version of my Sermon Worksheet, complete with a new eBook AND my first premium resource. I am wrapping up the last part of this project and can't wait to share it with you. It has been a long time coming! If you want to get the old version of the sheet and get on the early bird list, just click here

I'm also working on a how-to guide for starting a fantastic and high-quality sermon podcast. Did you know the Christian category is the largest on Apples Podcast store? This is because of sermons. I totally believe in the medium of audio podcasts and I want to help you leverage them for high impact in your community. 

Designing a Productive Study Retreat

I took a sermon study retreat a few years ago. I just threw a bunch of books in my truck, grabbed a bag of frozen buffalo wings and went out. I got a few things done, but I mainly just took the time to rest. Looking back, I needed rest more than I actually needed to study. 

Going into this retreat, I didn't want to make the same mistakes. I intentionally planned what I knew I wanted AND needed to do. After planning my retreat, I read this fantastic article by Brian Jones about sermon preparation. It is called "How To Finish Your Sermon by Monday" and I was initially taken aback. But after reading I realized it gave me much more focus about the handful of goals I had for my sermon retreat. There are two important parts of designing a productive study retreat. 

Pre-Work

- come up with a plan and some goals
- order whatever supplies you might need (notebooks, pens, resources, etc)
- build out digital note taking systems (for me, it’s my evernote templates)
- print out whatever sermons sheets you need 
- map out the time you have. set some goals.
- Find a few things to be excited about.
- Find a great place.
- find a great place to stay. For me, it has to have a good breakfast and be comfortable enough for later evening study sessions in the hotel room.
- start preparing for longer stretches of thought work. You want to be acclimated to it.

During

- stick to your map. Make sure to stick with your focuses.
- Make sure to have a note-taking system for long-term recall.
- Find something mindless to do as well. You are studying and doing large amounts of deep work. Your brain will keep itself active.
- Do something fun in the evening.

 

Back Matter

 

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community here.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Direct download: pp73_mixdown.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:14pm CDT

Do you work backward? I love it. Working backward means choosing to start with a preferred future in mind, not a problem to solve. You need to try it!

Find the shownotes at revchadbrooks.com/pp72

Front Matter:

I'm super excited about how episode 71 (Deep Work with Isaac Hopper). It is turning into our fastest downloaded episode ever! I have some amazing interviews scheduled and parallel content for this spring. You don't want to miss it.

Have you checked out Ministry Library yet? I'm creating some super practical video content for them this year. The only way to get it is to become a subscriber. It is a super worthwhile investment in your ministry. Sign up through this link and help support Productive Pastor.

The Benefit of Backwards

Working backwards is all about having and understanding the idea of preferred future. This is a key concept in leadership. It focuses on vision instead of problems. Working backwards simply means identifying the qualities of this preferred future that you have the ability to control. Here are the keys to working backwards

Have whiteboard days and hustle days.
These are some of my favorite tools. Both of these tactics including gathering your best dreamers AND doers together to plot out this preferred future. When you have action steps in place, it means drilling down and getting the work done. These are a huge tool.

Work from the perspective of a preferred future. 
Getting this idea into your imagination is key. Understand you are going to strategically design steps backwards from this preferred future. You aren't moving forward to fix problems. You are stating a future reality and scheming through which steps will get you there. And I literally begin working backwards. Inside this flow, you are able to consistently realize and create the situations to move forward.

Get into the space of the future by asking intentional questions. 
In order to find this pathway, don't initially think actions. Think about the emotions. What questions help you set the stage?

Then begin creating the system design. 
Once you properly understand the emotion, you will be able to start realizing what the previous (next) step should be. If you get stuck, you go back into questions of emotion. When you are done, you will find that you have answered questions before people have ask them, come up with super clear steps for people to take and covered all of your bases.

Back Matter

Archive Episode: Building a Priority Based Schedule

Reading: Deep Work, This is Service Design Thinking and Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community here.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

 

Direct download: PP72_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm CDT

How often do you build deep work into your schedule? Do you even know what deep work is? In this episode, I sit down with my buddy Isaac Hopper and talk about deep work. Isaac isn't a stranger to the podcast, having been a guest before and being a moderator in the Productive Pastor Community. I was excited to grab time with him and talk about such an important topic.

 

Deep Work

Deep Work is the action of scheduling long amount of time, for a distinct purpose. As Cal Newport says it gives the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.

The question we kept asking ourselves was this, what if deep work wasn't the last work, but the first work? What are the handful of things we as ministry leaders should be concentrating our best efforts and energies on?

Here is our short list of what can/should be constituted as deep work:

  • sermons/preparation
  • scripture/prayer
  • reading/study
  • vision
  • writing

Most leaders do not necessarily need to fit all of these elements in, but picking 2 or 3 should be sufficient to grow in leadership. These will be contextual topics, depending on your place of ministry, your unique gifts and the specific leadership situations you find yourself in. Just like a to-do list, your focus items should fit on a post-it note and written with a sharpie!

The biggest lesson is finding the time for deep work happens around ministry leaders understanding what it means to control their calendar. This is the item in which we need to be the most responsible. We talk about how pastoral care fits into the equation and what it means to spread this out across the entire week, instead of attempting to fit all of it during one workday.

You can find more about Isaac (and his fantastic writing) at isaachopper.com

Resources Mentioned

SermonSmith on Spurgeon

Lectures To My Students- CH Spurgeon

Deep Work-Cal Newport

Tools of Titans- Tim Ferriss

Church Unique- Will Mancini

God Dreams- Will Mancini

Back Matter

I’m working with Ministry Library this year creating exclusive video content. I’ve been a user since the very beginning and I use their content constantly personally, with my staff, and in leadership training. Your monthly membership fee gets you access to all of their content.

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Direct download: pp71_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Welcome to season 5 of the Productive Pastor! 

I'm back from my December break and I can't wait to see what 2017 will look like for you and your ministry...and the podcast. I'm excited about the podcast. In this episode I am going to share some self-reflection, team reflection, and resources to help you plan a fantastic 2017 in ministry. 

Front Matter

The Tip Jar Podcast: My friend Cody has started a fantastic new podcast dedicated to worship musicians. He is having conversations with some of the biggest guitar players, drummers and technicians of your favorite worship bands/leaders. It is a super entertaining podcast. 

The Productive Pastor Community: We have an incredible group of folks interacting in the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook. It's a private group, so we can have great ministry focused conversations about productivity and strategic ministry in an environment full of folks that speak the same language! One of my deeper commitments in 2017 is to this group. Come be part. 

Planning Your Best 2017

Personal

- What are three things that would make you tremendously happy next year?
- What are three things about this year that made you happy?
- What are the places of personal healing you need to be seeking in 2017?
- What do you need to prioritize next year? (I’m a fan of Chris Brogan and his three words concept).
- What are the goals you would like to set? 

Leadership

- What wins have we accomplished this year?
- Where did we miss the mark?
- Where do we feel God leading us in 2017?
- What new ground did we cover?
- What gaps did we get filled?
- What holes did we discover?

Preparation

- Preparation Day (personal)
- Church wide surveys (volunteer, leadership, all church) 
- Globe out the year. (uploaded file)

Resources Mentioned
Chris Brogan. Three words. 
Michael Hyatt's Living Forward
Foundry's annual church-wide survey

Back Matter

I'm working with Ministry Library this year creating exclusive video content. I've been a user since the very beginning and I use their content constantly personally, with my staff, and in leadership training. Your monthly membership fee gets you access to all of their content. 

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Direct download: PP70_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm CDT

1