The Productive Pastor (general)

Welcome to the 96th episode of Productive Pastor. We've got a fantastic episode with Karl Vaters for you! He's the author of Small Church Essentials and The Grasshopper Myth. He's also the teaching pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. 

In this episode we talk about: 

  • The church industrial complex and the problem with grow, grow, grow.
  • How your churches denomination and culture play into the idea of growth.
  • Big churches require a different type of funding and membership. 
  • It's about gifting, not skill. Or better or worse skills. Just a different type of personality. 
  • Extroverts and Introverts in ministry, and how that plays out in ministry. 
  •  The longer the church has been around, the more challenging it will be for defining pastoral expectations. 
  •  APEST and the job of the pastor. 
  •  The tension of defining large vs. small in different church traditions. 
  • The role of tenure in the small church. 
  • Vision casting in the small church.  

Connect with Karl 

New Small Church (blog)
@karlvaters
Small Church Essentials*
The Grasshopper Myth*

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.

Become a Patron over at Patreon.com/RevChadBrooks. It helps keep Productive Pastor Ad Free.

 

  • disclosure – these contain amazon affiliate links and productive pastor will receive a small percentage of your purchase from Amazon. This helps keep the show rocking and rolling for everyone.
Direct download: pp96_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm CST

I want to share about 3 things I'm thinking about and hearing about a bunch right now. This episode will be a bit of a mishmash, but it's all recurring conversations in the Productive Pastor world. 

Front Matter

Big Data and the 21st Century Church - Justin Allison 

I can't begin to tell you how Justin's thoughts and writing have had us at Foundry thinking about how we utilize our database. He's asking some great questions, but also showing you how to do some amazing work inside of Planning Center People

Productive Pastor on Patreon 

Big thanks to Matt Stout, Tony Smith and Thomas Cackler for supporting the podcast! You can get a shoutout, plus more content by being part of the patreon community

Preaching, Podcasting, and Paper

Preaching
This isn't as much as a conversation about my preaching, but how I am listening and learning from other preachers. I've always been on the lookout for some of my favorite podcasts on the art of preaching and preparation. Here are the ones I listen to right now. 

The Art of the Sermon
SermonSmith
The Teaching Pastor

Podcasting
I think more and more churches (and pastors) are beginning to podcast outside of simply sharing their sermon. I think it is an amazing way to expand your voice, create better engagement, and find new ways to talk about your ministry. This is a growing segment, and here are three podcasts I find extremely interesting. 

Maybe God
The Holy Family Podcast
This Cultural Moment  

If you want to explore a more narrative podcast with your church, or just simply up your game on podcasting, here are a few pieces of equipment I find to be extremely helpful towards creating a quality podcast. *

Interface : Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 or Zoom H6N (I use both of these)
Microphone : Shure SM58  

Paper
Over the last few months I have been using paper more and more as I plan and work. I've gone back to using many things I have created over the years and slowly moved away from. Now, I am almost entirely paper based in my actual workflow. 

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.

Become a Patron over at Patreon.com/RevChadBrooks. It helps keep Productive Pastor Ad Free.

 

  • disclosure - these contain amazon affiliate links and productive pastor will receive a small percentage of your purchase from Amazon. This helps keep the show rocking and rolling for everyone. 
Direct download: pp95_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:34pm CST

A Year of Talking With God (with Adam Weber)

I’ve got to say, Adam is consistently one of my favourite podcast guests. Below I’ve linked to all the times I’ve had him on a show. We spend our time talking about being the author of a book on prayer has changed his personal life with God, the way he relates to his family, and how this has helped and been part of his fast-growing church. We also have a great story about how Adam learned about sheep.

Podcast Episodes

Productive Pastor 76 (Talking With God) 

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

Adam Weber on Prayer | TTF 83

AdamWeber.com

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.

Become a Patron over at Patreon.com/RevChadBrooks. It helps keep Productive Pastor Ad Free.

Direct download: PP_94_mixdown_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19pm CST

Have you checked out the awesome rewards for patrons on the patreon page?

 

You can grab it at https://www.patreon.com/revchadbrooks

 

Every new Patron gets their name read on the show as a supporter.

$1 gives you access to the patron only feed on the Patreon feed. I upload a couple of exclusive videos a month to this feed. I’ll also turn random pieces of content loose early on this feed.

$5 a month has two awesome perks. The first is a member exclusive shorter podcast episode with the behind the scenes information about the latest episode. This might have goofs, my own thoughts about why I felt the content was needed, or just some more information about part of the episode that didn’t make the main episode. The second perk is an early release of any interview episode. I typically get 2-3 unique episodes out of every interview, and they can be spaced months apart. I upload the entire episode as soon as it is recorded.

$10 a month gives you everything mentioned previously PLUS exclusive access to a monthly Google Hangout I am going to start doing. This will be a 1-hour roundtable conversation. I’m going to come into it with a few talking points, but this is about a real live discussion with other high-focused members of the productive pastor community. The video will be released to all patrons afterward, but the only way you can get in on the conversation is to be a $10 monthly supporter. 

 

Come be part of the sponsor team! 

https://www.patreon.com/revchadbrooks

Direct download: patreon_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45pm CST

When was the last time you admitted you made a mistake?

Face it, we all make mistakes. There are two different kinds of mistakes. The first are the mistakes we make when we don't have the knowledge and/or ability to execute a task. The second type of mistake are the ones we willingly make because we don't have the margin or resources to go for the win.

Front Matter

Have you left an iTunes review and rating? It is a fantastic way to support the podcast and help move it forward!

The Mistakes We All Make

Willful mistakes are all about us gambling about what we are willing to sacrifice. Here are the three mistakes I've been super intentional about in my life lately.

  1. We sacrifice our ability to tell the truth.
    This is all about when we simply don't have the time or margin to do everything we tell people we will do. It undermines our character and we get a reputation as someone who doesn't do what they say. I'm becoming hyper aware of this and what I need to do about it.
  2. We sacrifice our best.
    We end up spending an inordinate amount of time on what we are worst at.
  3. We sacrifice our boundaries.
    This is becoming one of the most important things to me. But to understand our boundaries, we need to realize we first need to work on our own self-boundaries. Build into yourself the practices you need the most.

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.

Become a Patron over at Patreon.com/RevChadBrooks. It helps keep Productive Pastor Ad Free. 

Direct download: PP93_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12pm CST

Welcome back to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I talk with JR Forasteros about content creation and content curation. JR is no stranger to the podcast, so it's awesome to have him back on and I talk with him about one of my favorite topics. 

The Pastor as Content Creator and Curator

  • Did you ever have a time in ministry when you weren't creating content?
  • Have you ever been scared for a church to read your content?
  • What content JR is creating
  • Pastors are consistently creating content and that makes you a better content creator.
  • Pastors are creating MASSIVE content each week, and have access to one of the best audiences in the world. 
  • Content is an inevitable by-product of a sermon. 
  • The skill we have not figured out how to develop is what it means for ministry leaders to be curators and truth show-ers.
  • People want someone who can give them trustworthy information. 
  • Fake news.
  • What it looks like for churches to see their pastors as content creators.
  • How we talk about things that don't lend themselves to sermons. 
  • What are the ways you need to communicate things that don't make sense in a sermon?
  • We've got to stretch out the energy it takes for us to write sermons. 

 

Resources Mentioned
How I wrote a book with JR Forasteros | Productive Pastor 88

3 Reasons Pastors Should Be Curators of Content 

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.

[smart_podcast_player]

Direct download: Curatiing_and_Creating_Content_PP92_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm CST

So how do you craft a great communication strategy? In this episode, I share the basics of campaign communication design.

The List
I've been LOVING, and I mean LOVING this conversation from Peter McKinnon on the creative process. I watched it twice in a row.

Campaign Communication Design

So what exactly is a campaign? Many churches leaders are only familiar with the idea when it comes to capital campaigns. What if I told you enabling bits and pieces of the strategy would allow you to communicate more effectively AND efficiently? For far too often, we end up spinning our wheels and simply regurgitate the important things our churches desire folks to know.

Campaign communication design is simply strategic communication for a specific set of goals and outcomes. It helps you get as much participation, reach, and attendance as possible for special events in the life of your church.

Get the communication design resources here.

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: PP91_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm CST

This episode we are going back in time and bringing new content into a conversation that has been the MOST DOWNLOADED episode of Productive Pastor.

This episode is sponsored by the awesome folks at TrainedUp.church. Make sure to check them out for the best mobile volunteer training system out there. If you didn’t catch it, we recorded an episode earlier this year with their founder Scott Magdalein.

How often do you stratigically think about your communication? Maybe you have a list, or maybe you want to take things a little deeper. If that's you, we've got some great information for you today.

The List

All You Need To Know About Whiteboard Markers. 
Yes, I have been getting into this article a little too much. But if you are a whiteboard dork, I know you will as well.

The Jocko Podcast and Barbell Logic
Both of these shows have been getting major airtime in my truck this year. I am interested in the primary parts of both of these podcasts, but I am super interested in the conversation about discipline that is an underlying current in both podcasts.

Production Calendars (Part 2)

Over the last few months, as I was dealing with a tremendous amount of anxiety over what ministry looked like, I remembered a strategy that had given me tremendous margin in the past. I had stopped using a production calendar. And I realized it was time to get back on board with the idea 100%. Since then, I have significantly more margin because I have streamlined my entire communication process. Let's just back into the original conversation started in episode 17; Why You Need a Production Calendar.

  1. This takes a simple list and fast-forwards the creation of margin.
    As leaders, we are creating tons of content. A production calendar moves you into the realm of deliberate communication strategy and out of a reactive mode. High impact material needs to be groomed. Significantly.
  2. You need a creation schedule and it needs to be calendared.
    The further we are able to step back, the farther you can plan into the future. You are giving things the ability to be edited and molded into their ideal version. It can be a newsletter article or a weekly update email. it will communicate better if it is sculpted out.
  3. Communication, no matter if it is specific or recurring, need a strategic release sequence.
    This means you figuring out when the best day/time to write is.
  4. There are many ways to do this.
    You can go full out digital or totally paper. Just don't get caught in the app trap. Pick out a method and stick to it.

There are four stages we can all find ourselves in right now.

  1. We are actually thinking about strategic communication and calendar for the first time.
  2. We want to step beyond just having stuff on a calendar for a release date.
  3. Let's take one thing, like our weekly emails and email systems, and develop them deliberately.
  4. We want to strategically order all of our communication.

 

Resources Mentioned:

The Simple Content Creation Method + How to Publish More Than You Thought Humanly Possible by Anne Samoilov   

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: PP90_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm CST

How many of you have taken part in a year-end review? I'm pretty sure many of us have been thinking about them, taking part in them, and possibly working on our own reviews. I spent the week reflecting on a few things, and I want to share them with you. I've also put together two worksheets for you to use for a personal review and for a team review. 

This episode is sponsored by the awesome folks at TrainedUp.church. Make sure to check them out for the best mobile volunteer training system out there. If you didn’t catch it, we recorded an episode earlier this year with their founder Scott Magdalein.

The List
The Procrastination Doom Loop

Resources
Yearly Dream Sheet. Team Sheet.

Yearly Dream Sheet. Personal Edition.

Links Mentioned

Why You need to ask yourself tough questions. 

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: PP89_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05pm CST

Welcome to this episode of Productive Pastor. We are doing another installment of "How I wrote a book" with my buddy JR Forasteros.

This episode is sponsored by the awesome folks at TrainedUp.church. Make sure to check them out for the best mobile volunteer training system out there. If you didn't catch it, we recorded an episode earlier this year with their founder Scott Magdalein

Jr, the pastor of Catalyst Community Church, is the author of Empathy For the Devil: Finding Ourselves in the Villians of the Bible*. I was lucky enough to read it early on and it is a fantastic read. It is also written differently than many other books, so I knew I wanted to get JR on the show. 

We talk about: 

  • The story of his book title
  • The role of a book cover
  • Writing fiction AND non-fiction for a book.
  • How JR researched the narrative portions
  • What questions he asked during the process.
  • Why you need an agent
  • How to write a book proposal (check out the resources)
  • How JR wrote
  • How to get published
  • What JR would do differently

 

Resources/Links Mentioned:

Books

The Story of God, the Story of Us: Sean Gladding*
Exclusion and Embrace: Miroslav Volf*
Unclean: Richard Beck*
Lex Luthor Man of Steel*
My Friend Dahmer*

Episodes

How I wrote a book with Tom Fuerst

Back Matter

Are you listening to my daily podcasts on Anchor? It’s a fantastic new medium for podcasting and content creation. 


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.

*Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate Links

Direct download: PP88_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Every year I record a listener Q & A episode during Thanksgiving week. We've got three great questions, with a few helpful links. to talk about today.

This episode is sponsored by the awesome folks at TrainedUp.Church. They are innovating how churches train leaders and volunteers. 

  1. How do you encourage and incorporate staff and volunteers into your processes and systems? What are some times when you've struggled (and/or failed) to adequately get others to engage in productivity/system flows? Preston Morgan

      Systems rise and fall on the person who is leading the system. 

     Helpful Episodes
     Michael Lukaszewski on Systems 
     Developing Systems that Work
     Building Guest Systems
     Building a Staff Onboarding System

2. I’m always considering is the best ways of keeping a calendar for ministry, family, etc.  Best practices, best tools. Tyler Tibbs
I've found the best lesson with calendars is to simply pick something and use it. 

3. What's the best way to tie Thanksgiving into the larger story of God? Jonathan Bevil
I've worked off how the different seasons speak into the vision of our church. What are the hard parts, the good parts, and the lessons to be learned. 

Parent Podcast Episode on Youtube

 

    

Direct download: PP87_thanksgiving_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10am CST

Three Big Mistakes

I want to have a conversation today about the way we handle our schedule and how it has the ability to move us forward or keep us sitting still.

First, we have a few prerequisites. These are three episodes of Productive Pastor I think can help make this conversation better.

The First Mistake: Not Knowing What You Are Doing Today.
This is something all of us can learn from. It is super easy in ministry to just take care of things day by day, living in reaction mode. Understanding what the most important task of the day helps us manage, lead, and ultimately provide better care for people.

The Second Mistake: Not Knowing What You Are Doing Tomorrow.
How do you end your days? I've worked recently on having a solid end of day routine. It helps me so much starting fresh the next day. It gives a completely different atmosphere, to begin with. Remember, this is all part of a larger picture of goals.

The Third Mistake: Not Evaluating What You Did Yesterday.
I remember the first time I heard about an after action report in the military. I thought it was absolutely genius. Evaluation is a key component in managing a forward-focused calendar.

Direct download: PP86_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm CST

Direct download: PP85_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm CST

Direct download: PP84_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am CST

This is a big day for The Productive Pastor! This episode is sponsored by the good folks at TrainedUp.church. If you are looking for a thoroughly modern way to utilize video in your church training, they've built a turn-key solution for you. Make sure to check them out! In today's episode, we've got Scott Magdalein, Founder of TrainedUp on the podcast to talk about his life, why he created TrainedUp and how it can help hot rod your church and ministry.

Front Matter

You Have to Show Up. Every. Day by Zak Slayback 

Why Successful People Spend 10 Hours a Week on "Compound Time."  by Michael Simmons

My Conversation with Scott Magdalein

  • Scott's background
  • What local church situation made Scott create TrainedUp
  • The power of consistency in solving small issues.
  • What is TrainedUp
  • What successful churches are doing to be successful in TrainedUp.
  • It's all about being consistent. Yet again.
  • How Scott stays productive.
  • How self-awareness has changed things.

Make sure to follow Scott on twitter (@scottmagdalein) and on Youtube (I love Boat Fam!)

Back Matter

Are you listening to my daily podcasts on Anchor? It’s a fantastic new medium.

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.

[smart_podcast_player]
Direct download: PP83_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45pm CST

Over the last week, folks all over the country have had their eyes on the Texas and Louisiana coast as Hurricane Harvey made landfall. In the last year, I've lived through a 500 year flood and been part of two other disasters. Living through a disaster in tough. Leading through a disaster seems impossible. So I sit down with my friend Rev. Donnie Wilkinson, one of the pastors at Broadmoor United Methodist in Baton Rouge, La. Donnie prayed for me while I was pastoring during a disaster. Little did I know, in just a few months, Donnie would be leading recovery efforts while his church was affected by the flooding in Baton Rouge of 2016.

Pastoring During a Disaster

This is bigger than you can handle. Trust us. During this season, you will need to do a leadership and church triage. Afterwards, you need to take a break and long term sabbath.

Stresses During a Disaster

  • It's tough to see your people hurting.
  • We find financial and giving stress.
  • Disaster takes a toil on our bodies and they show the stress
  • We have to begin asking ourselves the questions "What's the best use of my time?"

Self-care During a Disaster

  • Have a bedtime.
  • Don't neglect prayer and scripture
  • Your productivity will be the product of your prayer life.

Leadership During a Disaster

  • There are more resources at your church than you know.
  • Your job is to identify and release people for their best purpose.
  • Have a process to dialogue and allow others to make decisions

Leveraging Influence During a Disaster

  • No one knew when this was happening? We weren't in the news cycle.
  • Have can you tell great stories?
  • What does it mean to connect people to places of impact?

 

Direct download: Productive_Pastor_81_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53pm CST

I’ve been absolutely FALLING IN LOVE with Anchor.fm these past two weeks. Today, I decided to create a more Productive Pastor style episode for them and to share it here with you. Also, this is a heavy shownotes anchor, so it makes perfect sense to drop it right here.

 

Pastors are in the content creation business. Think of what we write or create each week. We typically have at least one sermon (if not more) and it might be delivered in several different places. We are also writing letters, articles, blog posts, creating written systems and many other forms of communication. AND, we find ourselves podcasting and being intentionally social online as well. I’d say we have a pretty heavy load of content creation to keep up with.

Keeping Up with Content Creation

Here is how I have learned and shared with others about not just keeping up with content creation, but completely owning it.

Content creation isn’t just a “shoot from the hip” activity. You’ve got to realize there is an executable process to lead to success.

To completely own content creation, you are going to need a few super powers.

  1. Brain Power.
    This is all about recurring action. What can you do to consistently be coming up with new ideas? I’ve found reading to be tremendously helpful. I also swear by my time in the shower, by myself in my pool and taking walks without headphones. Those are the absolute best for me. You’ve got to be a learner above all.
  2. Remembering Power.
    Thinking about new things and connecting dots will be worthless if you don’t have a way to get everything all down. You’ve got to have a way to notate and remember. I rely on two things. My notebook and Evernote. They have both saved me so many times I cannot even count. Write down everything. Come up with a system that helps you with recall. As digital as I am, I have found that my notebook is significantly more helpful and creative. Once I have a project going, I will give it a few pages of space and just come back time and time again to it.
  3. Editing Power.
    Rome wasn’t built in a day and whatever you are working on won’t be great in one pass. Remember, good stuff doesn’t happen in one shot. You need to be consistently sculpting and growing and pruning whatever it is you are working on. It might just mean a couple of passes or it might take a month of work. Typically, the more important, the longer the time.
  4. Community Power.
    Remember, all communication is designed for outward action. It isn’t supposed to stay with you. The medium of delivery and your own interaction with whatever community it is matters tremendously. It has to be designed for them and you need to be interacting.
  5. Curating Power.
    You’ve got to resource people and also realize all of your hard work doesn’t just live once. You need a plan of curation, of learning when and how and why to interact and reseed your old content. We live in the age of content, so people take in old information much easier if it contributes to the larger story of the community.
Direct download: Keeping_Up_With_Content_Creation_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am CST

Have you ever thought about the future you would love to have for you or your ministry? Many times we can wander about individually or organizationally. This episode, I want to talk about the idea of a preferred future. This is an amazing tool that can help you strategically plan at every level.

Front Matter

The Productivity Project with Chris Bell | Pat Flynn Smart Passive Income

Stress is the Enemy of Creativity | by Christian Miller 

Chaos Killers Episode 77 

Avoiding and Attacking Procrastination Episode 52

The War of Art | Steven Pressfield 

The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers | Adam Grant

The Preferred Future

Why do we have many of the problems in personal leadership AND in the direction of our churches/ministries?

We don’t know what the future holds, how we are playing a part in it, and have lost this idea of promise.

The greatest purpose comes hand in hand with the greatest preparation and process.

This immediately makes us think pretty seriously about call. What is the mission we’ve been given, how does it interplay with our giftedness and ability, and what if we are being asked to do something specific? It is a theological exercise, immediately drawing folks out of themselves.

The Preferred Future is an exercise and tactic to work through towards what you believe is your mission. In scripture, the entire journey from Abraham to Joshua is about preferred future. The sweet spot lies when leaders and churches can prayerfully work through the hard vision process to understand their God-given preferred future. In any strategic planning, understanding and discovering the preferred future is a must. It gives you a baseline to work back from.

The second, and potentially toughest, part of the preferred future is understanding your current reality. Many folks never get past this point. When we don't have any accurate picture of where we are now and how we got there, we can never move forwards towards the future. Many churches stay stuck in the past because they don't even see their current place. Often times, a clear picture of our current reality allows us to discover our squeeze points. It helps us to find the lids we need to lift in our selves and organizations to get to the preferred future. It's the hard work and sweat equity we put in our own improvements.

Direct download: PP79_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

How well does your ministry use email? Email series can increase engagement and lower the amount of work you have to do. 

 

Front Matter

  1. Ministry Library
    Next year I am creating original video content for Ministry Library. I have been part of their service since the beta days and I can't recommend it more. You can find out more and sign up here (afflilate link). 
  2. Thanks for the iTunes Review & Ratings. 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-3-53-37-pm

Using Email Series for Greater Engagement

So what is an email series?

Imagine a list of pre-written emails automatical sent to people based on sign-ups. They can be strategically calendared and sent at certain times to hit certain goals. 

How do I build an email series?
I used to be a huge fan of aweber. But lately, I'm recommending MailChimp to people more and more. This does require a paid account. 

After you are set up with automations/sequence, begin dreaming about how you can use email to engage with people in your church. The most common ways are connecting with first-time guests, first-time givers and first time recurring donors. This are three easy programs to implement. 

So what do they look like?

How would you tell someone a story in stages? This is exactly what you are doing with an email series. You can use this to cast vision, tell stories, give information and make big asks. The sky is the limit. 

The benefits.
The biggest benefit to using email series is it only has to be done  once. You can spend a couple of hours writing some great sequences, and then refining them. Plug them into your email service and start experimenting. 

Folks to listen/be aware of.

Bobby Williams interview with Rich Birch on Email Series and Guests.
Amy Porterfield
Pat Flynn (email the Smart way. It's on the homepage). 

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also.

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

 

Direct download: PP69_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Happy Thanksgiving! This is one of those weeks in ministry where we slow things down a little, spend time with folks we care about and get some serious eating done. So I decided to source some questions and conversation from the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook for the episode this week. If you haven't joined yet, click the link and get access.

you can find full shownotes at

Here are the questions with resource links.

Community Questions

What does a Productive Pastor's day look like? From Stephen Collins.
Resources Mentioned.

Productive Pastor 59. How to have momentum with a future focused calendar.

Productive Pastor 48. Building Guest Systems

 

I need Evernote for Dummies! From Jeff Lawson

Resources Mentioned.

revchadbrooks.com/evernote

Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly

 

I need help with administration and delegation. From Benjamin West.

The Fine Art of Delegation by Michael Hyatt

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also.

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

 

Direct download: PP68_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm CST

How well do you and your church do email? I think email is one of the best ways for us to communicate with people...but we need to wade through some legit bad practices first. 

Front Matter

I'm still obsessed with Planning Center's People app. It's a free church database system that links into the rest of the (paid) Planning Center universe. It absolutely makes ministry significantly easier. If you aren't using church management software, or you are looking for a better solution...you need to check out Planning Center People. 

  • Ministry Multiplies...it doesn't add. You need to grow alongside your congregation
  • It helps you build segmented data. This will come in handy later on. 
  • It is customizable. Easily. You can totally build the perfect system with it. 

Planning Center Mastermind Group (on Facebook). 

The 5 Emails You Need To Be Sending

Email is all about strategy. You and your church are (hopefully) already sending emails to people. I want to help you understand how those emails affect things, how our sending method affects open rates and how you can use 5 strategic emails to change your own approach. 

So what's your current email strategy?

I asked folks in the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook. Check out the responses for more information (and ideas). Below are the three strategies I see churches using the most. 

  1. You send emails from a personal account using CC or BC.
  2. Your church uses a mail system like Mailchimp, Aweber or Constant Contact. You send weekly/monthly announcements. 
  3. You use a database that links to a mail service to build strategic email lists. 

5 Email Ideas

  1. Volunteer Thank-You.
    I try to send this every week. Unless you have an untold number of volunteers, this is the one email I think should come from your personal account. I like to thank all of the folks who served this week. It is a great chance to build a little vision and let them dive deeper. 
  2. Giving Emails.
    We just started this email last month. I write a medium length email to everyone who has given that month. In it, I talk about what we were able to do this month, what it means to invest in our community and how we can help folks even more. I like to give them a little bit of future information that won't go anywhere else also. 

    This month we are starting another email JUST to the folks who have started giving in the previous month.

    In each of these emails, we urge folks to begin scheduling their giving and send them a link to do so. 
  3. Group Announcements. 
    I use our database to build segments for special interest areas (demographics or participation in groups). This helps us move folks along the assimilation pathway. 
  4. Intentional Guest Follow-Up.
    I talked a little about this in the episode on Guest Assimilation ( Building Guest Systems | PP48). Using an email follow-up systems really helps staying in contact and informing new folks who have attended your church. 
  5. Email Marketing.
    If you really get deep into follow-up systems, you can utilize email marketing strategy to resource folks before and after events. We will have an entire episode dedicated to this in the near future. 

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also.

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

Direct download: pp67_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

I'm really excited about this episode. Two big reasons. The first is it is the 3rd birthday of Productive Pastor. The second is I am replaying a section from THE FIRST EPISODE. It is all about taking advantage of daylight savings and hacking it to give you some more time back for your morning. 

No long shownotes here, but let's take advantage of what we can to make our mornings great. 

 

Direct download: PP66_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am CST

Welcome to this episode of Productive Pastor. We jump away from our typical discussion this week to talk about the relationship between patterns, rhythms, and health in ministry. Also-I share with you some of my recent discoveries about church administration and databases. 

Shownotes can be found at revchadbrooks.com/pp65

Front Matter:

The Productive Pastor Community on Facebook-this is a recent addition to our community. I couldn't be more excited about the conversations already part. Make sure to cruise over and request membership

Have you reviewed and rated on iTunes yet? You can do so right here

Evernote landing page AND Trello landing page for ministry use cases. 

Rhythms, Health and Administration in ministry. 

In this episode, I want to get into some real-talk. Not much material for shownotes, so make sure you listen. 

Episodes Mentioned:
Omar Rikabi on Productivity and Anxiety

Productivity, Call and Soul-Care 

Also-make sure to check out the good folks at Planning Center, especially their Services app. It's free for anyone to use. 

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also.

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

Direct download: PP65_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm CST

What does it mean to pull off something impossible? This episode, I sit down with my WIFE. Meredith is a beast at many things; two of them being 1. Endurance Sports and 2. Systems and implementation. This year she is training for the Texas Ironman. I wanted to sit down with her and have her talk about what it is like to attain the unattainable. 

shownotes at revchadbrooks.com/pp64

We talk about:

  • what the productive pastor means to her.
  • how it has changed things. 
  • What an Ironman is. 
  • How training plans change everything. 
  • How training plans can assist with systems.
  • What does it mean to tackle a big project.

It was great to get Meredith on the show.

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also. 

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

Direct download: pp64_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Do you ever struggle with known weaknesses? Or do you feel that you don't have an adequate knowledge of something that keeps coming up in ministry? The solution is self-education. In this episode, I am sharing how each of us can create a ministry self-education plan.

Shownotes at revchadbrooks.com/pp63

 

Front Matter:

Productive Pastor Community FB Group.
I'm excited about this. For the last few months, I have been thinking about creating an online place to facilitate more productive pastor conversation. I've fallen in love with Facebook Groups and have seen the level of community and increased effectiveness for them. I have a few folks lined up to help serve as administrators in this group and I am super excited to see what it will allow ALL OF US to do together.

Monday Moments
As I am trimming up the last few things on the new worksheet, I really wanted to release a different resource specifically focused on Monday Moments. This is a topic I get tons of feedback and questions around. If you are curious, check out the podcast episode totally around Monday Moments.

Using Monday Moments for Better Preaching | PP 38
[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/DR0000_0383_01.mp3" title="Using Monday Moments for Better Preaching" artist="Productive Pastor 38" ]

Creating a Ministry Self-Education Strategy

I remember the last thing I wanted to do after seminary was read another book. Actually, I am lying to you. I had a STACK of books I wanted to read. I made it through around 3 of them until I realized much of what I wanted to read had absolutely nothing to do with practical ministry. It has been 6 years and I still haven't finished the stack. But I have read plenty of books that weren't in the stack.

What is a ministry self-education strategy?

This is one of the secret places that many of us forget about. We don’t understand the power that self-education holds for us. For some ministry leaders, their entire career has been crafted by self-education. For others, we have had the privilege of bible college, undergraduate university, seminary or even beyond.

What both have in common is the power of continued self-education.

Great leaders are always going to be learning.

You can either try to do this by accident or happenstance…or you can begin building a pro-active strategy of self-education for ministry. A good ministry self-education strategy is built around intentional learning AND creating the environment for accidental and serendipitous learning.

What do you want to learn?

What are the parts of ministry you just don't feel prepared for? A few years ago, I knew I would need to learn more about discipleship. So I called folks I felt were good at it. I asked them for their recommendations. I set up internet filters to pick up articles by folks I knew I wanted to learn from. I began building a 6-month plan to learn more about discipleship...specifically discipleship in church plants and from a missional perspective.

What is the growing edge you need to be standing on?

Your ministry self-education tools

Reading
We need to be reading. I've said enough about this and I will continue to say it. Leaders are readers and readers are leaders (yes, I used that...I know it's cliched, but it's so true).

I divide my intentional reading into 3 buckets.

Devotion
Scripture Study/Theology
Leadership

I did an entire episode on how I organize my reading notes.

How To Read for Maximum Effectiveness
[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/PP26.mp3" title="How To Reading for Maximum Effectiveness" artist="Productive Pastor 26" ]

I also wrote a blog post on using Trello for organizing your reading list.

Why You Need To Build a Trello Reading List (and how to do it).

Listening
If you aren't taking advantage of high-level audio content right now, you are missing out. We are in the middle of an audio renaissance and amazing leaders and creators are sharing their BEST STUFF for free on podcasts. I listen to shows about Christian Leadership, Culture, Story-Telling, Marketing and much more. I occasionally share my favorite podcast episodes on the blog.

1. Find a podcast you like. Ask the host/producer who they like?
My big secrets? Pat Flynn and Amy Porterfield. I've learned TONS from them, their networks and guests.

2. Take advantage of the “related” or “other’s like” option in the podcast application. That will help you out. Poke around on google. You’d be surprised how many amazing podcasts are out there you can learn from.

Coaching
Do you have a coach? I have one and I couldn't imagine ministry without my coach. It's a little expensive, but it is an investment. My friend Isaac Hopper wrote about his experience hiring a ministry coach here.

Why I Hired a Clergy Coach

I am also a big fan of coaching programs from The Rocket Company and Church Fuel. I've used both of them with tremendous success.

Conferencing
This is typically what most of us do. We might even get a budget to go to a conference a few times a year. I think conferences can be good, but we don't take advantage of them. Think more about the power of conferencing...using the times and locations as a way to network together, learn, share information and make new contacts that can help you in your ministry journey. Or maybe you get together a group of leaders together to share information more frequently. Start your own private FB group, a monthly skype call or anything else.

 

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_63_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Have you ever wanted to write a book? In this conversation episode, I sit down with my friend Tom Fuerst and told us the story of how he wrote his first book. Tom is a pastor at Christ Church in Memphis, Tennessee and is one of my favorite people.

You can find the shownotes at revchadbrooks.com/pp62

Here is what we talk about:

  • How Abingdon approached Tom.
  • The given specifics.
  • The timeline of writing and submitting a book.
  • If you want to write a book, you need to teach studies and preach sermons.
  • Learn to keep your notes and research. There is your book work right there.
  • Do double duty with the notes you take.
  • The Adam Hamilton method of writing a book.
  • Busy pastors maximize their time.
  • Do you have something special to say?
  • The power of vulnerability in telling stories and writing books. (and preaching sermons)
  • Let's tell a story about how absolutely wild scripture can get.
  • Don't be boring.
  • Write the introduction first by telling a story.
  • Tom doesn't use Evernote.
  • How Tom manuscripts his writing (and his sermons).
  • Write a book in a way that is actually Christian.
  • Don't neglect your family.
  • The timeline of actually writing.
  • Utilizing time off, contracts and taking a writing leave.
  • Why writing isn't Tom's thing.

Links

Tom on Twitter @Thom1st

Tom1st.com

Underdogs and Outsiders (Cokesbury)

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider.

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

 

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

Welcome back! I spent last week at the New Room Conference put on by my good friends at Seedbed. As always, I had a great time interviewing folks for the Threshing Floor and learning TONS. In this episode, I want to show you how to have a great conference experience.

Front Matter:

Earlier this month I build an AMAZING whiteboard at the house. If you follow me on instagram, you've probably already seen it! I did it using a melamine shower board from Home Depot. I also bought a few different marker packs from amazon. I finished it up by mounting it with screws on the wall and gave it a quick coating of Turtle Brand car wax. Super easy project and it provided TONS of killer benefits.

 

 

My big project for the day. $12 whiteboard. 6x4 and erases wonderfully.

A photo posted by Chad Brooks (@revchadbrooks) on Aug 31, 2016 at 5:17pm PDT

 

Thanks to MPWinky for the fantastic iTunes Review and Rating. If you haven't left one yet, you can do so right here. It helps out the podcast get to more and more folks.

How To Have A Great Conference Experience

A couple of years back, I wrote a few blog posts on enjoying and learning from conferences. They continually get traffic and folks always love them...so I wanted to combine the content for this episode of Productive Pastor.

How To Make The Most of a Conference
4 Ways To Have a Great Conference Experience (and not drive your team crazy)

Map Our Your Schedule
Do you know what you are going to do during the conference yet? Make sure to look at the calendar and schedule. Knowing how you want to spend your time beforehand is helpful. For bigger conferences, this can be a game-changer.

Find a Note-Taking Setup
I used Evernote heavily for the first time during a conference. I attended Exponential in 2010 (one of those HUGE conferences) and went to around 24 sessions in 3 days. I couldn't have held all of the information in without Evernote. Between folders, geo-tagging and importing pictures...Evernote is an absolute essential for conferences. 

Take Advantage of Relational moments
Between sessions, I typically like to socialize. Sometimes...I even end up skipping sessions in order to mingle a little more. Conferences are a great time to meet other ministry leaders or meet other folks who have influenced you. People tend to be pretty open at conferences...so you never know who you can rub shoulders with. I once made fun of myself to Alan Hirsch and Will Mancini when they were behind me in a food truck line. I was absolutely mortified. 

Define Your Takeaways
It's always tempting to come back from a conference and change everything. Want to know a secret? Our teams HATE this. Instead think of a few things you can internally set as goals and one thing you can share with a team member. 

When You Get Home
A few days after I get home I like to do a few things. I go through my notes, take snapshots of handwritten items and drawings, insert them into Evernote and generally clean my notes up. I also shoot a quick note to the folks I interacted with at the conference (I need to start taking notes of who folks are...I'm worried I'll leave out folks after last week). 

Back Matter

Episode 60 was about building a sermon engagement strategy. As a follow up-I wrote about the two main embedding strategies for audio content on Wordpress sites. 

Sermon Audio Embedding

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider

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

Direct download: PP61_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm CST

Do you want to keep folks focused on Sunday? You need a sermon engagement strategy...and I'm going to help you build one! It is a chance to make the sermon stretch past Sunday.

Front Matter
iTunes Review and Rating.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-10-47-20-am

Building a Sermon Engagement Strategy

Engagement is the magic word. Remember, this is about making the sermon stretch past Sunday. Engagement helps folks interact, share, invite and participate. Engaged folks will serve, give, grow and be part of the mission. Sermon engagement will help you and your ministry work on discipleship every day of the week.

Carey Niewhof on engagement:
The Fully Engaged Church Podcast: Carey Niewhof on Engagement
5 Reasons Engagement Will Drive Almost All Future Growth.
Why People Are Attending Church Less Often with Will Mancini (if you listen/read to any of these...make it this one. And check out the shownotes.)

So let's look at the 5 building blocks to help you with your sermon engagement strategy

The Sermon Preview
The sermon preview is a strategic blogpost designed to introduce people to your sermon. It isn't some wild concept, or quick version of the sermon. It's about marketing and it will serve as the anchor point for your whole content strategy for sermon engagement.

JR Forasteros sermon preview links

My older preview's (using Series Engine) hosted on my site.

Current preview's (using Smart Podcast Player) on the church website.

Images
We've all seen scripture and quote images on social media. Most folks are making them via a text app on their phone. I currently love typorama for making images. Canva.com is also great. I wrote this blog post a few years ago. It still has good information as far as theory and making a good image. Making Great Worship Graphics on the Cheap

Podcast
If you aren't podcasting your sermon, you need to start. Folks are engaging with podcasts all throughout the week. I'm working on more information further down the line on ministry podcasting, so keep your eyes open. 

Podcast Plugins:
Series Engine

Smart Podcast Player

Video
In the last few years, video has become more and more important. The awesome this is that anyone can do it. Your phone can put out great videos. 

Think about these types of videos:
Instagram stories/Snapchat
Quick teaser videos 
Full sermon video
Trailers

Here is the mic I use for phone videos.

Sermon Engagement Calendar
Curious what this looks like as part of a social media schedule?  Here is the sermon engagement calendar I made up. sermon-engagement-calendar. It has suggestions and best practices on it. 

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. This week I’ll be sending out some more additional information about doing a future focused audit and building your calendar.

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

Direct download: PP60_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47pm CST

Do you struggle with future-focus? In this episode, I share how I am tackling that EXACT problem. Stay tuned and learn about creating a future focused calendar.

Front Matter

I am almost done with the new sermon worksheet AND an accompanying eBook. This will be an incredible free resource I've been working on for the last few months. 

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Congregation is Inward-Focused. Carey Nieuwhof. 

iTunes review and rating. Thanks for leaving such incredible feedback! 

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How To Have Quality Momentum With a Future Focused Calendar

So what exactly is future focus? 

Future focus is the ability to pro-actively keep a schedule focused on leading your team, organization, ministry or church further toward the missional vision God has called you to. 

Intentionally investigating and creating future focus is all about creating awareness that leads to action. This isn't done outside of the context of mission and strategic vision. Over the last few months, I've increasingly frustrated personally with what my schedule has looked like. My realizations have come because of dissatisfaction with how I'm spending my weeks. I'm a big fan of auditing my schedule, so I decided to tweak what I was doing in order to learn what exactly has been going on (that I can control). 

Paper vs. Digital

Many of us keep a digital calendar on our computer or some other device. I couldn't live without my iPhone reminding me of what is coming up each day. But digital devices didn't have the ability to really look back and investigate effectiveness. I wanted a paper solution (since my daily work is usually done on paper anyway) to look back on from a week long view. I pulled out my week dominator planner I funded a few years ago on kickstarter. It's perfect. (if you want to see pictures of how I've been using this, make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. I'm doing a bigger write-up with pictures this week. It will be the only place you can grab it.)

How I Build

I decided 5 categories will keep up with the majority of my tasks.

  • Forward
  • Maintenance
  • Catch-Up
  • Family/House
  • External

If you want to build a future-focused calendar, make sure to give yourself 3-4 normative weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary (as much as you can help it)!

  1. Start with your appointments
  2. Add in blocked out time slots (I put my Monday admin block, Podcast recording, etc)
  3. Time for goals and medium level project work. 
  4. Start building in how these regulated tasks fit into your categories. 

I build my calendar with black ink. As tasks come up during the week, I change things up. Blue ink gets new appointments added in. Red ink tells me where something changed my schedule. 

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. This week I'll be sending out some more additional information about doing a future focused audit and building your calendar. 

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

 

 

 

Direct download: PP59_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm CST

So what makes a ministry leader unproductive? It might be a little different than you expect. Today we are talking about the habits of unproductive pastors. 

Front Matter

Our new interview format is going great! I've heard great things from folks with last week's episode with Dave Shrein. Make sure you check it out. This week I have spent PLENTY of time listening to Dan Carlin's podcast Hardcore History. His recent series entitled "King of Kings" is a fascinating look into the world of the ancient near east. For anyone who teaches the Bible, it would be a great resource to utilize. 

We have had some great iTunes feedback. I want to thank these reviewers for their support of the show. If you haven't, please review the Productive Pastor on iTunes. You can do so right here.

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7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors 

They Aren't Incarnated
Think about John 1:14 at what it means for Jesus to dwell among us. That means we have to be embodying the dwelling of Jesus in the places we are called to and the people we are called to lead. It can be tough sometimes, but not leading from the standpoint of love can be pretty gnarly. 

They Don't Know What They Are Doing
As leaders, we need future focus. This is about building a planned strategic schedule. I've done an entire episode on this idea. 

Building a Priority Based Schedule | PP3

They Can't Differentiate Between Urgent and Important
There is a huge difference between what's urgent and what's important. We can fill our life with the urgent and never touch the important! We have to develop the skillset to begin weeding out the unnecessary urgent. 

They Don't Delegate
Delegation is one of the hardest and most important skills for any ministry leader to develop. Full honesty...I'm terrible at it. Folks know it and even joke about it. The best resources on delegation come from Michael Hyatt. Here is a search query on all of his delegation content. Make sure to check out the podcast episodes. 

They Don't Know Their Personalities and Strengths
I am a big fan of two resources to help leaders understand the way they are wired. The DiSC test and Strengthfinders 2.0. Spend the money, invest in the tests and learn about how you will lead, relate and schedule better. Bonus points to those who also lead their teams through these resources. 

They Can't Keep The Future in Focus
I've been focusing energy on this lately. I've been personally asking myself the question about how much future work I am doing. Remember that maintenance can't maintain. It won't end well.

They Don't Have Routines 
I'm a big proponent of a morning routine. It is an absolute for me. You will find this is a regular habit for the folks with the highest degree of capacity and influence. 

 

Direct download: PP58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

I am excited about this episode of Productive Pastor. I am *attempting to start running weekly episodes. The odd weeks (outside of the older episode structure) will be interview and conversation focused. Our first episode with this new format will be Dave Shrein. Dave is a social entrepreneur who has led in the communication sector for years. I wanted to grab Dave and have a conversation about marketing in ministry and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset with Dave Shrein

  • Arizona vs. Louisiana
  • Church and Social Media
  • From worship leader to entrepreneur
  • Church technical arts and marketing
  • What has God wired you to do in order to communicate with specific people?
  • Marketing and Church
  • Love people and generate the ability to love them even more
  • God has created people in our community who are waiting to hear from us.
  • Making a bigger impact by acting like a 30,000 ft leader.
  • God using everything He has done in your life to prepare you for this new move
  • The Church world has a lot to learn and a lot to redeem
  • The Mindset of an Entrepreneur
  • Clouds and Dirt
  • The Rhythm of going up and going down
  • Visioning and Executing
  • The power of resourcefulness
  • The audacity that Jesus is going to do it
  • Doing the chores
  • Lean upon the people with the gifts and resources that you don't
  • Be aware of what is out there
  • What does it mean to have unique gifts and abilities?

Mentions:

Jon Acuff's Books

Carey Nieuwhof | Why We Need More Entrepreneurial Church Leaders, Not More Shepards 

Find out more from Dave at:

DaveShrein.com

getmoredonenow.com

Church Marketing Podcast

@daveshrein

Direct download: PP57.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome back to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I share some amazing workflow templates I've built out and use constantly in Evernote

Front Matter
How To Find Your Most Productive Hours. Trello Blog

I read this a couple of weeks back and I was amazed. It gave such a great pathway to creating an experimentation plan to learn your most productive hours and days. You need to check this out. 

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A big thanks to our iTunes Reviewers for this episode. If you want to hear your name on the podcast, just leave a rating and review. You can do so right here. 

Organizing Workflow Templates in Evernote.

I'm a big fan of templates AND Evernote. You can hear more about them in these two episodes of Productive Pastor

Up Your Productivity With Templates. Productive Pastor 6

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Managing Your Week With Evernote. Productive Pastor 49

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I love building out workflow's inside Evernote because of these three things

Repetition Builds Response

  • It gets in your brain
  • The workflow becomes a rhythm

Having Effectiveness Systematized is Worth It

  • Saves time
  • Let's you keep more balls in the air (and not drop the ones you are responsible for)
  • It can make handing tasks off easier

Creativity

  • Just working through it keeps your mind clearer
  • Learn other ways to organize and clean up things
  • The boundaries invite expression. 

Shared Evernote Workflows/Templates

Sermon Sheet
Sermon Production Checklist
Weekly Tasks Blank (my weekly list)
Contact Sheet
Journal Sheet
Bible reading
1000 Questions to Ask of the Text (episode 2)
Preaching Rocket and it's 4 questions
Facebook Contact Workflow (Hacking Facebook Lists for Ministry Effectiveness)
Event Evaluation

 

Back Matter

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

If you want more of my writing and other free content, you can subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider List.

Direct download: PP56_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Do you struggle with Bible reading? Even folks in ministry have problems with a Bible reading routine. No matter what your 9-5 is, I want to help you out in this episode of Productive Pastor.

Front Matter
I’ve spent the last week on vacation. It was AMAZING. Many of my listeners know my Dad is also a pastor. We spent the week talking and reflecting about how hard vacations can be in ministry. There are some great new resources out about vacationing.

Michael Hyatt on How To Vacation Like A Pro

Carey Nieuwhof on Why Driven People Suck at Vacations (and 5 Ways To Fix it). 

Awesome Vacations and Exactly How to Make Them Work

 

 Building a Bible Reading Routine

 

Let’s be honest. How well do you do with daily Bible reading? Yes. Even in ministry some of us stink at it. My own journey was all over the place until I found the 90-day bible plan. You can check out Why I Read the Bible Every 90 Days for a little more information. But I still felt like I stunk at it. Stuff just was janky…and I felt like I had holes missing. I needed a better bible reading routine

So a few years ago I began modifying a reading strategy I learned from Mike Slaughter of Gingumsburg Church. I want to share this with you.

Why A Bible Reading Routine Makes Sense

  • It helps you collect your thoughts
  • Lets you realize when, where and how you are reading
  • You realize when you are behind, not reading or hitting pretty heavy seasons
  • It’s about the 20 mile march.

Why I Read Systematically

  • To gain greater clarity of the Biblical Narrative
  • Because I love and function inside of a Biblical Theological framework
  • I want to look back on a life of study and reading
  • It helps me dig deep into what I might not regularly.

My Own Personal Bible Reading Routine

I use a pretty standard pattern. Every morning, after my 90-day read, I pull out my notebook and I make a quick outline. My paper is simply divided up into Date, Passage, and two larger section. The first is simply titled “observations” and I use it to note whatever I observe. Remember, this is done in rhythm with a larger read, so my observations are sometimes running thoughts. The second section is for application. I tend to ask myself two different questions, “What questions is this making me ask?” and “What do I need to do in order to respond?”. This is a pretty simple pattern for me. Sometimes my read takes 15 minutes and sometimes I catch myself doing around 45 minutes.

DOWNLOAD: basic bible reading sheet

 

Back Matter

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

If you want more of my writing and other free content, you can subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider List.

Direct download: PP55_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Are you forgetful? I know I am. This episode focuses on overcoming forgetfulness. We dig a little into what makes us forgetful and how we can get around AND correct it. 

Front Matter

Thanks for engaging so much on social media! The Productive Pastor is getting BIGGER AND BIGGER each week. You can connect with me at @revchadbrooks on all social media networks. 

Free resources
Folks have been asking about updates for my sermon worksheet and other sermon content. The good news is I am entering into the final stages of revision on updated sheet and content package. If you want to find out more about the sheet, get it for free AND be part of the early list for Sermons That Have Reach, just subscribe to the early-bird list here

I've been writing more focused productivity content through my Insider list. If you want these articles before anyone else gets them, you can sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider list here. I'll shoot you my daily planning sheet for signing up. 

iTunes Review and Rating
Whenever anyone reviews and rates the Productive Pastor on iTunes it is HUGE. I love to thank the folks who review and rate each episode. If you haven't, you can review and rate right here. A big thanks to Pastordow this episode. 

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Overcoming Forgetfulness

Just like I said in the episode, and I'll say it again here, I am incredibly forgetful.  need to get it under control. So I started doing some research into the causes of forgetfulness and how to overcome it. 

7 Common Causes for Forgetfulness- Harvard Health
This article gives several reasons, but most of the research focused on medication and a few other causes that didn't make much sense for me. 

What Causes Forgetfulness in Young People? 7 reasons you keep losing your keys explained. - Bustle
This really opened up my eyes. What I read was so important for folks in ministry. We need to realize the schedule many of us keep is incredibly unhealthy and contributes to a lack of productivity and a heightened amount of forgetfulness. 

Overcoming Forgetfulness part 1: Health

  • We need to realize our capacity for life, stress and information
  • We need to learn when we reach capacity.
  • We begin creating and preserving workspace, time and emotional energy. 
  • We begin building the ability to eliminate decisions. 

Always Wear the Same Suit: Obama's Presidency Productivity Secrets- Fast Company

Overcoming Forgetfulness part 2: Reminders and Rhythms

  • Learn to build a rhythmic schedule. Focus on your weeks.
  • Put stuff in the way. Literally.
  • Build cognitive and physical inbox and outbox systems. Beginners? Look at Bullet Journaling.

 

Direct download: PP54_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm CST

Welcome back! In this episode, we are talking about 5 tasks to gain serious traction. I'm STOKED to share them with you!

Front Matter

  1. Where are you learning right now?
    For many folks, the summer is a time to take things a little slower, relax and focus (I know...the two don't necessarily go together). I want to hear WHERE you are learning things this summer. Tweet to me at @revchadbrooks to let me know. 
  2. 5 Podcast Episodes. 
    I'm curating a new list of my FAVORITE podcast episodes. I release it every Friday, so make sure you check it out to keep up with some really interesting podcasts from across the world. Check out the first post here
  3. Ratings and Reviews. 
    I want to make a shout out here to jmcanally. Thanks for the review and rating on iTunes. 

Five (first thing) Tasks to Gain Serious Traction

What exactly is traction?
Traction gives you the footing you need to move forward in a slippery or uphill situation. These are all about gaining serious traction in a few quick, intentional moves. 

  1. Check facebook for birthdays and then text the person. 
    Everyone hits up facebook for the birthday greeting. Go the extra mile and text the person. They will love it. 
  2. Write 1 person (from your ministry) a day. Out of the blue. 
    Handwritten notes are POWERFUL. Leverage this every single day. Write someone each day just because. Tell them how you appreciate them. 
  3. Text 5 families or persons and let them know you are praying for them. 
    I keep a running prayer notebook. I wrote about how and why I do it here. I let 5 different groups of people know a day I am praying for them (and make sure you actually pray for them). 
  4. Tackle the biggest task on your list. 
    Remember. This is all about traction. By now, you should be rearing and ready to go. Take care of the biggest and most important thing first. 
  5. Make tomorrow's list (at the end of your work day). 
    The very last task of the day should be creating your list for the next. Keep it short, simple and focused. 

 

Direct download: PP53_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Are you good at procrastinating? I'm a champ. In this episode, I am going to tell you what I have learned about avoiding and attacking procrastination. So let's jump straight in. 

Avoiding and Attacking Procrastination

The first step to understanding the motivations behind procrastination is realizing it lives first in the realm of fear. Fear is an absolutely catastrophic element of life. When we delve into the realities of what we are scared of, we begin understanding the motivations behind why we individually procrastinate. 

By continuing to allow fear to reign in life, we will begin leading from the perspective of fear. When that happens, we will be tied to bad leadership practices and a recipe for a serious "not getting things done" problem. 

Avoiding Procrastination

No one leads well out of the shalom zone. 
We need to get serious about learning what puts us at peace. This is about habits that rule us. 

Productive Pastor 5: A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath

Build rhythms to help you stay relaxed and focused.
How are you building your time to be focused when you need to be and relaxed when you need a break? 

Organize your work time to plow through trouble and focus on fun. 
This is pretty basic Productive Pastor stuff. The time you spend doing things really matters. Know when you work the best and make sure that time is carved out. 

Attacking Procrastination

Build your schedule focused on goals and effectiveness. 
We all say we have priorities. But our schedule really tells us what matters. When we never have time for the most important things we will never get them done. Are you intentionally placing time in your week to hit your goals? Make sure that happens. 

Learn to ask yourself "What's at Stake?"
This is a huge one for me. It will almost always get my butt back in gear. People who avoid procrastination are future focused. They realize what's at stake and make sure it happens. 

Break things up into approachable goals.
The best example I can think of this is the space race. I spent time reading this week all through Wikipedia and realize every single mission and a purpose and they all contributed to the larger goal of putting a human on the moon. Seriously. Do you realize how daunting this had to have been? If you are hitting a wall, break it up into easy chunks. 

Thanks for listening and I hope this prepares you to avoid and attack procrastination. 

Articles Mentioned

Fear of Failure: Psychology Today 

Why you procrastinate, and how to stop it. Now. | Forbes

15 practices of leaders who lead by fear | Brian Dodd 

 

Direct download: pp52_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Do you use systems? When I talk about systems do you struggle to understand what it's like to build and implement them? In this episode we are going to talk about developing systems that work. 

Front Matter
Don't miss out on the 50% sale the Rocket Company is doing right now for Giving Rocket. Their content has been amazing lately. I've LOVED the free content they've been giving away around the sale. 

I've been digging getting tagged in conversations on facebook about Productive Pastor. Keep it coming!

Also, a big thanks to Country Parson Hugh for the iTunes review and rating. 

Developing Systems that Work

1. Decide.
What behaviors do we need/want?

So what’s the difference between a good system, a bad system and an effective system? An effective system is one intentionally designed for achieving specific outcomes. Getting a good idea of your current situation and your (intended) future situation is an important step. 

What environments/behaviors/actions can we control to better improve a specific situation? I recommend doing this as a team and just starting to discover the holes and to what depth they go to in your ministry? 
 
2. Decide
What will make this system effective?

At this point, the job of you and your team is deciding what will actually make this system work well. You ask questions of culture and context at this point. You realize how simply moving things around might seriously change things. 
 
3. Delegate
Who and how will we run this system?
 
Remember, systems are about creating a replicative pattern for folks to follow you as they join in ministry leadership. Developing how the system will be implemented will affect who you get to run this system. For us, external systems are usually run on paper and in person and internal systems take advantage of digital technology. 
 
The easiest (and most effective) system most churches need to build is a visitor follow-up system. So gather your team and make a system! Make sure to let me know about it. 
 
 

 

 

Direct download: PP51mp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to the 50th Episode of Productive Pastor! I am going to help you learn how to discern big goals in this episode...but until then, there is even more awesome stuff I want to share with you.

 

  1. Productive Music.
    Lately, I have been fascinated with the music people use to get into a productive zone. I've shared a few articles on the Productive Pastor Facebook page. Share with me what music keeps you in a productive mindset on twitter. I'm @revchadbooks.
  2. iTunes Review and Ratings. 
    We've had two great reviews over the last couple of weeks. A big thanks to these listeners! You can leave one right here.
  3.  Giving Rocket May special.
    So my friends at The Rocket Company are giving away some great (FREE) training this month AND heavily discounting Giving Rocket, one of their core coaching programs. I have spent over 1k on Giving Rocket and it is absolutely worth every penny. If you want to be part of this special training, subscribe to my insider list right here. I give away my daily worksheet through the list AND you will have quick access to these amazing videos.
  4. How To Discern Big Goals

    I hear from folks constantly needing help about goals. Some people need helping creating systems and checklists and others have a tough time actually filtering what is worth being a goal. Let me take you through three movements of  how to discern big goals.

    1. Questions.
      Think about these things. Here are the first questions I use...and I'm sure you can come up with more.
    • What would radically change things?
    • What holes exist currently?
    • What problems repeatedly arise (handle this proactively)
    • What would give us a new "normal"?

          2. Dreams
         
    Take the time to think about what could be. Think about what a new future reality could look like. 

    •  What would the environment of completing this goal look like?
    • What would be different?
    • How would it be different?

         This is the space where you think about what manipulating and changing parameters could do. 

           3. Implementation
           Now begin putting these things together. I'm a big fan of sitting down and taking a massive amount of notes. Don't        worry about building it into systems and pathways yet. 

    • Step your goal back. 
    • Begin creating steps
    • Find mini-goals
    • Discern if your main goal is way too big. How can you transform this into a reachable win?
    • What are the bottlenecks in your way? How can you fix them?
    • What do you need to do to cause the dreams to happen.

    Mentioned and Recommended Episodes

    Lists and Bottlenecks

    Digging yourself out of a hole

    Project Management

    Rich Birch on Project Management

Direct download: PP50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm CST

Did you know you can use Evernote to order and organize your week? I use Evernote for nearly everything and the two tasks that I can't imagine NOT using it is ordering my week and ordering my contact list. 

Front Matter

iTunes Reviews. THANKS!!!
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Productive Pastor in Google Play Store.

Managing Your Week in Evernote

I use Evernote to manage my daily repeatable tasks. I make mention of several previous episodes and I will link them in the bottom of the shownotes. For me, Evernote is an amazing tool to keep up with the small tasks I do every week on the same exact same day. I am always curating my weekly work template for the best effective use of my time, energy and mind space. This is what I am currently using my focus days for.  

Monday -> AM. Sabbath. PM. Visitor Contact, Team Communication, Basic Administration and Sermon Preparation.
Tuesday -> AM. Administration. PM. Long Range Planning and High Impact Projects. Staff Meeting
Wednesday -> AM. Sermon Preparation. PM. Meeting with People.
Thursday -> AM Sermon Preparation. PM. Writing and Medium Projects
Friday -> Sermon Preparation. PM. Projects and People

So each day gets a checklist of repeatable tasks. Honestly, these lists get pretty sparse as the week goes on. I try to reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for these type of tasks. 

I also use Evernote to keep up with one of my main goals. I try to stay in contact with 2-3 new people a day and 5-7 existing church folks a day. On Monday, during my weekly planning session, I build a list of the people I am going to make contact with during the week. For the ones that get a phone call (around 5 a day), I put their name and phone number into my weekly note. That way, I don't have to hunt for the number. I just click on it inside Evernote on my phone. It makes the call and I can go down my list. This sounds super simple...but it is SO EFFECTIVE. 

Mentioned Episodes: 

PP45| Maximizing Ministry With Evernote. 

PP3 | Building a Priority Based Schedule

PP6 | Up Your Productivity With Templates

PP37 | How Batching Rocks Your World

 

Direct download: DR0000_0421_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm CST

Do you struggle with how to contact, assimilate and lead visitors into part of your church? This episode is ALL ABOUT building guest systems in your church. I sit down with my friend Rev. Allison Sauls. Allison isn't a normal guest, but she leads Foundry with me! We break down the systems we have built over the last 9 months in starting a new church and the lessons we have learned.

Front Matter

From the Vault:
Building a Priority Based Schedule| Episode 3

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/Episode_3.mp3" title="Building a Priority Based Schedule" artist="Productive Pastor 3" ]

JD Walt and Sabbath | Episode 5

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/Episode_005.mp3" title="A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath" artist="Productive Pastor 5" ]

Giving Rocket: Get ready for their 50% off sale THIS MAY. Trust me. This is one of the best resources and coaching products I have ever purchased.

 

Build Guest Systems

The Benefit of Systems
Systems are a repeatable progression of tasks. It's all about a mindset.

Episode 19: Michael Lukaszewski on Systems

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/PP19_mixdown2.mp3" title="Michael Lukaszewski on Systems" artist="Productive Pastor 19" ]

Assimilation Systems

Our larger framework is based all around collecting guest information. We do this in two ways.

  1. We have a great connection card. This is the only handout we ever give people. Connection Card Back Connection Card Front (Download links)
  2. We can collect families names based off of kids check-in. This is an amazing tool most folks don't utilize.
  3. We give away a tumblr/mug. It depends on the season, but folks absolutely love getting a gift like this.

Check out my post on using Trello to streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello for more details.

Email Systems

We use aweber.com. I love it. To use an email system, you have to have a paid account somewhere. Mailchimp charges a few dollars for this, but I have been using aweber for a pretty long time and I'm familiar with it. One of the best explanations of using an email series for guest systems is from Bobby Williams. He was a guest on Rich Birch's Unsemianry podcast and explained how his church used them.

Facebook Systems

I've outlined my strategy for using Facebook lists and leveraging them for ministry here.

1st time Giving

I'm a big fan of The Rocket Company's What Happens When You Give booklet. You can purchase it here.

Direct download: PP49_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm CST

In this episode of The Productive Pastor we talk about having a proactive vs. reactive strategy for ministry. One of the dangers of a non-strategic approach to ministry is simply spending all day reacting to emergencies, facilities, office issues and a multiplicity of other things (much less the actual work of ministry, which is about response).

Front Matter

Trello Week

  1. Productive Pastor 46 | Organizing Ministry with Trello
  2. Why You Need To Build a Trello Reading List (and how to do it). 
  3. Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello. 
  4. Creating a Collaborative Sermonflow.

iTunes Review and Ratings

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.58.15 PM

Proactive vs. Reactive Ministry

Beginning to plan ministry in a proactive way is all about a mind shift. We individually decide to lead and pastor from a proactive point of view. We don't do this to get out of reactive situation, but to allow ourselves the absolute amount of margin we need for when we DO need to react to emergency situations. This point of view is the biggest difference (I feel) between healthy, vital ministries and struggling and declining churches. If you feel you can necessarily lead others proactively right now, begin leading yourself proactively.

I constantly ask myself if I am leading from a proactive or a reactive position. Understanding this proactive vs. reactive shift is tremendously important and one of the key tasks I am always checking myself for.

What does this change?

  • simply waiting for ministry to happen
  • always running ragged
  • not having the ability to think ahead

What do we learn?

  • We learn to prioritize
  • We learn to build a schedule

Eugene Peterson, The Pastor. (amazon link)
The Importance of Scheduling (productivitist)

How to we begin a proactive ministry

  • We make the decision
  • We begin the process of goal scheduling
  • We schedule time for forward momentum

I hope this episode has been helpful. Make sure to interact on social at @revchadbrooks and use the hashtag #productivepastor.

Direct download: PP47_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Over the last 6 months I have finally found the project management tool I've been looking for for YEARS! Trello is perfect for ministry.

I was looking for a project management solution that could accomplish these tasks and requirements.

  • Worked well for visual thinkers
  • Free (or low cost)
  • allowed for multiple users (high degree of collaboration)
  • easy to move items around
  • crazy flexible
  • high degree of "hackability"

After doing some research (and seeing some instagram posts), I realized Trello was probably the perfect tool for mine and my teams needs. 

Organizing Ministry with Trello

I am currently using Trello for many tasks. Here is a breakdown of 4 of them. 

Sermon Series Preparation
Every sermon series at our church has a Trello board. We use the "copy board" feature as a template and start with a standing key of questions. Using Trello in this manner, our entire team has a map of where the sermon preparation is at, language we can use for other ministries and the different passages the preacher is choosing to use. I attach my own research note from Evernote in an individual card if someone wants to see more information. 

New Member Assimilation
At Foundry, we struggled to keep track of multiple 1st, 2nd and continuing guests. We built an intentional contact system, but struggled to implement it without access to a church database. After seeing another church utilize Trello for assimilation, we built the perfect system for Foundry. It utilizes a checklist feature available in Trello (so we are constantly re-making the checklist). Because cards are moveable, when someone has attended the 2nd time...they get moved into the 2nd time column. We then are able to consistently move folks through our system and stay in great communication with them. 

Master Calendar
We didn't want to keep a gigantic (and public) master calendar. Instead, each month has a column in Trello and each even it's own card. We are then able subscribe in iCal or Outlook to have each event inside our personal calendars. 

Social Media Schedule
I used to keep a paper social calendar, but Trello provides a great way to allow multiple people to work on the same schedule. 

 

Direct download: PP46_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm CST

Do you use Evernote? If you don't, this episode is all about maximizing ministry with Evernote.

It's no secret how much I think Evernote is a crucial ministry tool. I have spoke about it quite often, but have never devoted a full episode to this AMAZING app.

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/pp45.mp3" title="Maximizing Ministry with Evernote" artist="Productive Pastor 45" ]

Maximizing Ministry With Evernote

Starting Evernote

The first suggestion I always make is to download the (free) desktop Evernote app. This makes it substantially easier to use. Then, get your evernote email address and find a clipper app for your browser. This biggest secret is to simply USE Evernote.

How I use Evernote
I am dropping information into Evernote constantly.

  • If I need to remember more than 1 time.
  • I save .pdf's and pictures
  • checklists and templates
  • long range documents

5 Ways to use Evernote for maximizing ministry.

  1. Staff Meetings
    I set up a note with the word "staff meeting" and the date in the title. I then take notes as normal. Whatever I need to drop into the note I can, urls, documents or just notes. 
  2. Sermon Planning
    This is where I get ALL UP IN Evernote. I start a notebook with the sermon series. Every sermon gets a note and then there is a random catchall for the series. I am constantly dropping things in these folders. It helps me built up a cohesive library for my preaching.
  3. One on Ones
    They can be discipleship meetings or meetings with staff. I simply use the persons name as a note and date it. Whatever I need to make note of, to remember or refer back to...it's there.
  4. Reading Notes
    I did an entire episode (26) about how I keep my reading notes. I take some time after I've finished a book to enter my notes. There is also a way to get kindle highlights into Evernote. 
  5. Group Documents
    I know other people use google docs for this sort of work, but Evernote works better for me BECAUSE YOU CAN SEARCH IT. Sorry for the screaming. But it has saved my neck more times than I can imagine. 
Direct download: pp45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm CST

I am a HUGE notebook fan. This shouldn't be a secret to my friends and regular listeners. If you want to keep up more with my notebookery...you can get a glimpse at instagram.com/revchadbrooks. So in this episode I am going to be sharing with you WHY you need to be keeping a notebook, some of the reasons I do and how you can set up your notebook as a modular time/project tracker.

First-I want to thank Brett Byford for his awesome review/rating in iTunes.

 

 

 

Why You Need To Keep A Notebook

My notebook journey has been wild. It all started out with my trying to keep up with life and ministry. I have gone through plenty of different types of notebooks. Here are some of my favorites.

Moleskine (amazon link)
Like many people, Moleskine provided the entry point into keeping a notebook. I used their paperback versions and the soft covers for years. Ultimately, they fell apart quicker than I could use them.

Rhodia (amazon link)
Rhodia makes some great notebooks. The paper is excellent and they have around 59,987 sizes. I use them for quick jots around the house and for sketching out larger things. I don't keep up with them afterwards, just tear the sheets out and throw them away.

Muji (amazon link)
I use this specific size and paper type. They make other options, this is what works for me.

I'm also a big fan of Field Notes Brand, Seedthoughts from Seedbed and Leuchtturm1917.

Why keep a notebook?

  • to capture information
  • you can build a blank slate for your day and calendar
  • keeps information in front of you
  • keeps you present (be THE PERSON who is always taking notes! Trust me on this one).

Here is my blank notebook page.

File Feb 14, 6 38 23 PM

Related Links:

Why I Keep A Prayer Notebook
Why Pastors Need to be (Information) Hoarders. 

 

Direct download: pp44_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm CST

Welcome back to the Productive Pastor. We have a great episode in store for you today.

Have you ever found yourself in a hole or a slump? The good news is digging yourself out of a hole is easier than you think. It's about awareness and  intentionality. We are going to dive headfirst into the issue and hopefully finish standing on solid ground.

 

Digging Yourself Out Of A Hole

Confront the Spiritual Issue.
The more I think about anxiety, fear, procrastination and depression...the more I see a link between our schedules and our spiritual life. When we get into a shaky place, we lose our sense of purpose and our understanding of call. Sit down, hit up some prayer and begin discerning what the bigger issues are that brought you to this place.

G.T.D Bankruptcy. 
I am a big fan of David Allen's classic Getting Things Done. You might say it started it all! David Allen talks about taking a schedule bankruptcy. This is when you mark off a day or so and just build an account of everything that is outstanding. Once you are aware...pick the things you can just throw away and quit worrying about. Chances are, the damage is already done from putting it off.

Organize Top Priorities
What are the things you absolutely need to get in place in order to dig yourself out of a hole?

  • Are you about to get fired or lose major influence?
    Not really (maybe really?). What are the bottlenecks that are causing the anxiety. It can be a major project or just something you have been putting off. You need to get these done. Line out the projects and attack them.Related Episode: How To Destroy a Massive To Do List

  • What are the regular things that need to happen?
    Regular, repeating tasks are key. They make you feel great to get checked off. I utilize a template system in Evernote to organize my repeating tasks.Related Episode: Up Your Productivity With Templates

  • Fill in what's restful. Don't discount the necessity to take rest in order to refuel and replenish yourself. You absolutely need to be doing these things.

Preventative Care

  • Pomodoro-I use the Tomato Timer web app.
  • Strategically plan your week.
  • Learn to know what matters most.
Direct download: PP43_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm CST

This episode I sit down my friend Isaac Hopper and we have a conversation about productivity AND parenting. Tons of listeners have asked for a conversation like this. Isaac is a United Methodist Pastor who leads a church, leads a family and is finishing a PhD in England while living in Indiana. I would say Isaac has practical productivity down. 

Isaac and I talk about a few things such as; learning productivity, how to office from home and what it means to be present with your family and lead them well. 

Isaac writes at isaachopper.com. His recent posts mentioned are;

Ministry Blogs and Podcasts You Should Follow
Why I Hired a Clergy Coach

Direct download: PP42_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24am CST

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

On this episode of The Productive Pastor I interview Rich Birch, of Unseminary.com and Liquid Church. Rich is a great pastor, leader and project manager. 

The List
Your Not Going Fast Enough

How to Be an Effective Road Warrior

Tomorrow Tonight: The Importance of Pre-Planning

Rich Birch on Project Management

Rich and I talk about project management and what it looks like for church leadership to learn about project management and why it is vital to ministry. 

Our conversation focuses around 3 questions. 

1. What is your organizational sweet spot?

2. What do ministry leaders need to not just understand, but rock project management?

3. How can a leader get their feet wet with project management?

We talked about these books to help people begin to rock project management.

Getting Things Done: David Allen

The Four Hour Work Week: Tim Ferris

The E-Myth: Michael Gerber

Rich also shares about his passion for excellent announcements in worship and offers the Productive Pastor community a great free resource. You can grab it at unseminary.com/chad

Check out Rich at unseminary.com and follow him on twitter @richbirch. Make sure to listen to his podcast. It consistently is one of my ministry favorites. 

Confession Time

Over the last few weeks you might have missed the Productive Pastor Podcast (at least I hope you did). Last week I shared this email with the folks signed up for the insider list. What I realized is I had lost my motivation, the "why", of why this podcast matters tremendously to me. 

As I was contemplating this I read a blog post entitled "How I Went from Mad to Motivated". The quote that stuck out the most to me was this...

“Once I woke up from that false perspective – the perspective that the other stuff was more of a distraction at the time than anything else – I got mad at myself. Then I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to get back on the horse - the right horse. I was motivated."

So I did what I normally do. I made a list. I made a list of why many different things mattered to me. I realized many things I really care about had dropped off the map. 

So the podcast will be back. In January. With amazing new stuff and a great interview to kick off the new season. In the interim I will be producing some great new additions to the Productive Pastor community. 

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: PP25_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to Project Management month. This month we are going to focus all of the productive pastor content on project management. I have some great resources and interviews lined up.

The List:

10 Indicators You Have No Margin in Life: Charles Stone
Do you struggle with margin or need a wake-up call? This list of ten helps each of us self-diagnosis where we are on the margin scale.

The 5 Zeros You Should Achieve Every Day To Have Peace Of Mind: Timo Kiander
Many of us are familiar with the concept of inbox zero. In this blog post, Timo takes it a step further and shares what it looks like to really clean off your slate every day.

The Challenge of Setting Multiple Goals at Once (and how to actually do it): Belle Beth Cooper
Do you ever try to start 4 things at the same time. Usually I end up failing miserable when I do this. Here is why that happens and how to fix it.

Two Things Most People Miss The Most That Matter The Most

As we dig into Project Management 101, there are two things we really need to talk about. I strongly feel if anyone can get these two done well (or at least decent), they will have made much more headway than the average person.

1. Pre-Plan
The planning we do at the very first part of the project matters. It helps us define three things; the project, the goals and the timeline. To really do this well, I find it helps to always work through the same set of questions. Here is a great worksheet for you to use. You can download it free here.

The first secret to great project management is focusing on the clarity you will need to drive you throughout the project.

PP003: Project Mangagement Pre-Sheet by Chad Brooks

2. Brainstorm
Where clarity and detail matters in the first step, this is the step to go hog wild. I use post-its or notecards and write down every single thing that comes to mind. This isn't the place to edit or restrain yourself. Just get down all of the ideas you have. Once you are at a stopping point, you can then use the items you came up with to help build a timeline.

Next Episode
On the next episode I interview Rich Birch, of unSeminary.com and the unSeminary podcast. I had a great time talking with him and it will be a great episode to learn from.

Mentioned:
Why I Love Worksheets (and how I design them).

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: pp24v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Ok listeners. It's time to get into the big stuff. Not the easy, entry level time management, but the stuff of practitioners and productivity evangelists. This episode is about how to lose a work week and not lose your sanity. From time to time we all have to do it. The very fear of this is probably one of the reasons people in ministry don't sabbath well. We are scared to be out of town because of all the work we might get behind on.

The List

Life Hacks of the Rich and Famous: Journl
I especially love the idea of rhythm and routine. It helps out tremendously when you are willing to delegate the tiny decisions to the same thing, habit or practice.

The New Habit Challenge: Make a Better To Do List: Rachel Gillett
This is a great blog post. Just making a to do list isn't enough. Here is how to make the list actually work for you. I really like the idea of knocking out what you absolutely hate-but then building the momentum to get through the day.

How To Lose a Week (and not lose it all)

1. Know what you do.
This is wear a routine of weekly reviews plus a great template practice comes in handy. You can easily look at what you are regularly getting done so you can plan out your attack.

2. What can you NOT do?
Everyone has those tasks they think are absolutely essential. Let's seriously think how many of those can't get dropped or put off for the next week.

3. What can YOU not do?
This is a perfect time to start delegating. Try to hand off a task to someone just to see how well it goes. You might be able to teach them something as well as teach yourself something.

4. What can you work ahead on?
Having a production calendar and a preaching calendar are essential. When you know for a few weeks you are going out of town you can slowly work towards creating some time margin.

5. Can you squeeze in a little time while you are gone?
What about an hour in the morning or missing a session of the conference. If you plan to give yourself a brief moment of time you can take care of the absolute essentials or put out any fires.

6. Plan your reentry.
Think about what your first day might look like. Give yourself the space to actually accomplish what absolutely needs to get done that first day back.

Resources Mentioned:
The Four Hour Work Week
The War of Art

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: PP23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Have you ever almost shut down from the stress of loosing control of your to-do list? Don't lie. You have. We all have.

In this episode of The Productive Pastor I share the 5 ways you can destroy a massive to-do list and set yourself up for future productivity success.

The List

1. 1 Big and Three Medium: John Zeratsky
I found this tweet back in July. It caused an interesting discussion as well as got my mind working. I have started doing this the last few weeks. This is a simple life hack.

2. 7 Things You Can Do on Friday to Make Monday Awesome: Kevin Daum
My wife always clears her desk at the end of a workday. On Friday, she even does more. It all goes into making Monday better. Kevin gives 7 great tips for you to integrate into your workweek to make next week better.

3. Achieve Your Goals by Focusing on Critical Activities: Harry Che
What is absolutely critical for you to do today? Most of us can't answer that question. The secret sauce to hitting goals is to know what you need to do.

How To Destroy A Massive To-Do List

1. Collect it.
These thing are sitting in your head and other places taking up emotional energy. Carve out some time and just get everything on paper. I prefer post-it notes and a sharpie. David Allen's classic Getting Things Done talks about the benefit of the capture process.

2. Get it all in the same place.
Once you have a giant stack of post-it's, start writing them down. You can do this in a digital document, but I prefer paper (it makes the next step easier). Don't try to organize just yet.

3. Filter out what can die.
What has been dropped for so long the damage has already been done? What really doesn't matter? What doesn't move things forward and might have little to no benefit?

Let them die.

4. Categorize and rank importance.
What items on your list go together? Home, work, school, personal...there will be plenty. You will most likely even have some sub categories. I generally do this first level with a highlighter.

Once you have them grouped, start ranking them by importance. I prefer the Eisenhower Method. Start marking what is important and urgent. Those are your mission critical tasks.

5. What is yours alone and what can be delegated?
Delegation is a skill I am working on (I am currently between horrible and bad). Michael Hyatt's work on delegation is the best I know of.

Toolbox
Last week my Dad emailed me. He is a great pastor and has been featured on the show before. He gave me advice he first heard from Bill Hybels. He told me "when your stress levels are high, up your solitude and exercise." Let me tell you how much this has helped me the last few weeks!

Direct download: pp22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

I have been waiting for this episode for months! I sit down with John Chandler, host and producer of the Sermonsmith podcast and learn from him. John interviews a different preacher on each episode and it is a wealth of knowledge about the craft of sermon preparation.

The List:
How I Prepare for Expository Bible Study or Preaching: Jeremy SarborJeremy is a listener and podcaster of his own. He runs a great blog and he shared this post with me. It is well worth your reading.

Create a Weekly Attack Plan: Art of Manliness
I came across this post in my feed reader one day. It is a great look at how one person handles an immense amount of creative responsibility as well as life in general.

Sermonsmith and John Chandler

John and I had a great conversation. I asked him these 5 questions.

1. What motivated you to start a podcast all about sermon preparation?
2. What has been the biggest common denominator in your interviews?
3. What was the most surprising thing?
4. What have you incorporated in your preparation and enjoyed the most?
5. What seems to be the usual pattern of preparation for your guests?

We had a great conversation and I hope you both enjoy it and check out Sermonsmith.

Mentioned
Sermonsmith.com

You can check out the archived Productive Pastor Insider where I shared my sermon workflow here.

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: pp21_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to sermon preparation month!

In August I am focusing both episodes on sermon preparation. This is the topic I have been hearing about the most and I am want to share some great content with you.

The List:

For a More Ordered Life, Organize like a chef. Dan Charnas
In the world of cooking, the mise-en-place is a near sacred technique of chefs and line cooks of preparation. In this NPR article and sound bite, Dan shares how we can each incorporate these ideas into our own organization.

5 Reasons to take an Extended Preaching Break: Bobby Williams
Bobby shares his journey of over-preaching and the benefit of taking extended breaks from preaching at his church.

Using Evernote in Message Preparation: Bobby Wiliiams
Besides a Moleskine notebook, evernote is the tool I have heard more preachers refer to using. I use Evernote like crazy. Bobby shares how he sets up and uses Evernote to aid in his message preparation. This is a great beginners guide to using Evernote for preaching.

5 Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation

I remember when I first started preaching. There was no rhyme or reason to how I prepared. I just started typing with an empty document and hoped for the best. Later, I took a few notes from my bible and started at least working with a basic idea in mind.

Over the last several years I have put a pretty good rhythm into place. These are 5 essentials practices that I believe will help anyone's sermon preparation.

1. Read.
That's it. You have to be reading. Read many different types of writing; articles, magazines, the newpaper and online. Read books related or unrelated to ministry. You will be surprised how much material you begin building up in your head.

2. Have a Holding Tank.
Find a way to capture this information. I use Evernote and a Field Notes notebook. Between the two, I always have something with me. I organize evernote with three folders to keep me moving forward and specific notebooks and folders for sermons I am researching/writing and preparing.

Here is a great read from over a 100 years ago about the benefit of keeping a preaching notebook.
The Growing of a Sermon.

3. Have a Preaching Calendar.
This is the best way to stay ahead and make sure you are preaching the whole counsel of God. It also is a huge help to the folks who assist in worship.

Productive Pastor 17: Why You Need a Production Calendar

4. Ask Others
Asking other people what they need to hear from church and letting them in on the preparation and visioning part of sermon work will not only be a help to you, but teach others about the holy act of preaching and preparation.

The Social Church Webinar

5. Find/Build and Stick to a preparation rhythm.
This is one of the hardest, but most rewarding practices. Learning to get this built into your weekly schedule will transform your sermon preparation. It will keep you on task and getting done early in the week (no one likes to write a sermon on Saturday).

Resources:
My Sermon Planning Worksheet
My Favorite Resources for Modern Preaching

On the next episode we will have John Chandler, of Sermonsmith, as our guest. He has interviewed dozens of preachers about their preparation process. It will be great.

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: PP20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to the 19th episode of The Productive Pastor. I have a great interview in place for you today with Michael Lukaszewski focusing on systems. This is a topic I have been excited about for a long time. Michael is THE GUY to talk about why your ministry needs to use systems and I am so excited to share this interview with the productive pastor community.

The List:
HT to Dean Libby and Jonathan Andersen for sharing these links with the community via twitter.

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management: Amy Gallo
As hot as the subject is right now, people can easily convince themselves of the benefits of practices that aren't that beneficial. Amy dispels some myths and does a great job questioning things people think are true.

23 Daily Habits That Will Make You Smarter: Maggie Zhang
These are great time hacks...but also great practices. I think all of them can be part of always becoming sharper, more tuned to your life and just productive.

The 7 Deadly Email Sins: Zachary Sexton
Email isn't a big issue for me, but it is for others. This list outlines some best practices as well as great tips to make sure your inbox doesn't run you.

Systems with Michael Lukaszewski

1. What Are Systems?
If you need to do something more than once...you need to create a system for it.
They aren't a set it and forget item, but a way to effectively organize ministry. This is about becoming more effective.

2. How can you lead in systems from the middle?
How can a youth/associate/worship pastor lead using systems? Michael gives some great tips to leading from the middle.

3. What is the biggest conversation for ministry leaders to be having around productivity?
This isn't about tools, the conversation we need to have is this...

"Is what we are doing truly worthwhile?"

Michaellukaszewski.com
@mlukaszewski

If you are interested in Michael or want more information on systems, check out these links. If yIf

Mentioned:
The500network.com/ Improvingchurch.com
The Rocket Company
The Systems Bundle
Five Financial Systems Every Church Should Have (FREE DOWNLOAD)

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: PP19_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

In this episode of the Productive Pastor I take the time to talk about my favorite time of the day and what mornings can mean for your personal productivity. We take a more conversational approach with this episode, so sit back and enjoy.

The List:
Creating A Lovely Morning: Leo Babauta
Leo gives us a beautiful example of the power of mornings and how they are created.

A Step-by-Step System to Higher Productivity: Greg Hickman
This blog post is for the true productivity nerd. Greg pulls back the curtain and goes really in-depth with his own personal system. I learned some great things here I plan on trying out.

Using Themed Work Weeks Instead of Themed Day Weeks: David Seah
I have been featuring David a lot on the podcast. His latest experiment is really interesting. I am a big fan of themed days. David is experimenting with shifting over to themed weeks.

The Morning Show

In this episode I share about why I absolutely love mornings. I think they are the most important part of the day. Here are a few bullets from what I shared.

  • What does your morning look like? Is it hectic or intentional?
  • My morning reset two years ago.
  • The more we direct our own schedule the more important it is for us to be on top of it.
  • Mornings are the most strategic part of the day. We get things together and plan for progress.
  • Anyone can make a better morning

I also share what my current morning routine is and how I am changing things up to streamline it for my new rhythms.

Remember to tweet your critical element using #productivepastor. You can reach me @revchadbrooks

Resources Mentioned.
Michael Hyatt: Becoming More Productive by Reengineering your Morning Ritual
Angel Chernoff: 12 Quiet Rituals of Extremely Successful Humans
Ministry Matters

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: PP18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

I learned a HUGE lesson this last week that will change your ministry.

The funny thing was it already applied to this episode. Isn't it great how things work like that?

In this episode I want to share with you why you (and your ministry) needs a production calendar. It is one of the big pieces in the picture that helps your ministry be effective and reaching people. I share plenty of resources in this episode, so get ready.

The List:

31 Ways Your Meetings Are Inefficient: Craig Jarrow
Confession. I hate meetings. They seem to always just be happen because people feel a meeting is necessary. Craig gives reasons why meetings sometimes suck and how you can make them better.

Tracking Producing vs Consuming: David Seah
David's resources are no stranger to the podcast. Over the last month he has been on a journey to actually discover what he is creating/doing instead of just simply working. I have been tracking this journey. This blog post is a great primer to his entire experiment.

Productivity for Pastors-Know Thyself: Tim Spivey
Tim really lays it all out here. This is a great post about keeping it centered and being open to the process.

Why You Need a Production Calendar

This last week I have been at a training with other friends starting new United Methodist congregations in Louisiana this year. We have had an amazing time and I learned a lesson that really affects out discussion today.

Many times we ask questions about why we should be productive (because we are secretly scared we don't know what to do next). As ministers, many of us didn't receive practical training in seminary and bible college about these skills. We just keep our fingers crossed and learn as we go.

Imagine what our ministries could do if we understand the simple steps to managing large projects.

Here is my 9 ft long butcher paper timeline for the new church.

It is a simple, step by step timeline for everything I need to get done.

One of my growing passions is to help people learn to take ministry from A (a dream) to Z (done and won). An essential part of this is learning why everyone needs a production calendar. A production (or editorial) calendar is simply a map of everything you have going on.

Nothing in ministry should be guess work.

Here are the three benefits of a production calendar.

1. Production Calendars help you see the big picture.
Imagine what ministry could be like if everyone was always on the same page and accomplishing the same large goals. This is part of that process. Everyone knows why everything matters. Instead of 8 different focuses going on simultaneously, the entire ministry can focus on common goals and teaching strategies.

No one is shooting in the dark.

They also help you realize when you are teaching way to much of the same subject (yeah, that happens). I learned that lesson from preaching rocket and it changed the last 8 months of my preaching.

2. The Content is right in front of you.
Guess work in ministry is elimated. You never are asking "what's next?" When you plan out your month, weeks and days...there is purpose behind every decision.

3. You and your ministry is consistently, steadily moving forward.
It isn't enough to just keep the ball in the air. That's what many of us end up doing.

Doing this shouldn't be scary. It is all about small steps toward much larger goals.

Toolbox Tip:

Keep something with you to always write down ideas. It might be an app, notebook or note cards. This way you can write it down and come back to it later.

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider. I'll give you my Weekly/Daily tools to keep you focused on ministry priorities. These are amazing, big picture resources to help you minister at the highest level of effectiveness.

 

Resources Mentioned:
CoSchedule Free Editoral Calendar Guide and Templates
David Allen: Getting Things Done.
Anne Samoilov: The Simple Content Creation Method + How To Publish More Than You Thought Humanly Possible

Listen:
Stitcher
RSS
Direct Download
iTunes

Direct download: PP17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm CST

In this episode of the Productive Pastor, I interview Justin Wise. Justin is a consultant and runs #ThinkDigital. If you ministry is curious about how the digital age matters, Justin is the person to talk too. When I sat down to plan out season 2 I knew I wanted to interview Justin. He was gracious with his time and shares plenty of great information with us. I especially appreciated the conversation about call and what ministry looks like (and doesn't look like) these days.

The List

How to Do More of What You Love (and Less of What You Don't): Michael Hyatt
Michael has had several great podcasts on delegation. This is just the latest in the subject and it really digs into why everyone needs to be delegating.

How I Work On Several Projects At Once: Mike Vardy
Mike shares something each of us in ministry could learn from. We have jobs requiring multiple balls in the air at the same time. In this blog post, you can learn the benefit of intentional scheduling to keep everything moving ahead.

Schedule Productivity Around Ebb and Flow: Tanner Christensen
Do you ever try to do something important when you just don't have the energy? The ebb and flow of our day matters, so schedule around it.

Resources Mentioned:
Justinwise.net
The Social Church (AMAZON link)
My review of The Social Church

Productive Pastor Insider Sign Up

Direct download: PP_16_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Welcome to this episode of The Productive Pastor. I have some great resources to share, great conversations and a great announcement. The focus conversation this episode is having a great weekend.

The List:
The Top Ten Lessons I Learned from A Year of Productivity: Chris Bailey
Chris shares why he took a year off before he entered the workforce to become an expert in productivity. He really hemmed in on why we should be doing what really matters. The whole website is great, check it out.

6 Subtle Things Highly Productive People Do Every Day: Eric Barker
Eric shares the tiny things that really matter. I love what he had to say about starting off your day well. It's one of my secrets.

How To Have a Great Weekend

When I first started thinking about productivity I read Laura Vanderkam's "What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast." It changed everything. I quickly started reading the rest of her books. My favorite is "What The Most Successful People Do on the Weekend." Go pick both of them up. They are only 2.99 and are really short reads.

Laura's basic premise is weekends need to be planned. I know, some of you are instantly turned off.

Think about it. If you want a great weekend, you need to plan for a great weekend.

Here are three tips to make your weekend great!

1. Find Something Special. Something you can only do on a weekend, with the space you have access too.

2. Find Something Regular. Plan a normal activity, a special breakfast or place you make part of your weekend routine.

3. Find a Way to Build Relationships. This isn't just about you, but about those you love the most. Plan a great weekend that fills everyone up.

Tool Box Tip:
Do you have a day you regularly don't look forward too? Perhaps it is just a really tough day and you are avoiding it. Because of this, you won't give it your best. I recommend taking an extra hour and having your ideal morning before you get to the hard stuff. For me, this means plenty of time in scripture, Waffle House and around 30 minutes to drink coffee and read the internet. It puts me in the best possible mood to tackle whatever I need to do.

Productive Pastor Insiders List

I am super excited to release the Productive Pastor Insiders List. This will be a bi-weekly email featuring the best of the conversation about productivity, time management and the called life. It will be a place to feature community members and jump even more into the conversation.

As my FREE gift to you for signing up, I have developed an amazing weekly priority kit. It includes a weekly priority schedule, a day sheet and instructions on why I use this system every week. I want to give it to you just for signing up for the email list.

You can become a Productive Pastor insider HERE.

Direct download: ep15_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm CST

The List:
The Complete Guide to Structuring your Ideal Work Day: By Rachel Feltman
This is a great article explaining how certain actions at certain times enhance personal productivity.

Gospel Driven Productivity: By Joe Stengle

I am really happy the theology of productivity is getting more press. This post is an interview with Matt Perman, author of What's Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done.

How To Stop Working 7 Days A Week: Carey Niewhof

Do you struggle with taking time off in ministry? Carey leads you through a practical examination that can help you stop and start sabbathing.

The Power of a Time Audit

Do you ever struggle with where your time went? I totally understand. I once had a director lead the entire ministry team through a time audit. It helped me tremendously learn to take control of my schedule and priorities.
If you want to get a handle on your productivity, the time audit is the first place to start.

Remember, you can't improve what you don't know.

Here are the 5 steps to a Time Audit:

1. Write out what you think you do.
2. Find a method.
3. Decide on an interval.
4. Take a week and do it.
5. Count it all up.

The time audit will give you a great baseline for personal productivity.

Direct download: pp14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Season 2 will launch May 23rd. I wanted to do a quick update for my subscribers and twitter followers. See you in a week.

Direct download: supersecret_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am CST

Since October of last year The Productive Pastor has had great success. It's all thanks to you. The listener community for this podcast is amazing. I love how many connections have been made and the conversations that have sprung up.

Over the last two weeks I have been producing what was going to be episode 12: The App Episode. I never was able to get an interview scheduled and wasn't satisfied with other parts of the production. I was getting frustrated with the whole thing.

Life (and Ministry) have also been chaotic. I realized if I wanted to keep up sharing and currating great content I need to take a break. And that was OK. I also need to put some energy behind a project I can really talk about just yet.

Television shows take breaks. They are called seasons.

So let's consider episodes 1-11 the first season. This episode is here to explain a few things and add to the theological conversation about productivity.

Episode 13 will start season 2. And it will totally rock. With it, I will be rolling out some additional content to the Productive Pastor community. So keep your eyes open. Give me a month or so. (we will absolutely be back up by the middle of May. I promise).

Thanks for listening.

Mentioned:
The Rocket Cast by The Rocket Company
My Sermon Planning Worksheet

Direct download: PP012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm CST

Over the last few episodes we have been talking about time periods of productivity. We thought about the month, several podcasts about the week. It is time to talk about the value of the day. I think this is one of the hardest pieces of productivity to master. It is easy to set big goals...it is harder to move them forward consistently each day (I even used a football reference for the first time in my career in this episode). I have been excited about this episode because I share one of my new favorite productive geek fascinations.

The List:
We have three great blog posts for you to check out this episode. They are all important to our conversation.

How to Measure Progress in Your Personal Goals: Daily, Weekly and Monthly: Belle Beth Cooper
Goals aren't worth that much if we aren't reaching them. To reach them, we need to track them. It's essential. She shares about monthly goals, review processes and easy ways to track progress.

The Best Times to Write and Get Ideas, According to Science: Kevan Lee
I think one of the secrets of high functioning people is their ability to know when they get things done. To realize certain times of the day seem to be wired for certain activities. What do you do better in the morning, afternoon or evening.

How to be Prolific: Guidelines For Getting It Done from Josh Whedon: Ari Karpel
Joss Whedon's ability to do many different things at the same time is amazing. Not multitasking, but handling several really big projects at the same time. This blog post is a great look into the mind of a creative genius.

How to Have a Productive (and Great) Day

I believe there is a secret to building a personal theology of "the day." This secret is simple. Know what you absolutly must do each day to move forward. Ministry is interesting because we can spend all of our time just keeping the ball in the air. I think this is a disservice to calling as well as the people we are ministering with.

Casey Graham (founder of The Rocket Company) wrote a really interesting blog post. He shared a secret to an extremely fruitful week in the life of his company.

How One Calendar Change Made Us $33,000

While our goal in ministry isn't to make money (no matter what people might say), there are some great lessons to be learned in Casey's blog post. Having a focused point of each day, even if it means devoting a whole day to mundane tasks, let anyone really do great work when it matters.

I have also become fascinated with Day Sheets and how they can help us organize each day. I discovered them pretty recently. Here are a few options for day sheets.

David Seah's Emergent Task Planner. (amazon purchase link)
Donald Miller's Storyline sheet
Ben Arment's Storycraft sheet

Bill Streger Interview
A few episodes back I first shared Bill's Massive Action Plan. It is a fantastic weekly planning sheet. I have a quick conversation with Bill about his church, his productivity strategy and his use of planning sheets.

BillStreger.com
@Billstreger
Weekly Massive Action Plan

Direct download: episode_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm CST

I am excited about this episode. No matter what you do, everyone has been in a slump. I have a problem with slumps because they are life stealing. They steal for us as individuals, those we work around and those we minister with. I want to share with you three ways to get out of a slump.

The List:

Six Incredibly Simple Things Highly Productive People Do Daily: Bogden Kipko
What Multitasking Does To Our Brain.

How To Get Out of a Slump:

If you listen to the podcast you know I am a fan of goals. I love goals for one reason. Goals help people move towards a preferred future. It might be personal, family or organizational. I believe this is the key getting out of a slump. Here are three tips to help you move forward.

Recollect: 
Circle your wagons. Collect your goals, worksheets and anything else you have half-way done. Get it all in the same place so you are able to actually get an accurate picture of where you are and where you aren't. Realize what is the biggest distraction or negative emotion that is causing you to slump. Give yourself a few minutes to just relax, let your mind wander or chase those distractions. 15 minutes to do whatever you want and then you are officially starting again.

Refocus:
Have you actually stated why you need to be doing this? Is it just a mindless task or can you attach a distinct "why" to it? If you can't, I would begin asking some serious questions about this actually being worth doing.

Reflect:
Think about the future outcome. Yes, you might be in the dreaded middle zone of a project, to deep to remember the beginning but not close enough to the end. There will be an end though. And at the end is the future everything is pushing towards. Reflect on what this preferred future looks like. Find a way to keep it in front of you. Add it to your prayer time, chase the vision with your team.

Listener Tips on how to get out of a slump:Charles Meeks: Change location, Change Music
Jonathan Andersen: Change your attitude. This is huge
Steve Lamotte: Change things. Tell his wife to tell him to get his act together.

Toolbox Tip:
Nerd out. I really get into my tools. I have found if I really like a certain tool (I recently bought myself this fountain pen), I will find myself being really productive just to use it. Find the most enjoyable way to work. Get a nice pen, invest in some good paper or a digital tool you know will be worth it.

Direct download: pp010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:35pm CST

009: How To Have a Productive (and Great) Month

Have you ever wondered where the month went? Sat back on the last few days and realize time has slopped through your hands? I want to talk exactly about that this episode.A Month is a great amount of time to use as part of a productive strategy for life and ministry.

The List:

1. Front Load Your Week and 3 Other Stress-Busting Time Management Strategies. 99u is constistently becoming my favorite website for productivity and other strategic leadership articles. This is a great article not just for weekly strategy practices, but many other times.

2. 10 Tips To Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized and Productive. I am horrible at keeping my desk area clean. I even wrote a blog post about clutter and how it relates to our spiritual walk. This blog post gives super practical ways to keep your work space clean and ready to go.

3. 30 Days of Hustle. Jon Acuff is running this free email series. The signup looks low-key, but the content is top notch. It will only take a few minutes a day. I am around half-way through it and I really dig it.

How to Have a Productive Month

Months are a long amount of time. But they are awesome at helping us get focused for one big reason. They can be broken up easily. You can do anything for 30 days. You can also divide most months up into 4 separate weeks. This makes it easy to slowly attack a problem or project and complete it in a succent amount of time. Imagine what your year could be like if you were able to accomplish 12 medium sized goals? 

No one is born productive, at least most of us aren't. We learn how to be and we learn how to be by developing systems and taking it all in one bite at a time. 

Here a some tips towards getting ready for a great, productive month. 

1. Prep the last week of the previous month. 
Set your big goal. Look at your calendar and find holes. Plan around big things. Special events, services, or anything else that will need big attention. Get a grasp on the big picture (sermon series, classes, bible studies, etc) and set your month up for maximum efficiency.

2. Production Calendar:
I put my sermons (2 a week), blogposts, articles, podcasts anything that is either deliverable or takes some research and preparation goes on my production calendar. I can move things around until there is a good focus and flow for what I am working on. I give everything on the calendar an evernote note, drop it in it's particular notebook and I know I always have a dumping ground for anything I come across that might apply. I will do a youtube video on my production calendar early next week and post it.

Anne Samilov post:  My Simple, No Sweat-No Struggle Content Creation Method. This is a GREAT post for anyone who has a hard time working on multiple projects.

3. Monthly Focuses
Our committees at church work off of a quarterly schedule of tasks. They build off each other and are seasonally appropriate. What are the monthly focuses you can have in ministry or personally you can attach to work slowly on across a month? Once a year you come back to them or they can be specific projects. This is the time to spend some attention to what otherwise might turn into a stressful event and get compressed into a small amount of time. Spend a few minutes every few days moving forward on what you decided you need to do. Remember, little chunks.

Toolbox Tip:Have you ever struggled with managing sharing articles and curating content as a ministry leader? This article from social media examiner gives really practical advice about automating sharing on social media.

How To Speed Up Your Content Curation Process.

Mentioned:
Bill Streger's  Weekly Massive Action Plan (pdf download)

Direct download: pp09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CST

Have you ever noticed how hectic ministry can get? It is an interesting job because we always have certain things needing to get done every week (sermons, programing, teaching), but we also live with the realization at any moment an urgent emergency can take us away from our carefully planned schedule.  They can either blow up our scheudle or give us the best possible space to minister to other people. In this episode I share my tips to navigating the time bomb.

The List:
It's Not About "Productivity." It's About Living Purposefully. by Sam Spurlin
This is a great article. It totally gets the conversation we are having with the Productive Pastor. I encourage you to go read this and think about how and what narrative your schedule is telling others.

Navigating the Time Bomb:

Part of ministry is responding. We respond to crisis, emergencies and pastoral care. We are called to be the living presence of Christ in our areas of ministry. Sometimes that means dropping everything and being with people. It comes with the territory and we need to learn to be fully present in those moments, not distracted and thinking about what else we can be doing. Here are three tips to navigating the time bomb.

I like to use the analogy of jazz music. Jazz musicians can improvise beautifully. Before they get that talent they have to spend the time building a foundation. They practice scales, modes, chords, inversions and many other things for years to build up the ability to improvise. It is their foundation that lets them jump off into improvisation and brings them back into the structure of the song. Our schedule is our foundation. We improvise when we navigate time bombs.

1. Have a Structure for the Week.
Know what you are generally planning on doing each day. Have a good idea of what you want to accomplish over your workweek. This helps you build an exit and an on ramp for the times things get hectic.

2. Knowledge of the small, medium and big stuff.
We all have different tasks with different levels of importance. I typically do around 20 small tasks within 2 hours on Monday morning. It immediately clears up so much of my week The small tasks are also those things we can fit into 15-20 minutes. Our medium level tasks are usually small steps in long range projects. We might even be able to take them off our schedule for a week. Our big things need to only be one thing. It is the non-negotiable task for the week. Mine is my sermon. I will carve out time for that no matter what is going on.

3. Hustle.
Sometimes we just have to hustle. I recommend using some form of Pomodoro to put my nose to the grindstone. This webapp will help you hustle.

Resources Mentioned:The Emergent Task Planner

Share your productive space-Earlier in the year Mashable ran a great piece on taking a picture of your productive space. I really nerded out checking this out. Earlier this week I saw a great instagram picture listener Bill Streger posted (here is the picture). I think it would be awesome seeing all of your productive spaces, tips and how you keep your ministry organized. Tag your picture #productivepastor and share with us! You can keep up with peoples entries with the #productivepastor tagboard. Every picture will be an entry to winning a great prize package. If you review and rate on iTunes you get two entries!

Direct download: pp008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am CST

In this episode I want to share with you the three most productive times of my week. These are the three blocks of time I will fight for and I find essential to having a great week. I am a big fan of finding repeatable patterns and realizing the benefit of them. Some of these times I stumbled into and other times I heard about them from other people. I have incorporated these blocks of time into my week over years.

The List:

Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore: Tyler Wardis
My Dad sent me this link in an early text message last week. It made me think of how many times I almost brag about my schedule to people. Internally, I think many of us do this, but what does it really communicate? If we are trying to develop and live out a theology of productivity, especially one that differs from the world, we need to take Tyler’s words to advice.

More Insights on Building a Rock Solid Routine: Jocelyn K. Glei
This is a great post with several links. What I like about it though isn’t the curation, it’s the focus on shipping. We all need to get things done. What we need to do even more is get things done with a purpose.

Honesty Moment:

What I have really been thinking about more is how and why we are supposed to be doing ministry the way we are/want too? I have struggled for years with taking a modern communication approach to my ministry and as I think about why I write and podcast I still struggle. There is a basic truth providing momentum to me over the last few months. The more I think about it I realize it is totally true.

We cannot wait for someone to hand us the ministry we have been called to.

This is a process of discernment. All of the conversation about productivity stems from this. Are we doing everything we can to be fully living inside of our own individual call? Our participation in moving forward is the reason we do focus on certain passions.

The Three Most Productive Times in My Week

I have three times I look forward to every week.

1. My Sunday Review:
I picked this up from Michael Hyatt’s Creating Your Personal Life Plan and it helps so much. I use around an hour Sunday evening to review my goals, dream big as well as make sure loose ends are tied up. I also try to collect the things I need to pay attention to during the next week.

2. My Monday Morning Planning Session:
This started in seminary. I would sit down once a week to craft out my next 7 days. The actual time has shifted around (it used to be on Friday afternoons). This is when I get really practical. I get to my local coffee shop first thing in the morning and I design my week. I look at the things I collected the previous evening as well as check up on regular activities. I open my evernote weekly template and plug things in. I check all of these against my weekly talk plan and find the best place for everything to get done.

3. My Friday Creative Session:
I try to take Friday off. I am about 70% successful with this. I usually defend Saturday as a Sabbath, so from time to time I will catch up with certain work on Friday morning. I always make sure if something is pushed into Friday morning it is creative work. I use this time to plan out blog posts, podcast content and other parts of my creative life.

Toolbox Tip:
This isn’t revolutionary. We all need to find things that fill our life. We need to relax and enjoy who God made us to be. Find a hobby or other way to instantly decompress.

Resources:
Getting Things Done
Evernote Essentials

Direct download: PP007.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm CST

productive pastor

In today's podcast I talk about my new favorite productivity trick. I use templates for EVERYTHING. I cannot imagine not having access to them. They are super handy for several different reasons and I will share those with you later on.

The List:Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Evernote from Timemanagementninja.com
Consider this to be a great introductory post on how Evernote can change the way you do life. Wouldn't it be amazing to not have to constantly be trying to remember everything all the time and have instant access to all your thoughts, lists and other information?

Mikes on Mics Podcast
This is another great producivity podcast I have really been enjoying over the holidays. I powered down several episodes while traveling and Mike and Mike do a great show.

You've Got 25,000 Mornings as an Adult: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine: James Clear wrote a fantastic article about why mornings really matter and how they can be the best time of day for anyone. If you haven't taken advantage of mornings yet, I hope this convinces you.

Organize Your Life in 21 Days from Michael Lukaszewski
Michael, CEO of The Rocket Company, has put together a great free resource. I went through this email series late in 2013 and it is full of really practical tips to getting life more organized. It is done through quick email messages and gives you a few days to complete each task. I highly recommend it.

Up Your Productivity With Templates

How many times have you realized you missed doing a really simple task a couple of days back? For me, it was always sends the exact same email every Wednesday. I had to find a way to automate it, but it had to be customized every week. I tried putting a calendar reminder, but that didn't work either. It would go off at the wrong time and I would still forget.

I also like to evaluate regular events (like Sunday) and wanted to go through the same questions every time. This was a little bit more familiar. I realized I just needed to start setting up templates to organize many of the same tasks I do each week. Here are a few reasons templates can nearly instantly up your productivity.

1. They focus life. If anything is important in our life, personal or work, it has to be part of our habits. We focus so much of what we do around regular tasks, like exercising, reading, prayer and even event preparation, committee emails and other communication tasks. Templates help us with consistency.

2. They help us complete unnatural work.
There are certain tasks I need to accomplish weekly I am not naturally wired for. But that doesn't mean I can drop the ball. Having a template set up helps me to know it is coming and when it needs to be done.

3. They help us grow.
Templates keep us focused on what absolutely must be done. But they also help us track things. I use templates for many different things. Some are extremely task focused. Others tasks are template based because I want to build regular routines and rhythms. Doing the same thing over and over helps me with that.

My Weekly Tasks Template (pdf).

Tool Box Tip How many times do we know when we are worthless? I can tell you, without a doubt, I can't get anything done around 2;30. So I don't plan on it. I schedule really mindless tasks for this time. Or I take a quick nap or read a book. Getting over this 30-45 minute hump in my day the right way really affects what I do for the rest of the day.

Mentions:
I want to thank David Franks for winning our Christmas give away. He reviewed and rated The Productive Pastor on iTunes and shared on twitter. Thanks David!

I talked about the Evernote Essentials ebook on the episode. I highly encourage you to get this resource. If you have every wondered what you really should be doing, or could be doing with Evernote, this is the best way to learn.

A few episodes back I interviewed Jonathan Andersen and he gave us his template for Exegesis. In the shownotes I shared his template plus another one I was already using

Direct download: Episode006.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50am CST

This episode of the Productive Pastor Podcast will be just a little different. Since it is the holiday season and many of us will be taking some time off, I decided it was time to have a conversation about Sabbath. For this topic...I know only one person who could share with us.

JD Walt is the sower-in-chief for Seedbed. This is fancy language for chief executive officer. I spent several years working with JD and it was one of the best working relationships and friendships I have ever had. JD is a practical theologian with an amazing command of scripture and the Christian life. He is also the first Sabbath keeper I have ever met.

JD shares with us a conversation about Sabbath, peace and chaos and what the sabbath keeping life is like. He gives some practical rhythms of keeping Sabbath as a family.

Mentioned Resources:
Sabbath Keeping, It's About Time by JD Walt. This is a great FREE resource.
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting by Marva Dawn

JD Walt:
jdwalt.com
@jdwalt

Direct download: Episode_005.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am CST

What does it mean to be a productive pastor? In this episode we begin the conversation of a theology of time management. I look at three beginning ideas.

1. Productivity vs. Call

2. Learning to live a quiet life

3. What we spend our time doing tells who we are

As always, we have some great blog posts to share on The List and a tip from the toolbox.

Direct download: 004.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm CST

003: Building a Priority Based Schedule

On the third episode of The Productive Pastor Podcast we tackle the topic of priorities and their place in your weekly routine. 

I have found my week runs smoother and I feel I have accomplished more when I consistently am able to compare my work to the priorities I have set up. Every part of this episode, from The List to the Toolbox focuses on what it means to routinely accomplish priorities and how this action gives us more time for what we care about and what we are most effective at. Content includes The List, 5 Steps To Building A Priority Based Schedule and a tip from the toolbox about daily routines.


Thanks for listening to this third episode. Keep on using the #productivepastor on twitter and Facebook. You can follow me at @revchadbrooks on twitter, Facebook, google plus and instagram. As always, I appreciate your iTunes review and rating!

Direct download: Episode_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm CST

002: Interview with Jonathan Andersen

In episode two we talk about plenty of great productivity practices for ministry leaders. Chad shares three great blog posts found around the internet and interviews Jonathan Anderson. Jonathan is a pastor in Georgia and is a person to learn from! Jonathan shares some of his practices for sermon preparation, how he keeps in contact with people and strategies of working in team based ministry.

As always, we dig into the toolbox and share a favorite productivity tip. The Productive Pastor Podcast is also giving away a 3 pack of the brand new Pitch Black Field Notes Brand notebook, Chad's preferred brand of pocket notebooks for daily use.

For full show notes, please visit productivepastorpodcast.com

Direct download: 002Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm CST

Have you ever struggled with how to get a great start in the morning. I want to give you tip on our first episode, and it is time dependent. It is the easiest and best way I have ever found to take control of the morning. I also bring in some listener feedback and talk about what is the most important thing ministry leaders need to be making time for in the day.

Direct download: 001_Resetting_your_mornings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am CST

The Productive Pastor is coming soon! This podcast is for ministry leaders to talk about productivity and time management and how we live that out inside the called life. While you wait for the first full episode to get here, check out host Chad Brooks' story and why he loves the idea of productivity.

Direct download: Preview_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm CST

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