The Productive Pastor (general)

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 CDT

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 CDT

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

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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 CDT

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

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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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Productive Pastor!

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

Front Matter:

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

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

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

Relaxing Vs. Replenishing

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

Define the Difference

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

What's At Stake?

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

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

Define What Relaxes You and What Replenishes You

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

Build The Two Into Your Schedule

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

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

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

Mentioned Articles:

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime: Scientific American

How To Rest For Real: Relevant Online

PHD Comics Vacation

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Rest This Week: Forbes

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