The Productive Pastor

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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! 

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 5.46.37 PM

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 CDT