The Productive Pastor

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

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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

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

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

Front Matter

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

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

Designing a Productive Study Retreat

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

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

Pre-Work

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

During

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

 

Back Matter

 

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

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

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

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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