The Productive Pastor

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

Find the shownotes at revchadbrooks.com/pp72

Front Matter:

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

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

The Benefit of Backwards

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

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

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

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

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

Back Matter

Archive Episode: Building a Priority Based Schedule

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Deep Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources Mentioned

SermonSmith on Spurgeon

Lectures To My Students- CH Spurgeon

Deep Work-Cal Newport

Tools of Titans- Tim Ferriss

Church Unique- Will Mancini

God Dreams- Will Mancini

Back Matter

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

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider.

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

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

Welcome to season 5 of the Productive Pastor! 

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

Front Matter

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

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

Planning Your Best 2017

Personal

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

Leadership

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

Preparation

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

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

Back Matter

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

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider

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

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

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 CDT

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