The Productive Pastor

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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