The Productive Pastor

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

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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! 

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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

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 2.29.42 PM

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. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 6.00.50 PM

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. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 6.39.38 PM

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