The Productive Pastor

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

Do you struggle with how to contact, assimilate and lead visitors into part of your church? This episode is ALL ABOUT building guest systems in your church. I sit down with my friend Rev. Allison Sauls. Allison isn't a normal guest, but she leads Foundry with me! We break down the systems we have built over the last 9 months in starting a new church and the lessons we have learned.

Front Matter

From the Vault:
Building a Priority Based Schedule| Episode 3

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/Episode_3.mp3" title="Building a Priority Based Schedule" artist="Productive Pastor 3" ]

JD Walt and Sabbath | Episode 5

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/Episode_005.mp3" title="A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath" artist="Productive Pastor 5" ]

Giving Rocket: Get ready for their 50% off sale THIS MAY. Trust me. This is one of the best resources and coaching products I have ever purchased.

 

Build Guest Systems

The Benefit of Systems
Systems are a repeatable progression of tasks. It's all about a mindset.

Episode 19: Michael Lukaszewski on Systems

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/PP19_mixdown2.mp3" title="Michael Lukaszewski on Systems" artist="Productive Pastor 19" ]

Assimilation Systems

Our larger framework is based all around collecting guest information. We do this in two ways.

  1. We have a great connection card. This is the only handout we ever give people. Connection Card Back Connection Card Front (Download links)
  2. We can collect families names based off of kids check-in. This is an amazing tool most folks don't utilize.
  3. We give away a tumblr/mug. It depends on the season, but folks absolutely love getting a gift like this.

Check out my post on using Trello to streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello for more details.

Email Systems

We use aweber.com. I love it. To use an email system, you have to have a paid account somewhere. Mailchimp charges a few dollars for this, but I have been using aweber for a pretty long time and I'm familiar with it. One of the best explanations of using an email series for guest systems is from Bobby Williams. He was a guest on Rich Birch's Unsemianry podcast and explained how his church used them.

Facebook Systems

I've outlined my strategy for using Facebook lists and leveraging them for ministry here.

1st time Giving

I'm a big fan of The Rocket Company's What Happens When You Give booklet. You can purchase it here.

Direct download: PP49_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm CDT

In this episode of The Productive Pastor we talk about having a proactive vs. reactive strategy for ministry. One of the dangers of a non-strategic approach to ministry is simply spending all day reacting to emergencies, facilities, office issues and a multiplicity of other things (much less the actual work of ministry, which is about response).

Front Matter

Trello Week

  1. Productive Pastor 46 | Organizing Ministry with Trello
  2. Why You Need To Build a Trello Reading List (and how to do it). 
  3. Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello. 
  4. Creating a Collaborative Sermonflow.

iTunes Review and Ratings

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.58.15 PM

Proactive vs. Reactive Ministry

Beginning to plan ministry in a proactive way is all about a mind shift. We individually decide to lead and pastor from a proactive point of view. We don't do this to get out of reactive situation, but to allow ourselves the absolute amount of margin we need for when we DO need to react to emergency situations. This point of view is the biggest difference (I feel) between healthy, vital ministries and struggling and declining churches. If you feel you can necessarily lead others proactively right now, begin leading yourself proactively.

I constantly ask myself if I am leading from a proactive or a reactive position. Understanding this proactive vs. reactive shift is tremendously important and one of the key tasks I am always checking myself for.

What does this change?

  • simply waiting for ministry to happen
  • always running ragged
  • not having the ability to think ahead

What do we learn?

  • We learn to prioritize
  • We learn to build a schedule

Eugene Peterson, The Pastor. (amazon link)
The Importance of Scheduling (productivitist)

How to we begin a proactive ministry

  • We make the decision
  • We begin the process of goal scheduling
  • We schedule time for forward momentum

I hope this episode has been helpful. Make sure to interact on social at @revchadbrooks and use the hashtag #productivepastor.

Direct download: PP47_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Over the last 6 months I have finally found the project management tool I've been looking for for YEARS! Trello is perfect for ministry.

I was looking for a project management solution that could accomplish these tasks and requirements.

  • Worked well for visual thinkers
  • Free (or low cost)
  • allowed for multiple users (high degree of collaboration)
  • easy to move items around
  • crazy flexible
  • high degree of "hackability"

After doing some research (and seeing some instagram posts), I realized Trello was probably the perfect tool for mine and my teams needs. 

Organizing Ministry with Trello

I am currently using Trello for many tasks. Here is a breakdown of 4 of them. 

Sermon Series Preparation
Every sermon series at our church has a Trello board. We use the "copy board" feature as a template and start with a standing key of questions. Using Trello in this manner, our entire team has a map of where the sermon preparation is at, language we can use for other ministries and the different passages the preacher is choosing to use. I attach my own research note from Evernote in an individual card if someone wants to see more information. 

New Member Assimilation
At Foundry, we struggled to keep track of multiple 1st, 2nd and continuing guests. We built an intentional contact system, but struggled to implement it without access to a church database. After seeing another church utilize Trello for assimilation, we built the perfect system for Foundry. It utilizes a checklist feature available in Trello (so we are constantly re-making the checklist). Because cards are moveable, when someone has attended the 2nd time...they get moved into the 2nd time column. We then are able to consistently move folks through our system and stay in great communication with them. 

Master Calendar
We didn't want to keep a gigantic (and public) master calendar. Instead, each month has a column in Trello and each even it's own card. We are then able subscribe in iCal or Outlook to have each event inside our personal calendars. 

Social Media Schedule
I used to keep a paper social calendar, but Trello provides a great way to allow multiple people to work on the same schedule. 

 

Direct download: PP46_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm CDT

Do you use Evernote? If you don't, this episode is all about maximizing ministry with Evernote.

It's no secret how much I think Evernote is a crucial ministry tool. I have spoke about it quite often, but have never devoted a full episode to this AMAZING app.

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/productivepastor/pp45.mp3" title="Maximizing Ministry with Evernote" artist="Productive Pastor 45" ]

Maximizing Ministry With Evernote

Starting Evernote

The first suggestion I always make is to download the (free) desktop Evernote app. This makes it substantially easier to use. Then, get your evernote email address and find a clipper app for your browser. This biggest secret is to simply USE Evernote.

How I use Evernote
I am dropping information into Evernote constantly.

  • If I need to remember more than 1 time.
  • I save .pdf's and pictures
  • checklists and templates
  • long range documents

5 Ways to use Evernote for maximizing ministry.

  1. Staff Meetings
    I set up a note with the word "staff meeting" and the date in the title. I then take notes as normal. Whatever I need to drop into the note I can, urls, documents or just notes. 
  2. Sermon Planning
    This is where I get ALL UP IN Evernote. I start a notebook with the sermon series. Every sermon gets a note and then there is a random catchall for the series. I am constantly dropping things in these folders. It helps me built up a cohesive library for my preaching.
  3. One on Ones
    They can be discipleship meetings or meetings with staff. I simply use the persons name as a note and date it. Whatever I need to make note of, to remember or refer back to...it's there.
  4. Reading Notes
    I did an entire episode (26) about how I keep my reading notes. I take some time after I've finished a book to enter my notes. There is also a way to get kindle highlights into Evernote. 
  5. Group Documents
    I know other people use google docs for this sort of work, but Evernote works better for me BECAUSE YOU CAN SEARCH IT. Sorry for the screaming. But it has saved my neck more times than I can imagine. 
Direct download: pp45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm CDT

I am a HUGE notebook fan. This shouldn't be a secret to my friends and regular listeners. If you want to keep up more with my notebookery...you can get a glimpse at instagram.com/revchadbrooks. So in this episode I am going to be sharing with you WHY you need to be keeping a notebook, some of the reasons I do and how you can set up your notebook as a modular time/project tracker.

First-I want to thank Brett Byford for his awesome review/rating in iTunes.

 

 

 

Why You Need To Keep A Notebook

My notebook journey has been wild. It all started out with my trying to keep up with life and ministry. I have gone through plenty of different types of notebooks. Here are some of my favorites.

Moleskine (amazon link)
Like many people, Moleskine provided the entry point into keeping a notebook. I used their paperback versions and the soft covers for years. Ultimately, they fell apart quicker than I could use them.

Rhodia (amazon link)
Rhodia makes some great notebooks. The paper is excellent and they have around 59,987 sizes. I use them for quick jots around the house and for sketching out larger things. I don't keep up with them afterwards, just tear the sheets out and throw them away.

Muji (amazon link)
I use this specific size and paper type. They make other options, this is what works for me.

I'm also a big fan of Field Notes Brand, Seedthoughts from Seedbed and Leuchtturm1917.

Why keep a notebook?

  • to capture information
  • you can build a blank slate for your day and calendar
  • keeps information in front of you
  • keeps you present (be THE PERSON who is always taking notes! Trust me on this one).

Here is my blank notebook page.

File Feb 14, 6 38 23 PM

Related Links:

Why I Keep A Prayer Notebook
Why Pastors Need to be (Information) Hoarders. 

 

Direct download: pp44_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm CDT

Welcome back to the Productive Pastor. We have a great episode in store for you today.

Have you ever found yourself in a hole or a slump? The good news is digging yourself out of a hole is easier than you think. It's about awareness and  intentionality. We are going to dive headfirst into the issue and hopefully finish standing on solid ground.

 

Digging Yourself Out Of A Hole

Confront the Spiritual Issue.
The more I think about anxiety, fear, procrastination and depression...the more I see a link between our schedules and our spiritual life. When we get into a shaky place, we lose our sense of purpose and our understanding of call. Sit down, hit up some prayer and begin discerning what the bigger issues are that brought you to this place.

G.T.D Bankruptcy. 
I am a big fan of David Allen's classic Getting Things Done. You might say it started it all! David Allen talks about taking a schedule bankruptcy. This is when you mark off a day or so and just build an account of everything that is outstanding. Once you are aware...pick the things you can just throw away and quit worrying about. Chances are, the damage is already done from putting it off.

Organize Top Priorities
What are the things you absolutely need to get in place in order to dig yourself out of a hole?

  • Are you about to get fired or lose major influence?
    Not really (maybe really?). What are the bottlenecks that are causing the anxiety. It can be a major project or just something you have been putting off. You need to get these done. Line out the projects and attack them.Related Episode: How To Destroy a Massive To Do List

  • What are the regular things that need to happen?
    Regular, repeating tasks are key. They make you feel great to get checked off. I utilize a template system in Evernote to organize my repeating tasks.Related Episode: Up Your Productivity With Templates

  • Fill in what's restful. Don't discount the necessity to take rest in order to refuel and replenish yourself. You absolutely need to be doing these things.

Preventative Care

  • Pomodoro-I use the Tomato Timer web app.
  • Strategically plan your week.
  • Learn to know what matters most.
Direct download: PP43_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm CDT