The Productive Pastor

Welcome to the 38th episode of the Productive Pastor. It's a great, jam-packed time!

This week I am sharing part of my "Sermons That Have Reach" content. If you have using my sermon planning worksheet or have listened to the podcast for very long, you have heard me talk about a "Big Idea" or a similar concept. The Monday Moment takes this strategy and amplifies it.

Front End
1. The Art of the Sermon
It was a privilege to be part of this great new podcast and to be one of the guests on it's launch episodes. Dan is developing some great content. Productive Pastor listener, Rev. Brian Johnson, shares a great video on using NOZBE. Check it out here.

2.Threshing Floor Episode 50. I host this podcast with two of my best friends. We are hitting our 50th episode next week-it will be featuring JD Walt, sower-in-chief of Seedbed.

3. Productive Pastor Insider-Evernote, Death and Text-Messaging.

Using Monday Moments for Better Preaching

Monday Moments help us develop many different parts of our sermons. They affect the visuals, how we plan our messages and how we preach. They give us a guiding center (alongside our guiding text for the day). They help us develop repetition and focus in how we preach. They give people a literal phrase to repeat as they contemplate the message.Using a Monday Moment is a key preparation AND presentation device. It will help you plan and communicate better. The moment will help the people in your pews better internalize the message and remember it throughout the week.

The Preparation Pyramid 

Think of this as a pyramid, with 4 floors.

Basement: Larger Biblical Truth
1st Floor: How Does Scripture Emphasis This?
2nd Floor: What Is The Intended Response?
Attic: How Do I Best Articulate This IN Communication?

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I hope this introduction to Monday Moments will help you gain clarity over your preparation and communication. It is such an amazing tool.

Resources Mentioned:
Communicating For A Change: Andy Stanley

The Rocket Company Preaching Rocket

How To Write A Killer Bottom Line: Carey Nieuwhof

Sermons That Have Reach Early Bird List

Direct download: DR0000_0383_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09am CDT

37: How Batching Rocks Your World

First- let me just say how excited I am about the 4th season of The Productive Pastor. It is going to be amazing; high level, step by step content AND great interviews with ministry leaders from across the spectrum. 

How Batching Rocks Your World

Batching is the process of matching similar projects and tasks together and executing them one after another. Batching help us in many ways; it helps us work through tasks quicker, better and more efficiently. You don’t lose track and you find yourself actually being able to do more of them in a shorter amount of time. 

Batching saves us in many different ways; emotionally, creatively, our workspace AND with supplies. 

In short-batching will change your life. 

Here is how you can add batching into your workflow. 

  1. Do a Time Audit. (Check out PP 14: The Power of a Time Audit).
    Take a few weeks and get an idea of what you do, when you do it and when you do it. You will begin to see your normal operating procedure and get clarity about your own workflow and scheduling patterns. 
  2. Divide Your Tasks Into Buckets.
    I use these three categories...although you are welcome to use others. Creative, Administrative and Relational. The majority of what I do a week fits into these three categories. 
  3. Build your schedule around similar tasks. 
    By now, you know when you work well, when you work tired, bored or many other things. Begin putting high profile tasks into the time slots you best do high level work. Schedule those similar tasks together, at the time it is most effective to do them. Stick mindless work at times you aren't necessarily at your best.
 Batching (especially according to your own work patterns) will let you accomplish task based work significantly more efficiently and leave you time to be the best ministry leader you can be. 
 
Direct download: PP_37_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm CDT

Productive Pastor Season 4 LAUNCHES on Friday. 

Get a quick preview of what we are going to be talking about in the upcoming season. 

Direct download: super_secret_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am CDT

36: Productivity and Anxiety with Omar Rikabi

On this episode I come back to content originally recorded for Episode 28. My friend Omar Rikabi is a United Methodist pastor in the Dallas area. He spent years in college ministry and transitioned to the local church just over a year ago. Omar gets open about his journey and how productivity provides stability to help him in his overall life.

A big thanks to Steve Murphy and Rodmanprice for their iTunes review and ratings.

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Mentioned

Periscope
Tomato Timer (webbased Pomodoro app)
Early Bird list for Sermons That Have Reach

Direct download: PP36_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am CDT

Welcome to the Productive Pastor. We are doing something a little different with this episode. The main conversation is a replay from the latest Threshing Floor Podcast. I host this show along with two of my great friends. Joshua and I have been having conversations about leadership and when it gets tough. We recorded one of these, and I am sharing a section of it today with you. If you liked what you heard, check out the full episode here.

Jonathan Andersen: Preaching Without Notes

Leading in Tough Situations

1. Center Yourself
The most important part of leading, whether in tough or easy situations, is taking care of your own soul. It is impossible to be leading people well if you are out of your own devotional life and sabbath rhythm. 

2. Know Your Growing Edges
What are you not good at? This isn't a new idea at Productive Pastor. It is really hard leading in a place you are unfamiliar. Identify your grow spaces and ruthlessly get better at them. 

3. Learn to Delegate
Both Joshua and I are huge fans of Volunteer Rocket. I have learned so much about delegation and building healthy volunteer systems through their training. It is worth every penny

Back Matter

Ministry Library is a fantastic resource I subscribe to. They create amazing videos of book summaries and other leadership resources.  Brian contacted me and wants to share a great resource about leading with our listeners.

Related Printout and Workshop

 

Next Season

August
In August, Productive Pastor will feature the FULL interviews from Omar Rikabi and Michelle Manual. You met them in Episode 28: Productivity, Call and Soulcare. This episode was hugely popular.  Both of these conversations were over an hour each, and we edited down the content seriously to fit in episode 28. If you resonated deeply with their stories-get ready for even more.

 

September
Our team wants to develop the absolute best 4th season we can and we can't do this without you.  Take the survey right here.

Also, in September I am releasing my first premium product. People have been asking me to do this for years and now is the time. It will be all about sermon planning and preparation. Keep your eyes peeled for future information. If you want to be the first to find out about ANYTHING-sign up right here.

 

Direct download: PP35_mixdownv2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Have you ever hit a personal or organizational rut? They are easy to get into if you aren't paying attention to goals and project management. This episode is all about staying focused on the forward momentum you have identified as the most important.

I want to point out listeners to the new podcast management plugin I am using (from the always brilliant Pat Flynn). It's called the Smart Podcast Player and it is awesome. You can access the entire archives at productivepastorpodcast.com

Thanks to our most recent iTunes review and ratings!

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 Keeping Important Things In The Front of the Pack

When was the last time you felt stuck? Personally or organizationally? It happens. I have seen myself or places I have been part of leading get stuck plenty of times. One of the primary causes of getting stuck is loosing sight of what really matters. It is no secret how important I feel goal setting and goal focused leadership is. I think goals are the secret to staying out of slumps or if you are in one, getting out of the slump quickly.

But just having goals isn't enough. You can easily make goals boring and mundane. I believe the best goals are focused around forward momentum and missional innovation.

Google is famous for it's 20% rule for staffing and the best innovation has come out of it. You can read about it here. Even if Marissa Mayer is true, innovation must always be happening. So if you are functioning off of great (and community built goals) and still getting slumpy...I would begin asking the innovation questions.

Here is why you need to keep your goals at the front of the pack.

1. Lead with goals (not responsibilities): Goals are what control you-not others thoughts about "what" you should be doing.
2. Keep you centered: Goals give you an anchor point.
3. Keep you safe: Goals should always be created in community and shared in community.
4. Any goal centered organization is going to stop being a goal centered organization: Think of how this changes your organizational structure. What does it teach volunteer leadership that will help them in their vocational life?

How to Start Being Goal Focused

  • Establish small and medium sized goals
  • Groupthink
  • Do it personally
  • Hit your goals publicly
  • Begin building goal based systems

Mentioned:
Why Your #1 Goal Must Be Front and Center: Time Management Ninja
How To Create an Energy Management List and Why Every Leader Should Have One: Carey Nieuwhof
What Effective Pastors Do With Their Time: Thom Rainer

Previous Episodes:
Building a Priority Based Schedule
Getting Out of a Slump

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

 

Direct download: PP34_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am CDT

Summer is HERE!!!

Summer means all sorts of awesome things. One of them is vacations. But let's be honest...most people in ministry don't vacation very well. This episode of the Productive Pastor is about how to take a great vacation and to not worry about the things that usually keep ministry  leaders from taking vacations. 

Front Matter

1. First #productivepastor tip: Go to the doctor. Don't be stubborn like Chad. I can't imagine how much time and energy I have wasted over the last couple of months because I am stubborn and I didn't want to spend 1 hour with my doctor. 

2. Winners of Called by JD Walt. 

A big thanks to ALL OF YOU who have been rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. It is a huge help. 

3. Michael Hyatt: Getting the Most Out of Evernote. 
Michael Hyatt is responsible for many of the things I do...and Evernote is one of them. His latest podcast episode is about interesting uses for Evernote. I found it incredibly helpful. If you want to get into Evernote for the first time, get the free download and pick up a copy of Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials. It is totally worth it. 

Awesome Vacations and Exactly How to Make Them Work

How well do you vacation? My wife and I have only taken a handful in ten years. We go on trips with family...but we have only gotten away, just the two of us, 3 times in 10 years. That includes our honeymoon. This year we decided to fix this problem. 

The first step is taking a great vacation is getting over the idea in your head that ministry people aren't allowed to be gone for over a few days. Your leadership needs to have your back. This will help you get into the right headspace. A theology of vacation is much like a theology of sabbath. They are purposeful and necessary. I was totally floored when one of my leaders told me, after my last vacation, "You are acting like yourself and that is exactly who we need you to be."

You need to decide or figure out what relaxes you. Vacations can be replenishing or retreat. What are the things that will contribute to that? This is part of developing the "why" of your vacation. Trust me, just doing this sort of thing in your head will help you get into vacation mode quicker. 

Tips on Making Vacation Work

1. Take 2 Sundays off. 
Yep. Get out of town for more than 1 Sunday. It will be tough, but it gives you the space to actually decompress. If this is impossible for you...it is a personal and organizational leadership issue. You need to be developing other leaders and teachers anyway. 

2. Clear your tasks 1.5 days before you leave. 
No one likes rushing till the last minute. If you are planning on leaving town Friday morning, have all of your tasks and work done by Wednesday at noon. This gives you an additional 1.5 days to take care of ministry items that tend to drop in our lap. If you end up not being busy, it will just help you clear your head earlier. 

3. Take 1 day back to recollect (not do). 
I am a fan of David Allen's Getting Things Done. Part of his method involves a collection phase. Use your first day back to collect all of the things that are now due. It will help you jump back into things better than instantly carving away at the first issue on the pile. Taking a recollection day at work allows you to strategize your time. 

4. Tell people you are going on vacation.
I have never had an issue with people bugging me when I am out of town (for work or pleasure). The reason why? I let them know I will be gone. The last few times I have traveled I haven't had a single issue. Once I get back, I hear from people...but generally people my age (I'm 35) respect being out of town. 

5. Find space for your creative mind to flourish.
Remember when I told you to decide if your trip was going to be replenishing or retreat? Make sure you spend the time doing the things that will make this vacation exactly what you want it to be. I read, but do whatever relaxes you. Don't "work" any. If I had an idea for a sermon or another work related item, I just wrote it down in an evernote notebook I made exactly for the purpose. I processed it when I got back in town. 

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

Direct download: PP33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am CDT

Welcome to the very first "sub-episode" of the Productive Pastor. Occasionally I will have either more content than I really can release or I end up getting connected (usually through a listener) to someone who can really add quality conversation to an episode.

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and had a great interaction with Nathan Bledsoe (@revnayte) on twitter and he brought me into a conversation with his friend John Allen (@revjohnallen). John had some super interesting things to share about meetings and I recorded a quick conversation with him. 

Trust me, you will want to listen to this. 

John really shares about the pastoral heart in meeting leadership and what it means to keep people engaged during meetings. 

Thanks so much for coming on the show. Trust me, you will want to listen to this. 

 

Mentioned:
Wellesley Village Church
Church of the Pilgrims

Direct download: PP32and5_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Do you enjoy meetings? I have a love/hate relationship with them. I have worked in places with great meetings and horrible meetings. Now that I am in charge of most meetings, I want to make them part of a positive leadership experience for others.

Front Material

1. Back to Fridays.
I tried an experiment with Monday release dates, but I have heard from you (and seen the release day stats) enough to move back to Friday release days. Next episode will come out on Friday, May 29th.

2. iTunes review and rating.
Big thanks to Uriah Oxford and Jason Wnc for leaving reviews and ratings on iTunes. This really helps the podcast get out. Do you want to win a free book? The first person to leave a review and rating after release date will get a free copy of JD Walt's book Called.

Making the Most of Meetings

Meetings can be a drag or an incredible tool for leadership. Think back to the places and experiences where you have had great meetings and bad meetings. What did you learn to do (or not to do)? What environments were great for meetings and what were crummy?

1. Plan
Why are you meeting? Do you need to meet? Think how many meetings can be accomplished through an email or text message. If you are just getting together to inform others of plans or because you have a meeting on the books...you probably don't need to meet.

2. Purpose
Once you have decided you do need to meet, think about the purpose. What is being decided at this meeting? Who is doing what during the meeting? Perhaps another team member needs to be leading a certain part of the meeting or the entire meeting altogether. Run through a checklist to make sure you are prepped and ready to go. Send out a brief agenda so folks come prepared.

3. Pow-wow
Get your team together. This should be fun as well as serious. I once had a boss that would either meet in a formal room or during a walk to the gas station to get a snack. Great things were accomplished in both settings because the team was just that...a team. They were focused on what was going on and able to collaborate towards shared purpose.

4. Path
Don't leave the meeting until you have a plan for what happens afterwards. Who is following up on what? What tasks are crucial to the goals the team is working towards?

If you put all of this work in and still don't have a plan for afterwards you are going to miss out on all the great work you have done.

Resources Mentioned.
Teams That Thrive: 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership
Nancy Duarte- Meetings: When to Present and When to Converse
Lifehacker-Meeting Checklist
99u- Is this Meeting Necessary?

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

Direct download: PP32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm CDT

One of the parts of the Productive Pastor I love doing is big ideas and big vision. But sometimes life needs to be taken in smaller chunks. The day to day is where we grind things out. So on this episode I want us to talk about two related ideas; list making and bottle necks.

 

Me and the Geek.
My friend Joel Sharpton is a podcast producer and host. His newest show is called "Me and the Geek" and it focuses on people with interests and skill sets and how they geek out in these areas. I was privileged to be on the show last week. You can listen to the episode here.

Lists and Bottlenecks

I think lists are the backbone of productivity. You have to be aware of what you are doing.

There are two kids of lists.

1. Forward projecting

2. Task Catching

Forward projecting lists are acquired from working downwards from a larger project. These are the action items of something much larger. Some of these tasks might be repeatable, or a one time task. Forward projecting lists are great because you can brain storm the necessary items, get input from others (which you are doing) and then find the holes. You don't necessarily have to do this in order, just be able to organize them when you are ready.

Task catching lists are something we all need. Let me ask you this-you are walking down the hall at church on a Sunday morning and someone catches you to ask you a question. They bring up a few things you need to remember for Monday morning. How do you remember them? Everyone needs a task catching method.

Bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks are the place things slow down on your list. It might be a specific type of task or a person a task is designated to. In every project you will hit bottlenecks. For solo pastors, we have to be really honest with ourselves in how we can cause bottlenecks.

Two things help us with bottlenecks.

1. Healthy systems. (Check out Michael Lukaszewski on episode 19. He's a systems jedi).
2. A healthy volunteer ministry. If we look at New Testament leadership, we find out about mobilization and influence. Folks want to be part of something that challenges them AND is well thought out.

Resources Mentioned.
Volunteer Rocket
Teams That Thrive: 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership
Strengthfinders

Links Mentioned.
How I Podcast (My Podcasting Toolbox)
What I Learned Skipping Church

Direct download: TTF31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm CDT