Ministry, as the gift of God to the church, deserves our highest and best, including making the very most of time given to ministry. That is what we come to in this article, for every calling and role in ministry. To do so is to stand in the very stream of biblical understanding: It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . . (Ephesians 4:11-12 NIV).
As a church leader, your most important time management need may be in preparation for worship and ministry. However, it also requires ministry time to care for others, participate in church meetings, office administration, relationship building, community/mission projects, and a host of other services. How can it all get done? Good question. Developing time-management skills is a large step toward practicing servant leadership. By it, you set an example for others, you follow ethical motivation, you equip others for their tasks, you effectively transform activity into mission, and you become more efficient in your own ministry assignments.
Offered here are basic time practices for any minister and five selected ministry functions for making the most of your time. Part I presents the basic practices and ministry function #1; Part II (SL#34) follows with functions #2 through #5, with the implied expectation that any time reclaimed from the “not-important” could be reallocated as more time devoted to “important things.” The goal is not simply increased quantity of work, but a satisfying quality and balance of life including such as family, personal, service to others, and, of course, your job! Sometimes a few basic steps can keep you from repeating the same tasks each week, so let’s start with the basic practices:
Now let us move on to five ministry functions:
“Be Prepared” could be a helpful watchword for those of us in Christian ministry. The Apostle Paul wrote to his young associate Timothy: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim. 4:2 NIV). The following are some “time-use” suggestions for you to consider:
Sample Sermon Worksheet
Preaching Text: ___________________________________________________
Sermon Subject: (1-3 words )_________________________________________
Sermon Title: ______________________________________________________
Central Idea of the text: _______________________________________________________
What does the text say?________________________________________________________
Sermon in a sentence: _________________________________________________________
What does the sermon intend to communicate?_______________________________________
Major objective of the sermon: ____________________________________________________
What do you want others to be or to do?_____________________________________________
Sample Sermon Structure:
Introduction: (several paragraphs): text. textual background, illustration, human need, etc.
Body of the sermon: (each point represents two pages/5-6 minutes each) The sermon should usually be developed by exposition of the text, illustration, argument from other texts or experience, application; may use story form.
Point I. __________________________________________________________________
Point II. _________________________________________________________________
Point III. ________________________________________________________________
(Develop other points as needed; usually not more than 4 or 5 points.)
Conclusions: (a few paragraphs, two minutes or so; this could include the invitation)
Invitation: (brief, specific appeal based on, or implied by the sermon)
Reflection/Application: You need to work on this and make it fit your sense for each sermon.
See SkillTrack® Vol. 5 - Pastoral Preaching: Leading from the Pulpit for guidance in framing, structuring, and developing the sermon and sermon series.
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