Time Management Series
“Making Time for Your Ministry - Part II” (SL#34)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 12.1 - Time Management

“Making Time for Your Ministry - Part II” is a continuation of Part I, presenting challenges and suggestions related to four selected ministry functions: #2 through #5. There is an 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 family, personal, service to others, and, of course, your job! Now, let’s continue with time management for ministry functions.

  1. Time for Church/ Team Meetings
    Develop a standard format for planning meetings and agendas. Example:

Group: Deacons Meeting
Agenda: Prepared by chairperson, with pastor
Date: for Monday, September 18, 2006
Time: Start - 7:00 p.m.; Close - 8:30 p.m.
Place: Church Fellowship Hall
Notices: By church office on 9/8/06

Tips for Most Meetings:

Reflection/Application: Apply these suggestions for one of your own specific meetings.

  1. Time for Office Administration

    Answering the Phone: a primary communication link

    Making/Keeping Appointments: meeting with others

    Opening the Mail/E-Mail:

  2. Time for Working with People

Time for Delegation
Delegation frees time for the leader and empowers the other team members! It is an essential act of leadership for both the time saved in the short run and the great unknown things that may be done in the future as your staff begins to claim ownership in the ministry. Delegation enhances the possibility that “my ministry” will become “our ministry” at the same time that your leadership can spend more time on the overall vision. Important elements of delegation:

  1. Time for Ministry Projects
    How do you keep your ministry projects moving forward with confidence? The following will serve as a checklist of project components.

Just the Story to Conclude
[from an unknown source]

One day an expert was speaking to a group of business students about time management. He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in, and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!”

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One student raised their hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

Reflection/Application: The purpose of this series of articles has been to present time management as you, that you can fulfill all your responsibilities and still make sure the big things stay first. In fact, that may be the only way to balance all your true responsibilities. If you manage your time with mission and balance, overcome your time-wasters, and plan/prepare with thoughtful efficiency, you will be on your way to truly “having the time of your life!”

Ministry Time Planning: Not every person has the same ministry functions and expectations. You can adapt the format in these articles by making a list of your own specific ministry functions. Then create your own ministry time management plan by selecting five to eight of the most productive suggestions you will put into practice. And I do hope that you “have the time of your life.”

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 © 2006 servantleaderstoday.com; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at www.servantleaderstoday.com
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership