Planning Your Schedule
1 week 7 days
Each a gift from God. Every second is a divine opportunity. Rather than seizing these moments, however, many of us are guilty of squandering our time with mundane, trivial, or lazy lifestyles rather than for God-honoring purposes (Eph 5:16).
A Pastor and His Work
A pastor must develop a plan for his work in order to fulfill his task of shepherding God’s people. It may seem like a pastor’s work is never complete. The endless stream of appointments, emails, sermons, and meetings can feel crushing. This reality is amplified by the fact that we are caring for broken people leading to painful conversations, fractured relationships, and hard choices. The result is often frantic lives, misplaced priorities, and work habits that squander the glorious privilege of leadership in the local church.
As a church planter, four years into my first church pastorate, I have found three critical factors that shape how I plan my work schedule.
God has called me to a specific, God-ordained role in the local church. I am a pastor. But I am not a generic pastor, I am a pastor with certain gifts given by God’s Spirit and placed on a team to use our complementary giftedness to lead God’s people. The team, and the church, function most effectively when I am spending the majority of my time doing the things that God has gifted me to do. These gifts vary from pastor to pastor – from preaching to counseling to administration to leadership. But one thing is certain – No one can do everything. To not do the things that I do best is to neglect the gift of God to me. To do things that others should do (and do better) is to rob them of the joy of using their gifts. You can find your role by asking yourself questions like: • What areas of ministry are the most fruitful for you? • What roles bring you joy and ignite your passions? • What areas of neglect on your part cause the church to suffer? • What are other people on you team gifted to do better than you?
Responsibility My pursuit of my unique role as a leader need not, in fact must not, cloud the fact that I am responsible for doing certain things. I cannot use my personal passions or desires as an excuse for passivity. This is particularly true in the early years of planting a church. Technology may cause us to desire the specialized ministries of men who lead far larger, older, and more mature congregations. We may desire to spend all of our time teaching and writing, but this is not possible. We are responsible for making sure we have a place to meet, children are cared for, and the bills are paid. Often these tasks cannot be delegated. As a result, we must spend some of our time doing generalist tasks, whether we like them or not. Our responsibility forces us to ask: • What tasks must happen each week? • Which ministries must I develop first and which can wait until the church is older? • What must I do or delegate whether I like it or not? • What responsibilities do I need to do now that I may be able to delegate as the church matures?
Rhythm Scheduling roles and responsibilities is a daunting task. To plan well, I must consider how to spend the majority of my best time working in my roles and fill the gaps by working my responsibilities. To do this you must know yourself well. For example, my personal role necessitates that I spend a large amount of time casting vision and teaching. My responsibilities require that I spend some time providing Biblical counseling. Personally, I thrive in the mornings (except Monday mornings) and tend to grow weary in the afternoons. I can often do more between 6:30-7:00am alone than I can 1:00 and 4:00 pm. For this reason, I try to write, teach, and prepare in the mornings while reserving the afternoons for pastoral counseling. This allows me to thrive in the things that I am most needed, while still accomplishing the things that I have to do. To discern my rhythms I ask: • When I am at my best? • Which days or times of the day do I most often get in the zone? • How can I match my roles to my rhythms?
That’s the number of seconds it took me to read this blog. Was it well spent? That question will be answer based on the fruit it bears in your intentional planning of your work schedule.