I want you to take a moment to reflect on how you and your staff spend your time. Think of this as taking inventory—something we as churches don't normally have to do. Consider this taking inventory of your time.
- What takes up most of your week?
- What conversations dominate your staff meetings?
- What tasks overwhelm your time?
- What to-dos are on your list?
Inventory is easier for a company that creates and sells something. They invest time and money into a product, and the amount that product earns determines whether or not their investment was worth it. They go back, evaluate the process, and figure out ways to shave down the investment and increase the return.
But taking inventory of our time—figuring out our where our effort and energy goes—is just as important.
So I'm going to take you through several steps today—you can either do them on your own or with your staff. But I hope, by the end, you'll have a better idea of what you should do more of, what you should do less of, and what you can scrap altogether.
Grab a large sheet of paper, or a whiteboard, and several different colored markers. Don't worry about being neat, think of this as a brainstorm.
Let's get started.
- What is your goal as a church? Define it as succinctly as you're able because this is the measuring stick we're going to use to evaluate your efficiency.
- Make a list of all recurring tasks and meetings. Write down everything you can think of—don't skip an item, no matter how small it is.
- Organize those tasks into categories. The categories might be administrative, marketing, service planning, service executing, relational, etc.
- Next to each item, write how long it takes you or the member of your staff responsible. How much time does it take someone to make the bulletins? How many hours a week are spent on social-media content creation? How many hours do you spend physically setting up the sanctuary for services? This list goes on...
Now comes the evaluation. Remember, the goal here isn't to do away with tradition, but rather, to make sure we're being good stewards of our time and money, using each to work toward the realization of our main goal.
So now, with a different color marker, here's the next step:
- Go through your list and circle all items that don't directly serve your overall goal.
- Now, with a different color marker, circle the items that take more time than you think are necessary.
- Now, in a separate space, brainstorm a list of new ideas, new projects and new events that would directly serve to accomplish the goal you set out in step one.
It's easy to get so used to spending our time and our energy and our money in certain ways that we forget there was ever a different way to do it. We avoid trying new ideas. And when we look at our weeks, months and years as a whole, we realize we've spent a lot of our time working on things that really didn't matter, that didn't serve to accomplish our goals at all.
It's also how we get stale.
The rest of this inventory is up to you.
As a staff, take a look at the tasks you're completing that have nothing to do with your goal. It may feel uncomfortable, and you may ruffle a few feathers, but what would happen if you streamlined those tasks, or did away with them altogether?
It would most likely free up your time and your resources for something with a greater, more far-reaching impact.
We have been given a finite amount of time and money and people, and it's up to us to use them well, stewarding them in the best way to make the maximum impact for the Kingdom of God.
With more than a dozen years of local-church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership and MinistryCoach.tv, all while staying involved in the local church.
For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.
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