Sometimes ministry is all about theory and creativity. We talk about dreams and visions we have for our ministries, but sometimes ministry is about paperwork and planning. Depending on your role in ministry you may spend a significant time planning and doing office work or maybe you are mostly out of the office. Either way, your job is probably full of a multitude of tasks that are often unrelated.
After experiencing the pain of trying to juggle all of my responsibilities by memory, I came to the point where I needed to have a better approach in order to keep stuff from getting dropped. My answer was to come up with a work flow for my week.
I realized that most of my week followed a pattern. Preparations for Wednesday night programs were being done Monday and Tuesday, Mondays were full of follow-up and check requests. Thursdays were used to get Sunday programs worked out. Noticing this flow, I constructed a super simple list of the things that I would work on each day of the week. Each day I have a list of the major things that I need to accomplish. This list gives me a great framework for building my day and helps me to focus on accomplishing the stuff that really needs to be accomplished.
One of the hard parts about working in ministry, which is also one of the great parts about working in ministry, is that you pretty much control your schedule and what you do. Outside of certain weekly expectations, you basically have to be self-motivated and entrepreneurial. It’s great not having someone stand over your shoulder telling you what to do, but if you are not a self-starter, it can be a recipe for laziness and mismanaged time. That is where I have found my work flow to be extremely helpful. There are days when I am worn out from activities the day before or from nights when my kids decided to wake up every hour, but having a set task list each day ensures that what needs to get done gets done.
One other benefit for doing things this way is that it forces you to be better prepared for your events and programs. I now have no excuse to be planning Wednesday night activities on Wednesday afternoon, that was Monday and Tuesday’s job.
In case it helps, here are my essential projects for each day:
Monday: Hospital visits, Sunday follow-ups, check requests, website updates, Wednesday night planning.
Tuesday: Staff meeting and staff lunch, send out Sunday curriculum for our morning and evening programs, finish Wednesday night details
Wednesday: Work on upcoming events, lunch at schools, Facebook page update, lunch with other student ministers
Thursday: Finish Sunday details, missions team responsibilities, volunteer encouragement, Wednesday follow-ups, lunch at schools
Keep in mind that these are just the must-be-done-every-week things. And yes, Wednesday has two lunches. Built onto this work flow are things like gearing up for events, random meetings, preparing for fill-in sermons, and all other kinds of random duties. The key for me is that I have some level of accountability, even to myself, that the schedule is followed as closely as possible. Hope this helps.