Do you have a plan as to how you use your time?
Most of us in rural ministry function without a staff. Some, like me, have part time help with a specific area. I have a part time youth pastor and a part time secretary. We have a number of very willing and able volunteers. And I have a great Elders Board to work with, but the reality is that much of what happens in our church depends on my leadership and input.
You know how that works, right?
So how do you plan your day and your week, your month and your year?
THE BIG PICTURE:
About twice a year I take a day or so to plan the year. I like doing this in June so I am prepared when September hits.
I plan most of the sermons for the year. I try to do series from a book of the Bible most of the time, but there are times that I specifically follow a theme for a few weeks. For example -I’m doing a four week series on prayer beginning on Family Day. We’ll have a special day to invite friends to church and then let them know they can join us for the next four weeks for a marriage series. I plan the whole year, even getting a brief them in place for each Sunday, if possible. It’s good to have a general idea when you will be on holidays or needing a guest speaker.
I plan when to do our Big Days. We have four Big Days throughout the year which are a special “bring-a-friend” Sundays. We do a Fall Kickoff time day at the end of September. Last year we made it into a Chili Cook – off and had 12 or 13 entries. We do a Family Day Celebration in February. We do an Easter Eggstravaganza on Easter Sunday, and we do a Church service as part of the annual Aggie Days weekend.
I plan when to do special ceremonies. I plan when to promote and do Baptism, Child Dedications, and Membership Sundays.
BREAKING IT DOWN:
As we work our way through the year I will look at each month and week at a time.
I usually work with our Secretary to do a monthly calendar. This gets information out to people, but also means I have to have more details figured out at least a month in advance. This also helps me to recognize when to begin promoting our events.
I begin my week on Tuesday, after a day off on Monday. I usually take some of the morning to evaluate the weekend and think through if there is any followup needed with people or with things that happened.
Tuesday is also when I figure out my events of the week: what appointments do I have, what meetings do I need to prepare for, and what is the theme and Scripture of next week’s sermon. Everybody probably has their own preferred method of planning your day, but I always keep a running list, even prioritized as order of importance for the week. Each day I begin the day with reworking and updating my schedule with anything new that has come up.
Rural ministry usually means that much of what happens falls into the lap of the pastor, but if we are organized and intentional with our days and week, we can make sure we still follow through on what needs to be done.
I have found that being intentional helps me to accomplish more and gives me ways to fill my days with meaningful work. I also feel less overwhelmed if I plan ahead and then break things down week by week.
I hope you are enjoying your ministry and not feeling overwhelmed.
May God do great things through you.