Manage Your Calendar So It Doesn’t Manage You

How Calendar Rules Help You Stay on Track

The skill and discipline to manage your calendar is an essential leadership tool. I don’t know any pastor who feels like they are accomplishing everything they wish they could. Our to-do lists are often endless and they start over every Monday. How often have your felt like your calendar was managing you rather than you maintaining the ability to manage your calendar? Calendar rules will help.

The Go Commission Manage Your Calendar

This article is a repost of  classic content.

My pastor taught me to divide the day into three sections for morning, noon, and night. His philosophy was to work 14 of those sections and take 7 of them off. It’s a rule that ensures that we balance rest and work. But, it doesn’t address all the things we need to work through to be sure our calendar doesn’t manage us.

Al Ells, of Leaders That Last Ministries, introduced me to the idea of calendar rules. Calendar rules are boundary statements that help us manage our calendar. Ells defined calendar rules as “a discipline that guides your time.” After listening to him, I realized that I have some calendar rules. But, I hadn’t called them that or thought them through in the way he presented them.

One of the calendar rules that I have is to get out of town once per quarter. It might be a vacation, an out of town meeting, or a trip to visit family. Keeping this rule helps me release the stress of my day to day responsibilities.

Another rule I follow is to use all my vacation each year. I’ve known too many pastors who work continually and burn themselves out. One retired pastor I know had a rule that he never socialized on Saturday evening. He used the time to relax and prepare his mind for the heavy responsibilities on Sunday.

Ells suggested that calendar rules can be written for during the week, weekends, quarterly, annually, phone calls, email, social media, games, weddings, baptisms, and funerals. You might want to develop rules about sermon preparation, meetings, community service, or study.

You have more to do than you can get done. Calendar rules will help you keep your priorities and your sanity.

Click Here for the Calendar Rules Worksheet

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known

There are so many things I wish I had known when I began ministry. All I knew about ministry was from watching and working with my pastor. He was very open to helping me and gave me opportunities to serve. But, most of my training came on the job.

I Wish I Had Known. Skills for Ministry. The Go Commission

The list of things that I wish I had known could be very long. Here are some that bubble to the top of the list.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Began Ministry

1. How to Define and Cast Vision

This wasn’t taught as part of my preparation for ministry. I am still learning how to do it well.

2. How to Engage with the Community

The only thing I knew about engaging the community was to take evangelistic surveys at the mall. I learned this during my Evangelism Explosion training. Otherwise, I waited for people to show up at church.

3. How to Develop Leaders

Evangelism Explosion training was a good model for preparing new evangelists. New trainees were always paired with experienced people. The curriculum was well defined. I should have applied those principles to every area of the church.

4. How to Plan and Set Goals

I was introduced to the Pastor’s Planning Workbooks from the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth early in my ministry. They helped me to start setting a foundation for goal setting and planning.

Here are links to the workbooks. I am sharing them with the assumption that they are out of print. Please contact me if this is not true.

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 1

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 2

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 3

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 4

5. How to Manage My Time

I am forever thankful to Pastor Forrest Plants for taking me the Managing Your Time Seminar by World Vision. It was the only time I heard Ted Engstrom in person. The opening lecture was Time Is Life.

Take Time to Work – It is the Price of Success

Take Time to Think – It is the Source of Power

Take Time to Play – It is the Secret of Perpetual Youth

Take Time to Read – It is the Fountain of Wisdom

Take Time to be Friendly – It is the Road to Happiness

Take Time to Dream – It is Hitching Your Wagon to a Star

Take Time to Love and be Loved – It is the Privilege of Redeemed People

Take Time to Look Around – It is Too Short a Day to be Selfish

Take Time for God! – It is Life’s Only Lasting Investment

No one ever fully learns these skills. They grow with experience. I hope this will help you think through some of the skills that you can develop.

What do you wish you had known when you began your ministry?

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