Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, February 23, 2007

From Doer to Designer

I think one of the best ways to increase personal productivity as a pastor is to intentionally move from the role of doer to the role of designer. Moving from doer to designer is all about leveraging your time and energy.

Pastors complain all the time about the church expecting them to do all of the ministry. And pastors know that their real job is to empower others to do ministry. But the pastor isn't really doing anything about it. Even when the pastor thinks he is empowering others, often he's really just willy-nilly dumping responsibility on someone else.

So the pastor has to become a designer. I'm talking about the pastor becoming process-oriented, designing workflows, and establishing best practices. This means writing down every important detail of every regular church process and publishing it.

Note of Caution: I'm not talking about the pastor becoming the only designer in the church. The pastor doesn't have to write down all the processes by himself. But the entire church needs to become a place where well-designed processes and well-documented workflows are the norm.

Once the processes are designed and documented, they become great tools for training (empowering) people to do ministry. That way, people don't have to reinvent the wheel each time they do something, or scramble each time a ministry volunteer moves away. With a well-designed and documented process, you have an established standard for accountability. If the process isn't working, your document can be a great diagnostic tool to see where it's breaking down.

I really believe people want to be involved in ministry. And I believe they want to be successful. But too many times, they don't know what the job entails. They don't have clear outcomes and processes to look at. So they don't know what to do. And they don't do it. And they feel like they're failing at serving the Lord. And you wonder why people just aren't volunteering anymore.

The doer/designer problem is a major reason small companies fail to become large - the entrepreneur who started the business has all of the standards and processes. But they're trapped in the entrepreneur's brain. And when it's time for the business to grow, the small business owner is overwhelmed with so much to do and doesn't know the next step. The next step: go from doer to designer. Design and document all of your processes.

This will take extra time up front, but it will save you lots of time, energy, volunteers, relationships, and sanity in the long run. And who knows, it may just be what you need to move your church to the next level.

P.S. I really suggest going through the Ministry Advantage Pastor's Coaching System to help you make the transition from doer to designer.

1 comment:

Carl said...

hi Jay,

I'm not a pastor, but in my experience in churches and church institutions (such as, for instance, the one I'm working in now), there is generally far too little attention given to designing healthy processes. And one of the characteristics of good process is that it's transparent (or, as you put it, "published"). Thanks for pushing this.

And thanks for your comment on my GTD post! Best of luck in your journey to becoming a more organized and effective pastor.