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.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Getting Things Done - Returned Calls!

My mom quit leaving me voicemail. It happened about a year ago. Come to think of it, I guess everyone else quit leaving me voicemail too. I guess they all just finally gave up hope of me ever calling them back.

One of the unintended and unforeseen benefits of GTD recently came to my attention when I was doing last week's GTD Mastery Review. #59 says, "I always return phone calls within 24 hours, usually within 2-12 hours, with none lost or forgotten." And to my own great surprise, I checked it off.

One of the greatest sources of my pastoral stress (and even mild paranoia) was the fact that people wanted to get in touch with me. So they would leave me a message. I would listen to it and intend to call them back. No, really! I intended to call back.

I might even save the voice message, if I thought it was really, really, really important (or if it was too detaily for me to remember).

And then the messages would sit in my brain until I forgot them or in my "saved messages" until my phone would alert me that they were about to be erased. In a moment of panic, I would listen to them all, hoping I hadn't forgotten something important.

(And I would feel rather smug. All of the things had been taken care of. Without me ever having to return one phone call.)

Well, when I started GTD, all of that changed. I only checked my messages when and where I could write them down. No more checking voicemail in my car or whenever it came in no matter where I was.

That's all. No big trick. Once I started capturing the voicemails into my GTD system, I automatically started calling people back.

So, if you're one of those people who quit leaving me messages... try it again. I've found my brain and know what to do with it now.

Small Print: this offer not available if you call my home phone or if I really don't want to talk to you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Always Take Someone With You

Don't do anything alone as a pastor that you could be doing with someone else.

Do you need to make a hospital visit? Take someone.
Are you going to a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce? Invite someone.
Are you teaching a baptismal class? Bring an elder along.
Are you going to a conference? Take someone.
Are you planning an upcoming sermon series? Include someone in the process.
Are you going out to lunch this afternoon? Take someone with you.

Jesus sent His disciples out two-by-two in Luke 10 to go and preach and teach, cast out demons, and heal the sick. When they come back in verses 17 and 18, Jesus says "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

There is something powerful about doing ministry as a team (two or more people together). Here are some major benefits that no pastor can afford to ignore:
  • Spiritual Power - Biblically, there seems to be something very spiritually important about working in teams. Adam had Eve as a helpmate; Moses needed Aaron; Elijah had Elisha; Barnabas mentored Paul; Paul worked with Silas; Paul trained Timothy; etc. I think it's significant that Jesus made a behind-the-scenes spiritual comment about Satan falling like lightning when the disciples went out two-by-two into ministry.
  • Accountability - A team member can keep us accountable in several ways. They can help us make sure we are being honest and transparent. They can keep us accountable to right thinking and a right relationship with God. They can keep us accountable to our stated vision and goals.
  • Training for Ministry - If you don't spend time with people, you can't train up the next generation of gospel workers. You'll be able to delegate a lot easier if you have already brought someone to a level of familiarity with the task. Maybe the person has skills or interests that can be used to grow God's kingdom. You won't know if you aren't spending time with them.
  • Transfer of Vision - Vision is caught, not taught. You can't transfer the vision that God has put on your heart by teaching a class or having people fill in the blanks. My senior pastor used to drive me around town, pointing out land that would make a great site for a new church. He would drive me through parts of town where we had no church members. We would pray together. We would brainstorm. He was transferring vision.
  • Relationship - Pastoring (especially in a small church) is all about relationships. Are you building relationships for God's Kingdom? Are you deepening relationships within the body of believers? Relationships take time.

Bottom line: Don't do it alone. You weren't meant to. Pastors already feel isolated. There's no need to compound that by neglect.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Megachurch Pastor Craig Groeschel on Time Management

Over at the Lifechurch.tv Swerve Blog, Pastor Craig Groeschel is doing a 5-part series on Time Management.

Craig is an amazing communicator and the founding Pastor of a very innovative multi-campus megachurch in Edmond, OK.

His Time Management Blog Series is called Don't Do It All. He really focuses on delegation as a necessary part of leadership and time management. He also talks about churches trying to do too much in areas that don't matter for the Kingdom.

One of the things that really spoke to me was his assertion that people don't delegate for one of two reasons:
  1. Poor Leadership Skills
  2. Pride

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

GTD on Technorati's WTF

I just wrote a "Where's the Fire" description of Getting Things Done on Technorati.com.

If you think this is a pretty good description of why GTD is hot, you can vote for this to be the WTF default GTD entry. Go there and vote now.

For those of you who would just rather read it here:

GTD Creates Peace of Mind with a Simple Process

David Allen's personal productivity masterpiece, Getting Things Done (GTD), has taken the world by storm.

Teaching no new or complicated skills (only a process putting them all together), GTD provides a leak-proof system for time management and personal productivity. By getting all of the clutter out of your head and into the system, you have more mental (and emotional) energy and capacity to do creative thinking and amazing things.

Online, GTD has a cult-like following. Some people have called it religious:

  • Scripture - Getting Things Done
  • Messiah - David Allen
  • Prophet - Merlin Mann
  • Church - The Weekly Review
  • Converts - Our lives have been changed
  • Evangelists - Everyone telling everyone else how our lives have been changed

GTD has sparked an entire cottage industry of DIY tips, tricks, and hacks. There are online applications and software programs galore, for anyone who cares to try them out looking for the perfect one.

Mostly, GTD is popular because it just makes sense. Once you do it, you'll realize you should have been doing it all along. Life just makes sense when you're Getting Things Done.

From First-time Visitors to Church Members

Guest Path and Assimilation Funnel FlowchartEvery church needs a well-thought-out system for assimilating people.

It's a stewardship issue. I really believe that God will not entrust more visitors to you than your church is spiritually, physically, or organizationally capable of dealing with. If you don't know how to deal with them when they come, don't worry; you won't have to.

This used to be real hit-and-miss in my church (and, from what I'm told, in most smaller or older churches). People would come in. We might or might not have any meaningful conversation with them. We might or might not get any contact information from them. They might or might not come back. And then if they did, we still didn't know what to do. I guess we just hoped they'd ask for Bible studies or magically show up in the pastor's class. Or if they came enough times, we'd finally get to know them and get information about them. And then we could visit them.

The guest book never did the trick.

So we worked on an intentional Guest Path and Assimilation System. This is basically a funnelling process that takes people on a journey from "casual contact" to "full discipleship."

Here's a general (non-detailed) overview:

Get people into the Worship Service.
Get worship attendees into Pizza with the Pastor.
Get Pizza with the Pastor attendees into Cornerstone 101.
Get Cornerstone 101 attendees into the Pastor's Class.

People may skip some steps and end up directly in the Pastor's Class their first week. That's fine. But people still need to go through Cornerstone 101 before they can join the church.

I'll be talking in more detail about these structures in future posts. In the mean time, you can download a PDF overview of the system.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Getting Things Done - Shower Power

Bathtub Crayons to Capture Ideas in the ShowerI just got back from Toys "R" US!

I bought crayons!

Something nice for my son's upcoming birthday? No. For me. For GTD.

I wrote previously about how I had a bunch of ideas in the shower and didn't have a good way to capture them. Pascal Venier left me a link to "A Shower of Ideas". He had a phone (for voice memos), a white board, a note pad, and pens. But nothing really for recording thoughts IN the shower.

Did you know Crayola makes "Bathtub Crayons?" Now I can mindmap a sermon series right in the shower! Imagine all of the tiles as a big wall of graph paper... And it all wipes away when you wash it off.

Now I can finally capture everything everywhere. And I can write love notes to my wife.

Getting Things Done - Car Capturing

Last week, I posted about not capturing my ideas. One of my biggest issues was not capturing thoughts, ideas, and to-dos while in the car. I can't write while driving and I don't have a voice memo recorder.

Veggiegrrl left a useful comment:
I use my cell phone to call and leave a message on my voicemail at work. Then I don't have to remember to retrieve anything from the car -- it's waiting at my desk when I get there.

Since then, I've called maybe 15 capture items in during my drive time. Problem solved! No more lost ideas! Thanks, Veggiegrrl!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Getting Things Done - Weekly Mastery Review

During today's weekly review, I scored myself on Duff's 100 Behaviors to GTD Mastery Checklist. I came out at 28. Yes, that's 28 out of 100.

I resolved to read Getting Things Done a second time through (#27).

I have made several copies of the Mastery Checklist and put them in my tickler file. I will be using the checklist every week during my review time to identify the next steps on my journey toward GTD Mastery.

A [deceptively] Simple Buy-in Process

I wrote a previous post on getting buy-in from the board. But not all of your biggest influencers are on the board. How did that happen?

You need the support of your biggest influencers to make a success of any major initiative - changing a church name, buying/selling property, changing church organizational structure, raising money to hire a Bible worker, creating a new outreach focus, starting a second worship service, etc.

Obviously, the more people you put into this process, the better. Small churches operate like a large (dysfunctional) family. So everyone has to be considered an influencer. In medium and large churches, make sure you get buy-in from ministry leaders, committee members, and major donors. In very large and mega churches, you only need buy-in from the planning team and staff (that's a very simplistic way of looking at it).

Make a 3 column document:

Those who will make it happen
Those who will let it happen
Those who will keep it from happening

Write down as many people as possible into this document. Then focus all of your energy into getting influencers to move left just one column. You want the "keepers" to become "letters." And you want the "letters" to become "makers."

According to Gary McIntosh in One Size Doesn't Fit All, the influence process needs to be bottom-up through key families in a small church, middle-out through committees and ministry teams in medium-sized churches, and top-down from the staff in very large churches.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Documents, Processes, and Worksheets (oh, my!)

Here are updated links to some of my processes and worksheets. Feel free to use them as you deem fit. They are registered under a Creative Commons License: Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike – CreativeCommons.org
Time Management:
Personal Vision Workbook (now a book):
Sermon Planning: