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.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Science of Productivity.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Law of the Snake Pit

From One Size Doesn't Fit All by Gary L. McIntosh, p.102:

"I've heard two viewpoints.  One says not to change anything during the first year.  The other says to change as much as you can in the first year.  Which is correct?"

"I suggest that in the early years of ministry in a new church you follow the Law of the Snake Pit: Keep moving, but don't make any sudden jerks."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Five Guiding Principles of Effective Ministry

From One Size Doesn't Fit All by Gary L. McIntosh, p. 80:

McIntosh says you should run every decision that you make as a pastor and as a church through this grid to make sure you are focusing on the right things:

  1. The Principle of Visionary Leadership
    A church grows when decisions are made based on the intention of bringing new people into the church.
  2. The Principle of Human Resource Utilization
    A church grows when decisions provide the staff, leadership, and resources needed to focus on outreach.
  3. The Principle of "Open Doors"
    A church grows when decisions create opportunities for new people to enter into the life of the congregation.
  4. The Principle of Incorporation
    A church grows when decisions spawn ways to incorporate new people into the social circles of the membership.
  5. The Principle of Finance
    A church grows when decisions adequately finance local outreach activities.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What to Do First?

I've been on the ground in my new church district for almost three weeks now.

I've been doing a lot of unpacking and moving things around and trying to get settled into our new house.  Kendra has started her new job teaching a couple of classes.  Nathaniel has started second grade at a new school and gymnastics at a new gym.

I've preached a sermon in each church and I've attended an elders meeting.

How do you get up to speed in a new church district?

Here's what I've done:
  • Started weekly meetings with the associate pastor
    • learning about who he is and what exactly he does
    • learning about who the (elected and de facto) leaders are
    • learning about the current ministry structure
    • learning about pitfalls and areas of opportunity
    • learning about recent church history and why things are the way they are
    • learning about what's on the calendar
    • chosen a book to read through and discuss together
  • Started working on some upcoming sermon series
    • Heaven in My Heart
    • Children's Bible Heroes
    • Advent
  • Started meeting with elders and church leaders individually
    • getting to know them
    • trying to figure out the big picture
  • Ordered the NCD survey
  • Started exercising more regularly
Here's what I think need to do next:
  •  Administer the NCD survey
    • assess the church's health in 8 quality areas
    • evaluate a starting point
    • start work on two "minimum factors"
  • Continue meeting with elders and leaders individually
  • Move into the church office
  • Establish my regular office hours and work routine
  • Try not to change the whole world all at once
Any advice?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starter, Sustainer, or Finisher?

We recently packed up all of our things and made a cross-country move from Minnesota to California.  I will be the Senior Pastor of the San Luis Obispo Seventh-day Adventist Church and also have oversight of the Morro Bay SDA Church.  The people here are wonderful and I'm really looking forward to leading this exceptionally gifted church district!

I have been an expert at setting up systems for success at the beginning, making sure that the foundation is strong for the vision.

But I've heard it said that lots of people start well and that it's finishing well that really makes all the difference.

And at a recent leadership conference, Bill Hybels spoke about how a vision is most vulnerable in the middle (not the beginning or end).

So, what's most important?  Starting?  Sustaining?  Finishing?

All three are important!  And you must have people and processes in place to make sure all three get done.

When we were packing for our recent move, this came out clearly.  I had a vision for how the packing was supposed to go.  I was getting rid of things we didn't need, packing up the large things, and getting everything going so it would all fit in the PODs we rented.

But the closer we came to moving day, the less energy and vision I had.  When my brother and mother-in-law showed up to help, it was exactly what we needed to sustain all of the packing fervor.

The day before the move, I was basically shut down.  I no longer had any vision or energy for packing the small things and dealing with finishing well.  Thankfully, as I was shutting down on all of the detail things, my lovely wife was gearing up as she could see the finish line and see that things were now manageable.

In any project, you need to be sure you have people and processes in place to start well, sustain forward momentum, and finish well.  You need visionaries, workers, and managers to bring a project through to the end.

Are you a good starter?  A sustainer?  A finisher?  I'd love to hear your perspectives.