Leaders of ministry often lack many resources: volunteers, money, support… the list could be endless. One of the most vital resources is time. The clock is always ticking as the semester, season, or year blazes by … each minute matters.
The biggest reason is because most ministers give even when it is imprudent to do so. The charism of service compels you to continue to give of your time often at the cost of personal prayer time, family time or leisure. This leads to burn out, or leading on empty. Time also matters because there is urgency to sharing the Gospel. Yes, we humans are on a clock and to dust we shall return. The Gospel and a relationship with God are vital pieces to salvation aka heaven, the goal, our end game, victory.
Whether you are a full time minister or a volunteer, what would you do if you had an extra 2-10 hours in your ministry schedule? What would you do if the week before the next retreat or big event you found yourself with 5 extra hours? What would you do? What could God do through you? What could God do in you?
Below is a list of ways to save and shave time off your ministry workload so that you can better focus on God, Self, Family, and those you serve. Stay tuned as these tips have been split into two blogs because your time is precious and 1,500 words in one sitting is longer than the cup of coffee you should be enjoying.
Save Time…Save Souls: The Tips
Events / Retreats
- Flyers & Forms: Make the Flyer and the Sign Up forms 2 different pieces of information. Each serves a purpose and they are separate.
- The flyer promotes the event and creates interest. While it should mention a next step, the next step should be somewhere else, not on the back of the flyer. This does a few things. First, it gives you the freedom to design a flyer that is not cluttered with sections that need to be filled out. Second, it allows you to create ½ page or ¼ page flyers that could be sent home or mailed out easily. Imagine mailing 250 flyers that required a simple postage stamp (currently 35¢), no stuffing envelopes, no fuss, just card stock, a stamp and an address label. Finally, in pointing them to the next step, it creates an opportunity to further capture them. The next step could be “to sign up, go to www…”, but it could also say “to learn more, visit www…” Use this to further sell them on your event and direct them to the form.
- The form should hold the key info the flyer held, especially if it is for a youth event. It should provide clear instruction on what is needed and it should have all that is needed listed. Thus if your church requires a release form and the event center also requires a form, be sure to have both required to be completed in order to sign up. It helps to keep both of these on the same PDF for an easy 1 click sign up. Require these forms to register, do not spend hours chasing them down later.
- No More Deposits: Collect money once. Save yourself the time and trouble of chasing down final payments and simply require the total payment (and all the required paperwork) in order to sign up for the event. If a participant needs a scholarship (and I personally only grant partial scholarships) then grant it to them and require the remaining payment in order to sign up. Exceptions can be made to this. My rule of thumb is if the event is under $300, require total payment to sign up. Yes, give plenty of lead time in promoting it. Yes, if you fund raise (and I don’t, check back for an upcoming blog on why) allow for that before sign up is due. Regardless, if the event is $300-$500, require ½ the cost for the deposit. Then scale it on up from there depending on the cost. This allows the sticker shock to be over and done with from the start and fewer drop outs along the way as participants are pot committed.
- Once a day: During typical operation, check your voicemail once a day. Make exceptions during busy seasons or when prudent. This will allow you to group this task together and allow you to hear common themes with the questions, requests or concerns being voiced. Listen to all of the voice mails, then return them in relation to the urgency you place on them.
- Have a long voicemail message: The purpose of the phone is to communicate. Take advantage of this in your voicemail. I found that the majority of my questions were regarding one aspect of the ministry. In part of my voicemail I state “Information on (insert the biggest program here) can be found at our website. Please review the handbook there, if you have any questions beyond the information there, please leave a message”. Encourage an email for a faster response as email forces them to get to the point of their request a bit faster.The longer voicemail message also creates a higher threshold. Those calling with lower priority tasks will hang up and either deal with them, seek out the answer on their own, or mention it the next time they see you. Please note that all the information in the voicemail should be vital: be quick, direct and the voicemail does not seem long. The urgency created in getting all the info into the message carries over to the caller and often their messages are concise.
- Set your phone directly to voicemail. During key periods of productivity, send all calls directly to voicemail. This saves the caller the time of 4 rings and you from distraction. A vast majority of ministry draws on the creative talent God gives you. Phone calls can be a distraction and seem to put priority on a task the caller may have for you instead of the task God might have for you in that creative moment.
Part 2 Coming Soon!
Stay plugged in for part 2 of this blog coming up! The next tips will include email and how to lead efficient meetings. Comment below with your own tips.