You just don’t have enough time for everything.

It doesn’t matter how well you manage your schedule. Someone is going to demand more of you than you’re able to give.Wasting-Time

One of the best books I’ve read is Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley. Its summary is simply that you’re going to cheat people out of your time, and you have to choose who that will be on a daily basis. The challenge is to make sure no one feels “cheated.”

I first thought that meant I needed to develop a personal value statement as my personal filter for how I spent my time. I later realized that the ministry I served in needed its own values statements for the same reason.

Note how that’s a plural concept. A good one-line mission statement will get you rolling in what you try to do, but several value statements help you foster the culture you’re going to do them in.

Here are our church’s 12 “Family Values” that help us figure out what’s worth spending time on.

    • We put God first in all things. God isn’t just the cherry at the top of our lives—he’s the spoon through whom we approach every part of the “sundae.” Instead of just turning to him about some things, we will follow him in everything.

 

    • We love people and will share Jesus with them. It’s up to us to make the next move that lets others experience God through us. We say nobody’s “no” for them—we give them reasons to say yes. Like Jesus, we receive people where they are and speak truth that guides them out of sin and into life.

 

    • We embrace the tensions of the Bible. The Bible wasn’t given to make us know-it-alls, but to foster wonder and wisdom that leads to conversation and conversion.

 

    • We reclaim what’s Normal and reframe what’s common. There is an “original good” in all people and things that we join our Creator in recovering…we won’t settle for the way things are. What’s common isn’t Normal; what’s Normal isn’t common.

 

    • We create as many on-ramps as possible. Everything we do will help outsiders become insiders so the lost can become found and the young in faith can become mature.

 

    • We learn how to feed ourselves and others spiritually. We’re not going to stay baby Christians but will take hold of what it means become disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

 

    • We own and overlap our circles. Every person has a unique life-calling and care-network they’re to discover, take hold of and overlap with others for an epic impact.

 

    • We form community instead of waiting for it to happen. Proximity doesn’t equal intimacy.  We won’t  wait for community, but will make intentional investments that make it happen.

 

    • We work stuff out with a stubborn love. When we get upset, we don’t exit. Reconciliation honors Jesus Christ, especially when it’s hard, in our relationships and church.

 

    • We are intergenerational and age-appropriate. Every person, regardless of age, has something to offer another person, regardless of age.

 

    • We spend our words and our stuff generously to further God’s Kingdom. We go above and beyond what feels comfortable to see life change above and beyond what feels expected.

 

  • We are a growing church. Our size is determined by God’s calling to reach more people with him. We cannot become small-minded or comfortably sit back when he’s called us to be open-hearted, carry our cross, and join him locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

I’m well aware how hard all of that would be to memorize. Someone would argue that we should distill those down and have 3 to 5 phrases that sum them up. Perhaps one day we will, but right now we don’t need to. Our leadership team spent a year meeting with every household in our church and we discovered these phrases have become “sticky” church-wide based on messages I’ve shared, things others have said, and initiatives we’ve taken part in together.

cultureIn other words, everyone knows these values even if they can’t fully articulate them.

We’ve created a culture where we know what’s worth “wasting time on.” Where that comes in handy is if I have to spend time on one thing versus another thing, I have a community who understands why. They’ll compensate for me in other areas as needed so I can do what I need to do in what’s most needed.

Do you think this is possible in your ministry or church? What have you learned in this process? Maybe we can teach each other something.

Thank you for loving students!

Tony

@tonymyles

*Love Tony’s insight on service and youth ministry? Receive his articles every Tuesday when you sign up for the SYM Today Newsletter!*

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article.2013.01.29Church office hours—what a great subject! And while this might not specifically apply to everyone getting the newsletter, we’re hoping there are some principles that will help everyone, whatever their role is in youth ministry. So how do you make the administrative side of ministry work? Here are a few ideas that have helped me a ton:

Make your preferred method of communication known.
If you are a phone person, put your phone number everywhere and on everything. If you hate the phone (like me!) make sure that everything points to the way you work best. In my case, email is the most effective way to manage the incoming streams of information, complaints, and requests. I still check voicemail occasionally and have learned to live with another inbox (thanks, Facebook) but I want to make sure people know where I’m most available and where they can get the best results. Otherwise someone may be expecting an immediate phone call in return when that priority is much further down on my list. Go public with how you tick.

Don’t let others manipulate your time.
Every meeting has a starting time; why shouldn’t it have an ending time as well? Meetings, committees, and unexpected drop-ins have a way of eating up an enormous chunk of our day. And I need more Facebook time (just kidding). So when you start a meeting, lay out the goals and the time they need to be met by. When someone drops by, early in the conversation let them know your boundaries to help them find their way to the point of the drive-by. Of course, the idea here is not to create an assembly line of care or artificial community, just a candid revelation that at times you have to have good boundaries in every area of your life—even office visits.

Drop everything for pastoral care.
Okay, you might read that and go too far with it. But you are never more valuable then when there is a crisis. Get to the hospital as soon as you can. Rearrange that lunch with an old friend from college so you can go to the funeral. Don’t miss the big things, and at least be aware of the small things. Of course, remember this principle has boundaries as well, but as a general rule: When a crisis shows up, you do, too.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.



So thankful for the guys over at Magnum Clock who donated a killer TT4040-C (the same one we’ve got!) as a giveaway here on the blog. All you had to do to win was enter your senior pastor’s average message length in the comments of the post. The winner, chosen at random was Charlie!

Thanks to everyone who entered and be sure to swing by Magnum Clocks and check out their awesome gear that might help keep track of time in your youth ministry or church!

JG

One of the critical skills of a youth worker is time management. The wise old saying is true — if you don’t manage your time it will manage you. We’re actually not even sure if that is an old saying or not, but we heard it somewhere, and it makes sense! We’ve also heard youth workers (ourselves included) lament about their lack of time management skills. Because it’s an important skill, and because most of us aren’t very good at it, we thoughts we’d share a few basic tips to help you out:

Write stuff down
Ah, the power of technology! You can use Microsoft Outlook, iCal or Google to help you schedule your life. They sync your computer with your phone and can even be shared with a spouse or church secretary so everyone can be in the loop on what you’re up to. Not into technology? Pick up a Moleskin notebook or Day Planner and physically write things down if you would like. The point is time management starts when we start trying to remember everything and we start writing stuff down! As the great time managers, En Vogue, would say: “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”

Manage your meetings
When someone asks for your time, it is helpful to get an idea of what the conversation is going to be about so you can be prepared for how long it will take. Don’t assume meetings need to be a full hour (like Outlook, etc all do by default). Instead, get in the habit of scheduling meetings that vary based on the specific need. Be generous with your time, it is a valuable gift to give someone else. At the same time, don’t be afraid keep meetings on track and timely.

Make meals matter
One of the best opportunities you have in your schedule is lunch! You have to eat — and so do the people you want to meet with or want to meet with you. If you’re looking to meet with a mentor or ask for time with your senior pastor or supervisor, get them to food and chances are it’ll help you get to them!

Be OK with a day that got away from you
Recently we have both had days that got away from us. At dinner that night, or even later in the evening, you ask yourself “what did I accomplish today?” and you can’t really put your finger on anything significant. These kind of days are part of youth ministry, and will never be completely eliminated. Managing your time and schedule is important, but make sure that you are listening to God’s leading and asking Him to show you who needs His love through you today.

What are other best practices to help manage your time? We’ll be back tomorrow with our favorite tools that may be helpful for you, too!

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.