Now is the time to stop wasting time on mindless time fillers. They leave us drained and eventually with lots of work piled up that will just become too overwhelming to even want to deal with.

Spotting mindless time fillers
They are easy to spot: Facebook, video games, cell phones, television. When we do them, we get absolutely nothing accomplished. I’m not saying there is nothing to be accomplished on them but that they can be time killers when not used responsibly. We find ourselves wasting our time on them when we are bored but don’t want to do what actually needs to be done. So they keep us busy filling our time, yes; but are not productive at all.

Stopping mindless time fillers from filling your time:

  • We can stop them from filling our time without quitting them altogether by setting a daily time limit and sticking to it. 30 minutes a day should be long enough as it is not too long, leaving you feeling drained and not too short, leaving you wanting more.
  • Sometimes we waste time because we do not know where to begin. Having a list of things that need to be done will give us a heads up.
  • Stay focused in the task at hand. Turn off notification ring tones, close the Facebook tab and get to work. You will be much more productive and be done with the task before you know it!

Apply these simple steps and be on your way to a more productive you in 2013!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

First let me say that everything Google does for my Android phone is amazing. I mostly use an iPhone but on long trips I switch over to my Droid X because Google Nav is amazing (even better than my Garmin GPS). Google Voice is great for 3 main reasons; Free 2nd phone number, Free voicemail that gets transcribed (typed out for you), and Free text messaging…a 4th reason could be the perfect integration with the phone (which IS available for iPhone), it really is a great app. There are other great Google apps but I want to share my top 14 non-Google apps.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE…In No Specific Order (all from the app store from my phone)

Top 14 Favorite Non-Google Android Apps…

Astrid - To do list with timers
Seesmic – Twitter
Youversion – Bible
Advanced Task Manager – Stop apps one at a time or all at once
Evernote – Remember Everything
Glympse – I can send an email link to let someone follow me via gps
Remote for iTunes – Remote for iTunes
Fake Call – Set a time for your phone to ring, looks like real call
Ringdroid – Create ringtones
TED – Video workshops from leading leaders
Shopsavvy – Best bar code reader/price checker
SportsTap – Great sports score app (better than Google’s)
Monkey Kick Off – Dumb game…I play it for hours
Toddler Lock – Keeps the kids occupied at crucial moments

So many aspects of youth ministry leadership find themselves in direct opposition of each other. The problem is – they both can be necessary and good things. The first step is to identify the tensions of youth ministry, and then figure out how to manage them. Here are a few of them I’ve identified, feel free to add another in the comments if one comes right to mind:

Tasks vs. People
There is work to be done! And administrative work and email is part of the gig. But the tension could push you to fail people or fail at paperwork. You can’t do either one! There is a tension here, but a competent youth pastor has to fight though the tension and balance both well.

Program vs. Relationships
I love a great program – but the programs and services we offer pail in comparison to what the world offers. Yes, we need to spend time crafting and creating incredible programs and creative elements to share the timeless message of Christ. At the same time – we offer so much more than that! We LOVE people! There is another tension at stake, and neither can suffer. Get the program stuff done, even done well, and pour into people.

Crowd vs. Individual
I am a crowd person al the way, but the tension is to find time to focus on the individual. Both are critically important! I live in this tension every week, and must remember that the crowd is made up of individuals. Every moment that you spend with individuals builds your crowd, and in every crowd situation you have to focus on the individual.

One last one for now … this old post from 2008 about Workaholic vs. Passionate Worker might be a good read.

What else do you see as a tension of youth ministry?