One practice could be the most effective way to accomplish almost anything. Pastors who do this have a much greater chance of finishing their work and completing their tasks.
What is this one practice? Well, we could spend the entire blog post building up to the grand announcement, but since you might only read the first two paragraphs, we’ll tell you right up front. The practice is this: writing it down!
How many times has a great idea entered your mind, but before you wrote it down, it was gone, vanished? You didn’t write it down, now you are resigned to hoping it re-enters your mind at some future point in time.
Putting things in writing has a wonderful way of validating their importance. We write down important things. We attach our signatures to important documents. Documents are just fancy papers on which we’ve written things down, whether in our own hand, or on a keyboard.
Want to remember the four passages you want to cover in your sermon in two weeks? Write them down.
Want to know that lady’s name the next time you run into her? Write it down.
Want to visit these three people next week? Write it down.
Want to get those three ministry projects started this month? Write them down.
Want to sort out your thoughts on a complex ministry dilemma? Write them down.
This is such a simple practice, yet so many pastors would have to admit they don’t do this on a regular basis. “Oh, I’ll remember that” we say. Yet we don’t remember, because we haven’t written it down.
This post is coming out on a Friday. If you are reading this on Friday, what are the three most important things you need to accomplish next week? Have you written them out – all the things you need to accomplish next week – so that you can determine which three are most important?
If you have, good job! If you haven’t, will you? If you won’t, is it because what you do in your life and ministry just isn’t that important? Whether or not you get them done doesn’t really matter?
Are your responsibilities just no big deal? Are your people just not that important to you to visit, that you wouldn’t write down their names and which days you want to visit them on?
You know, we can have all kinds of software and hardware, high tech gadgets like cell phones and tablets – but are we missing what could be the single greatest tool for getting things done – a simple piece of paper we keep on our desk or in our pocket, to which we refer two dozen times a day?
When people talk to me (Jeff) in the lobby on a Sunday morning, and they want me to remember something, or do something, I tell them all the same thing: “Send me an email”. What am I asking them to do? Two things: Help me to remember what we’ve talked about. Write it down and send it to me.
My Inbox is my task list for the things I need to do for others. I use it to remind myself that something needs to be done. As I get things done, I delete emails. I will even, at times, send myself an email, my digital way of writing something down.
What if we simply wrote things down? Things that were important. Things that were both urgent and non-urgent. Things that mattered so much that if we missed getting them done, caring for people would hang in the balance.
Write things down. Tasks, goals, projects, names, phone numbers, ideas, deadlines, sermon topics and outlines, illustrations, and priorities. Write things down. If you write something down, you have a much greater chance of getting it done.
Write down your stuff for Sunday, then wake up Sunday morning, look at your paper, and step confidently into your day, knowing you are going to get things done.
Have wonderful weekend!
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