Don’t you just get the shivers up your spine when you hear a conference or seminar speaker mention the words “time management” or “focus” or “priorities”? Oooooh, I love to hate them so much! We in the western world certainly fixate on time, productivity, and effectiveness. Sometimes it would just be nice to live in one of those cultures where clocks don’t matter, and relationships way trump tasks and productivity. What did you say... that’s what heaven is going to be like? Oh, good! Because from the time we are children, we are taught, however unwittingly, that the clock rules our lives!
Cultures in Africa and South America, among others, do not share our American values of profit, time management, effectiveness, efficiency, task orientation, and productivity. Other things like, relationships, relaxation, appreciation of nature and life, and oh, sleep, are much more important. They value conversation, presence, an afternoon nap, procrastination, and doing things well rather than quickly.
The increased opportunities to travel in the 20th century brought situations where two groups of people found themselves in the same space trying to communicate about possible joint ventures, only to leave frustrated and confused, unable to get their points across, or to understand the other group. The problem? They were unaware that cultural differences prevented understanding.
So, when it comes to us small church pastor types, how are we to understand time management, focus, and priorities in our lives and ministries? Do we follow our American culture, or the Bible? I mean, if you’re a good American, you’ll immediately understand that there would be no difference… of course. American culture, especially small church pastor American culture, would mirror the culture and values of the Bible! (you can see my tongue in my cheek, right?)
There are myriad books on Amazon and in your local brick and mortar bookstore on time management, self help, life plan, etc. But we’d like to offer an additional resource to you – this week’s podcast episode #68! On Wednesday we’ll talk with the man who coaches pastors of small churches, Dave Jacobs, about establishing priorities, limiting our focus, managing our time, and putting first things first in our lives and ministries.
How should we think about these things? Wouldn’t these things look different for a pastor of one hundred people than they would for a pastor of a thousand? What if I’m a bi-vocational pastor, how should I think about my time?
Here’s my favorite question: How about I just drive myself absolutely insane by constantly second guessing my time management decisions and continually feeling discontent with how well I am managing my life and ministry?! I mean, there’s always going to be a better way, right?
As Jonny would say, “Tune in” this week to the 200churches Podcast, episode #68, and just relax with us for a while, and let us encourage you in your pastoral ministry. A new episode is released every single Wednesday at 12:00am. (That would be midnight on Tuesday, for you normal people) This week our goal is to encourage you in your approach to focus, priorities, and time.
Finally, remember what Jesus said to us, "Come to me..."
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