EP 145 – REDEEM YOUR TIME
The boys are both in Florida enjoying some vacation time, JimBo rocking it at Universal, Bob is at Sea Side, but that’s not stopping great content coming your way! In today’s EP we’ll be talking about how to structure your time in a way that will help you execute your vision, plan, mission and values. Give it a listen, check out the resources and use this summer to bring some structure into your week.
Join the boys and other Bootcampers at the Replantsummit in ATL, August 29-30, 2022
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. Hope you’re ready for the next episode. As we continue to dive in to the summer and summer plans, likely the week that this one comes out, I’m getting to do Bob, the coolest. Side assignment, I’ve ever been asked to do as far as speaking engagement. and, and I’m not talking spiritual.
I mean, although I do pray that there is some spiritual fruit I’m talking just like selfishly, and for personal benefit. I’ve been asked by firehouse subs to speak at their fellowship, breakfast, faith, and fellowship breakfast at their corporate gathering. That happens to be conveniently located in universal studios.
And so firehouse subs, shout out, love the Italian sub. That’s my favorite. What’s your favorite firehouse sub Bob.
Bob Bickford: I would probably say the Italian too Jimbo. but across the board, I’m I’m gonna go Italian us, uh, most, every place I go. Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: That’s true. Yeah. I mean, it really is [00:01:00] the best of all subs. and so firehouse subs, speaking of faith and fellowship breakfast this week, and, getting to enjoy universal studios with the family, as we do that. So, man,
Bob Bickford: That’s awesome. Well, I think I will be, um, in Florida as well, by the time this podcast airs, I believe I will be, at seaside 30 a, which is I guess, where they film the Truman show.
and I’ve debated whether or not I should watch the Truman show before I go to seaside.
JimBo Stewart: Have you seen the treatment show?
Bob Bickford: No, I haven’t, I’ve seen clips of it.
And I, you know, I think I was at a secret church one time and they were always showing clips and they showed some clip of the trim and show. I don’t know why I didn’t watch it. Maybe I didn’t believe in movies back then. I’m not sure Jimbo
JimBo Stewart: You’re going to a speaker church, but you are independent fundamentalist.
Bob Bickford: I don’t know. I was too busy wrangling my teenagers mowing the yard and, you know, surviving secret church, I guess. I don’t.
JimBo Stewart: I enjoy the Truman show. [00:02:00] It’s I use, I use the Truman shows in illustration, in a Ecclesiastes, uh, sermon at one point.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: Well, good man. As we’re enjoying, enjoying the Florida sunshine, now that we are, stated by the Southern Baptist convention to be one of the leading national podcast.
Bob Bickford: geez.
JimBo Stewart: On church revitalization, replanting, man, we wanna continue the conversation.
We started the conversation, uh, a couple weeks ago, uh, about platform and table leadership and the importance of getting those aligned, uh, go back and listen to that. If you haven’t. And then last week we began talking about making sure you make a distinction between, the, Body the church health and the organizational health that unless you’re in a house church, if you’re in a modern American church by modern, I don’t mean your worship style, but today, and you have a building and you have a budget, then you are in an institutional church.
Now it’s not, I’m not saying that is neither a good or bad thing, but neutral. You are in an [00:03:00]institutional church and therefore you have the responsibility to steward well, the systems and structure. That it takes to make an institutional church sustainable. And so we introduced last week that the, we have to make sure when we’re talking about the health of the church, that we are leading, that the health of the body is one thing.
And the health of the organization is, is like scaffolding or cell for the vine. And so the markers for a healthy body. Is love, unity and maturity, that results in being in biblical community and on mission that the health of an organization is marked by. The decentralized leadership, deeper sonified alignment and dependable re resources.
And I may end up rewording. Those would love for your input on a better way to say those three. but you can go into last week’s episode to look at that, that essentially that we’re not solely on the shoulders of one lead pastor. In our leadership that we have a team, even if that’s all lay [00:04:00] led team, that we have a personified alignment that it’s not that the mission, vision, values and strategy are not just embodied, and lived through the pastor and the leadership, but through the body itself.
And then we have dependable resources that we have finances and facilities and personnel and systems and processes and policies that are able to sustain the organization in the direction that it needs to go. Those are markers of organizational health, and if we can figure out, and this is what we wanna talk about today, how do you, the majority of our listeners are solo staff, pastors of normative sized churches, right? How Bob, how do you as a, you’re much better at this than me? How, how do you structure your weak so that you. Do not overemphasize organizational health, but also don’t under emphasize it. We make sure we pursue first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and let, let the Lord lead [00:05:00] and guide in those other things.
But steward well, what we’ve been given lead the body towards love, unity and maturity. But also make sure that our organization is healthy and sustain. I mean, that’s, that’s honestly, it kind of stresses me out and it’s a little bit overwhelming, to think about how, how do we structure our week in such a way that we can actually execute on aligning those things to a sustainable and healthy future for our church.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, man, that many things we were taught in seminary and college, we were not taught how to manage all our responsibilities typically. And we had to try to figure it out. And, and that’s why just to plug for the summit. That’s coming up, the replant summit guy named Jordan Rainer, who you’ve really, really you’re, you’re loving the things that he’s putting out.
He talks about time management organization around spiritual goals and principles. So if you haven’t signed up for the summit, go to replant, summit.com, do that. you know, one of the things I think I ran across and I forget when I ran across this, I can’t [00:06:00] remember. It was many years. but I ran across something called block scheduling and block scheduling is taking your week and dividing it into blocks and then assigning those blocks tasks and activities.
That, will help you at the end of the week accomplish the things that you had hoped to accomplish. Now, the other part of that is getting a to-do list and keeping a priority list. And I use something called the kill list and my kill list as something, these are the things I’ve gotta get done. And so, I’ll do that.
And then if I have recurring meetings, then I’ll have a. A list for like deacons or elders or team members for the replant team or Clifton or something. you know, and I’ll, I’ll just put all of the things that come up through the week. If I need to have a conversation with somebody, I’ll dump it in there.
And then I’ll use it in my, my blocks. And so a running list, and this is the way I would approach it. If you’re working on, on spiritual health and organizational spiritual health, the first thing I think of is sermon prep, right? And so I’ve [00:07:00] gotta have that blocked out in my schedule and Jim, but I played around with this a couple of ways.
And, and the last season, of preaching, uh, all the time. One of the things I did is I put my sermon prep early in the week, rather than later in the. And the reason I did it early is because I found that if I could get my sermon done by Wednesday and written and scripted and you know, the general stuff that I wanted to say, and then, and I wasn’t gonna not ever pick it up again.
Uh, you know, I picked it up off on top of the Saturday morning or even Sunday morning, super early, but I had devoted time on Monday and Tuesday. Where I was tired from preaching. I didn’t wanna see people I didn’t want to, and I’m an extrovert. I didn’t want to talk to a lot of people. It was a really good time for me just to get up early in the morning and do my sermon prep, and then pray through things for the week and look at all that stuff.
Be done by Wednesday. And then by Wednesday afternoon, really, I could really start devoting a lot of time to. the organization, right? The [00:08:00] communications, the oversight, the financial check-ins, the pastoral care, the thinking through about, you know, what, what’s happening in our church. What do I need to pay attention to?
What, what is something that I, I’m not looking at, or I need to look at, or even personal reading, like in developing organizational health reading and all those sorts of things. So basically just take your week, you divide it into days, you divide your days into chunks and blocks, and then. Put tasks in those blocks that you learn from how you’re wired up and which days work best for me to devote time and attention towards this type of task.
Right. So I wanna do most of the time, I wanna do my creative thinking early in the morning, and I wanna do administrative and people and emails and all that stuff later in the day. Depend because the energy level that, that I have and because of the, you know, just the way I operate, right? So some people wanna do it all at the end of the week.
And because I had family and wanted to do stuff with my family, I decided not to do [00:09:00]sermon stuff at the end of the week, cuz my sermon would always crowd out family time. So I think I would just communicate to the guys, man, find a schedule, a block schedule and divide up your time in ways that work for you.
According to your energy levels, according to the demands that you have placed upon you and we’re, and we are talking to some guys here probably who are bivocational, they’ve got a couple of other things that are doing on the side, so they may not have as much flexibility, but man, think about what works for you and then find ways to schedule a week accordingly and make sure those blocks include spiritual things, spiritual health, working on the spiritual health of the organization, which includes preaching.
And then also. Organizational health, which includes a lot of the things that you’ve, mentioned and look at your personal meaning times as scheduled moments. And typically I like to do those over lunches or late, late afternoon, like, you know, coffees or, you know, teas or whatever, just to have conversations with people about.
Their life and about the [00:10:00] organization and, and those things. And when I, when I was really leaning into my block schedule while pastoring the replant, I found it to be helpful and effective for Mo for handing both of those
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, life. We put out a study, earlier this year they asked, pastors to narrow down to their single greatest need in their personal lives. And, Pastors say that time management and balance between work and home were the, the two biggest, I mean, biggest deals and man, I can attest to that.
And it’s one of the reasons I really love some of the stuff that Jordan Rainer has put out is, struggling with time management and task management, as like you were talking about myself. I started looking for ways and resources that could help me in that. And, and I’ll tell you, bar nine. The best resource I’ve found on that for believers, especially is Jordan Rainer’s book redeeming your time.
And, it, I’ll also say this redeeming your time is not a book that you can [00:11:00] just read and then implement like immediately. I mean, it’s, it’s. This is high level. This is hard work to get.
Bob Bickford: yeah.
JimBo Stewart: I’m still refining, so much of what I read out of that. And, man, that was a good plug, Bob. I forgot replant summit.com.
We’ve got Jordan Cuming just, and that’s why we haven’t coming because. So many pastors struggle with time management and we live in the tyranny of the urgent and, Jordan speaks to all this so well in his book redeeming your time. So I, man, I cannot recommend enough boot campers. Get that book redeeming your time, start working.
Here’s what I’ve told guys. Read the whole book as fast as you can. just skim through it, even just cuz you kind of want the whole picture, then go back in one chapter at a time, start working on implementing some of the stuff that he puts in. Don’t give up on chapter two. Chapter two is where is where Jordan Rainer really gets into the weeds on time and task management [00:12:00] specifically.
and it gets really. Clinical almost. I but work through it because man it’s helped me be so much more productive and to be at ease and at peace in my mind. and so I think you’re right as we, but as we do time and task management, and we’re talking about spiritual health and organizational health, I think it is important to put the spiritual pieces first again, the Matthew 6 33 pursue.
First kingdom of God, his righteousness. And in that, it’s not just first. And I think this also needs to be clarified when the Lord tells us to pursue first, the kingdom of God, his righteousness. It is. First just sequentially. I think it is first as in preeminence. it’s not, so it’s not let me get the spiritual stuff done so I can set that aside and then get to the organizational pieces.
Let me do my five minute devotional so that I can get to, what I’ve gotta do it. It’s first in preeminence. That first is in, as we also are doing organizational leadership [00:13:00] task and, and manage. That we’re doing that as, as an overflow of our spiritual walk in depth, that has to inform what we’re doing in that.
and listen, if pastors, especially if you’re solo staff even more. So if you’re bivocational, you have to figure out how to schedule your time. And your task and prioritize and, and know what’s important and focus on what’s important. You have a finite amount of time. And, and so there are ways to do that.
I recommend Jordan Rainer redeeming your time. If you don’t like that, that’s fine. We can point you some other ideas. This as well. And even Jordan, even Jordan Rainer and his book would say, I’m gonna give you ways to do this, but if they don’t work for you, that’s fine. You need to do something. There needs to be some way that you manage and for no other reason so that you can be a person of integrity.
And so that your yes can be yes. And your no can be no, if you don’t [00:14:00] manage well, your schedule, then you will drop the. And your yes. Will not be yes. And your no will not be no. And you’ll, become someone that people cannot depend on because they think, yeah, he says yes, but then he never follows through, because you’re not managing your time and your task.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. One, one book that really was extremely helpful for me was, an older book by, Daniel hark. It was called becoming a coaching leader. And it talked about developing yourself in order to be able to develop others and build a team. And in particular, you know, we’ve talked about the power that, that happens behind a decentralized team. In other words, you’ve laid the foundation. You’ve given the resources, you’ve discern their spiritual maturity. They’re in alignment with you. And then how do you develop them, right. To be a, a part of [00:15:00] your, your leadership team? Well, one of the things I found Jimbo, and you may have found this too, but when I was meeting with younger guys, I would ask the question, well, how are you spending your time?
And most of them couldn’t account for it. And then they would also say, well, you know, sometimes I just feel like I get to the end of the day and I’ve taken care of all of the urgent things, but I’m not taking care of the important things. And this was a book that was extremely helpful for me in, in having conversations, discipling conversations with guys who were on the teams that I.
Right. And so if they were struggling, they were trying to figure out how, how am I managing my work and my family and how do I not get at the end of the week and go, I feel like I’ve done a really bad job at all of it. right. So that book helped me coach them. And so if you’re looking at coaching, somebody.
In developing leaders, I would recommend Harv’s book and I’ll put, we’ll put links to the Rainer book and the Harve book in our show notes. But I remember having the conversation [00:16:00] with, with a guy that I was, was working with me at the replant and he was the administrator. I mean, he was just struggling in so many different areas of his life and I introduced him to the block schedule.
Right. And just basically said, man, fill this out. So for. A month or more. I just gave him a template sheet and just said, let me know what you’re doing. Just let’s track your time first. Right. Let’s see where, and that’s what Harkavy says made like, just track your time, see what you’re doing, right. How much time are you looking at Twitter?
How much time are you playing video games? How many, you know, how long does it take you to fix supper, whatever, you know, all those sorts of things. So, examine your time, track your time, and then. From that point of awareness, you’ll be able to understand now how do I schedule my time and how do I bring it into alignment with all the things that I’m called to do?
Right. So, this is, I love what you say about don’t expect to apply this immediately. right. I would say Jimbo three, three or four months. You’re probably gonna be working on [00:17:00] this kind of stuff. Maybe just to look just to understand how you, you spend your time. And then one of the things I also hear guys, when they first go to a replant, one of the things they talk about is how long sermon prep takes for them.
Right. Just takes them 20 hours, 40 hours. Right? Well, guys, you just don’t have enough time in your week to. 20 plus hours to sermon prep. So, uh, we’ve mentioned this book before I think, but, um, there’s a book by Ryan Hughley called eight hours or less how to preach faithful, biblical sermons, and, and how to do preparation.
I, and I think that’s was my goal. As I began to get towards language. How can I get a, a good sermon done in eight hours or less? Right. Cause I don’t have the whole staff. That can handle everything. I’m doing a lot of things myself, but I do have eight hours and I can be faithful to the text and I can also communicate, in a way that that is helpful and challenging and faithful to, to the, the biblical text.
So those are a couple suggestions that I would [00:18:00] say. And then what, as you’re experimenting with these things, man, give yourself some grace, like life events are gonna happen and disrupt your black schedule and, and you’re gonna get off schedule. So I think you you’ve gotta give yourself some grace as.
You’re learning how to do this, but then what I think is the, the benefit of putting three or four months in examining your time, scheduling your time, budgeting your time. You’re gonna, you’re gonna naturally do this as a, as a personal discipline that that’ll just come naturally to you, right. Because you’ve built it in, you’ve trained yourself to do it.
And then I think the fruit of it will be. awesome. The blessing and the joy that comes from being able to, to preach good sermons, take care of people spiritually, do some discipleship, do some organizational health work. I think all of those things lead to great, great joy in ministry and, you’ll be able to enjoy your ministry and enjoy your family.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So, man, this is, this is all so good. And, again, I feel like we are introducing, concepts here [00:19:00] or discussing talk concept here that are, Man just a lot and they’re gonna take a lot of work, but it’s kind of like, I think it’s the first Corinthians nine. The apostle Paul talks about, he, he runs not, uh, with uncertainty, not like a shadow boxer.
He doesn’t discipline himself like a shadow boxer as if, as if this doesn’t matter. and pastor what’s’re doing has eternal significance.
and it, what we’re talking about is not easy. It is not easy. So you’ve got to figure out how to manage your time. I would encourage you to get an outside coach, somebody maybe from your association or state convention or from another church, that has talk to talk to the executive pastor at a.
Larger church that, that you respect and ask them to coach you on time management and task management. and look, this is not so that you can get so rigid. So there’s no room for the holy spirit. this is so that you aren’t so scatterbrained that you can’t do something when the holy spirit [00:20:00]calls you look, I, hate being boxed in.
I hate being. This is my personality. I do not like being boxed in and having, having strict hard rules, but I have found I’ve found a freedom in going, Hey, I know, I know what I’m responsible for. I know I’ve got, and I feel like it actually makes room for the holy spirit in my life when I put things in the right place.
and so figure out not everything has to be a weekly rhythm. some things can be built in monthly quarter. and, and figure out, figure out where those things need to be built in. Maybe, maybe if you’re a bivocational solo staff, you could build in quarterly time with your leadership team, right. Or monthly time where you, because you can’t, you probably can’t pull off weekly.
but you. Figure out. I wouldn’t go more than quarterly without it. Right. but figure out what you can do, but here’s the other thing, another priority you’ve got to block time for is for you to be [00:21:00]discipling someone. you have to, you, you can’t just figure out when there’s leftover time to, to disciple people.
if you want to be. The pastor of a church that makes disciples, that makes disciples, that makes the community noticeably better. You have to live that out. It has to be a priority. And so you gotta figure out who are you discipling? How are you discipling them? How are you building that in to your schedule?
It cannot be haphazard. Figure out, discipline yourself, not as a shadow boxer. This it’s not as if this has no significance, what you are doing is. Ultimate importance. And so evaluate your time, get a, get, get an outside coach. If that outside coach is just reading a book like Jordan Rainer, if that’s all you can do and there’s audio book, you can listen to it.
if that’s, as far as you can go for outside help, then, then go that far. If you can reach out to your local association, state convention, or another church or pastor leader, or [00:22:00] maybe a business person in your church, that’s really good at this that they could disciple you. In this that they could help you grow in this area.
Seek counsel. See don’t, don’t try to figure this out all by yourself. If you’re, if you’re not naturally good at managing your time and. You’re probably
not gonna reinvent the wheel and figure out how to do it by yourself. get some outside help, as much as you can and work on a system that, that works for you, that you are able to schedule your time and manage your time and your task.
Cuz the other piece of this and I, I just wanna put this out. I know we’re running outta time. One of the arguments that Jordan Rainer makes that I love is the brain science of when we don’t manage our task intentionally and put them down on paper or digitally, then what happens is our brain actually goes through a process of trying to hold onto those things so that we don’t forget them.
I mean that it actually, it, it, it makes you not as good at everything else because it’s, you, it’s like you’re trying to juggle [00:23:00] while talking to somebody and, and you may be able to function, but you’re not able to really be present. And I, even with that, I even think about when you were talking about doing your sermon early in the week, man, for me. that sermon kind of sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear all week. you’re not, you’re not done yet. You’re not done yet. And it makes it really hard for me to actually be present when I’m somewhere. And so that’s one of the things I love about Jordan Rainer’s book is it’s not just about productivity, but it’s about being present and you do this so that you can be present.
So in that life way, research the number one thing that came out. Time management, the number two thing was work, work, family balance. And part of that is it’s really hard to be present at home when you’re a pastor. And one of the best things you can do to help you with that is figure out how to manage a, what is your, what is your system that works for you to manage your time and your task to block out, to schedule out so that you know, that priorities are [00:24:00] where they need to. Replant summit.com. Sign up, come see us in August. Jordan Rainer will be there, as well as several others. we’ve got people there to equip you so that you can replenish and reset and, and get back on mission.