Church Renewal takes time. It takes time to pray, listen, learn, imagine, collaborate, coordinate, execute measure and refine. The time challenge has increased with Covid-19’s demands for new skills, new investments and new practices. In 4 DISCIPLINES OF EXECUTION the authors write “The real enemy of execution is your day job! We call it the whirlwind. It’s the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis.” Given the daily demands of ministry, many would-be renewal leaders wonder how they can find time for new investments in congregational renewal.
Here are 7 practices that can help renewal leaders find the time:
Practice 1: Become God-Dependent for the Heavy Lifting
James Hudson Taylor said: “When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.” The most important practice for finding time is investing in prayer. It is amazing the creative ways the Holy Spirit orchestrates movements and creates outcomes that would take endless hours for renewal leaders to accomplish.
Practice 2: Always Begins With the W.I.G.S
Everyone has seen the illustration of attempting to put big rocks and little rocks in a container. Begin with the big rocks and the little rocks will fill in the gaps. Begin with the little rocks and there’s never enough room for the big rocks that follow. The point is to always begin with the W.I.G.S. (wildly important goals).
Practice 3: Insist on Following the 80/20 Rule
The rule of thumb is that 20% of the time accomplishes 80% of the outcomes. The remaining 20% of the outcomes demands the remaining 80% of the time. Good enough has to be good enough. Perfect only that which is wildly important. Let the rest be average.
Practice 4: Close the Door Then Go On a Walk-About
None of us are as good at multi-tasking as we think we are. Our most creative and efficient work happens when we are singularly focused. Closing the door (or putting on headphones) is essential for focus. Then follow these closed-door sessions with walk-abouts so people know you are present, available and care.
Practice 5: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Rory Vaden in his book PROCRASTINATE ON PURPOSE says that a leader should always ask the following three questions: “Can I eliminate this?” “Can I automate this?” “Can I delegate this?” Every great renewal leader multiplies their time by embracing the Ephesians 4 commitment to empower others for ministry.
Practice 6: Push Everyday Tasks to Odd Times
There are a multitude of everyday tasks that can take up most available hours. These tasks include answering emails, making pastoral visits, even writing sermons. A portion of this work can be pushed from the center of the day to odd times. Use an evening bike ride to think through a sermon. Answer emails while eating lunch. Make a pastoral phone call while waiting for kids outside of school.
Practice 7: Redeem the Times
Ephesians 5:16 calls us to “Redeem the times” (literally: “Buy back the time”). Everyone wastes some of our God-given time. There is a reservoir of time waiting for those disciplined enough to reclaim it.