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HELP A HURTING PASTOR
MINISTER TO THE GRIEVING
CARE FOR PERSONS IN CRISIS
MINISTER TO LOST A LOVED ONE
HOW TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS
MANAGE CONFLICT IN A CHURCH
RESPOND OFFENDING BROTHER
TEACH LIFESTYLE STEWARDSHIP
HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM
NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS
HOW TO USE TIME WISELY
GET ALONG WITH MEMBERS
OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT
EVANGELISTIC INVITATION
CONDUCT A COMMITTE
RECOVER FROM BURNOUT
LORD'S SUPPER OBSERVANCE
HOW TO PERFORM A WEDDING
HOW TO BAPTIZE
CONDUCT A FUNERAL
HOW TO DELEGATE
IT IS TIME TO LEAVE
PASTOR AND HIS SERMON
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How to use Time Wisely

Time managed means time saved—that is, more time for pastoral ministry, growth, study, and family. The keys for "redeeming the time" concern priorities, procrastination, and plans.

Assign Priorities

Yes, "to everything there is a... time" (Eccl. 3:1). But not all matters and events have equal importance. Assign priorities to guide how valuable time should be spent. For example, a daily schedule may give high priority to intercessory prayer and to funeral sermon preparation and low priority to getting a haircut and attending a local service club meeting. Label the high priority items as A and the low priority items as C. Sort the A items by importance and schedule time to accomplish them. Do C items when A items have been done satisfactorily (watch for the trap of feeling good about doing several C items which really matter little).

Avoid Procrastination

Since we do not know "what shall be on the morrow" (Jas. 4:14), avoid putting off working on A items. Procrastination behaviors include daydreaming (not the same as mental brainstorming), socializing (not the same as pastoral visitation), and getting organized by making "to do" lists (not the same as planning). Procrastination is often a product of dread, fear, fatigue, lack of interest, or a quest for perfection. Overcome putting off by getting started (some work on A items is better than none) and by breaking large tasks into smaller portions. Focus on the goal and not on just the "having to get there."

Amend Plans

"Plan your work, and work your plan" does not imply rigidity. Pastoral priorities change due to unexpected deaths, family emergencies, or personal illness. Some matters or events lead to others. Plan for the unexpected by avoiding procrastination and by amending plans due to changing priorities. Consider the situation, your options, the consequences of each option, and adjust accordingly. Let the flexibility, which keeps skyscrapers from breaking in storms, keep you from breaking in the "storms" of stressful developments and demands.

Time management can make a difference in whether time is spent or used. Listing events in a pocket planner or on a desk calendar is helpful; but assigning priorities, avoiding procrastination, and amending plans help manage time effectively. Save time by managing time. And always remember the time management prayer of Moses: "So teach us to number our days" (Ps. 90:12).

(Resources: Rainer, Thom S. Eating the Elephant: Bite-sized Steps to Achieve Long-Term Growth in Your Church. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994}








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