Time. As leaders, it’s a precious resource. It seems to fly through our fingers, and before we know it, deadlines have passed and the hopes we have for our ministries must be compromised in order to be accomplished. We find ourselves in survival mode, doing ministry based on what need is most urgent.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if we could manipulate our calendar in order to create more time for our ministries? Not only is this possible, but it’s a crucial step for you as a leader to increase the influence you have in the lives of kids and families. Here are some practical ways to make time.
Make developing leaders a top priority.
Valuing the growth of your leaders is more than simply delegating. While assigning tasks to more leaders certainly increases the impact of your ministry on the whole, nothing will contribute more over the long haul than intentionally developing leaders around you.
Some great questions you might ask yourself are: Who are some potential leaders you’ve noticed? Are there any young leaders coming up with new ideas and energy that could use a mentor? How can your veteran leaders be inspired to keep growing, and in what areas? And, are you growing as a leader?
Your calendar should reflect a deep value in leadership development. When you take time to grow your leadership and the leadership of those around you, you begin exponentially creating more time for ministry.
Make free time, me time.
You might be saying, “I don’t have free time, that’s why I’m reading this article.” Yet, most everyone has some time that is filled in less productive ways. Driving the car, waiting at the DMV, or simply getting ready for your day every morning can be great times of multitasking.
Look for books, audiobooks, or podcasts to fill that time. Decide that developing yourself as a leader is an enjoyable hobby that you will dedicate the rest of your life to doing.
Additionally, make sure to schedule free time to exercise and care for yourself. Sacrifice is certainly a part of Christ-like leadership, but there is a tension between sacrifice and burnout. Determine not to burn out.
Make your schedule a block schedule.
This is one of the most effective ways you can interact with your schedule. Often, our calendar fills itself each day with appointments and tasks. Those are important items, but we cannot allow the immediate needs to push out the hopes, dreams and vision that we have for our ministry in the future. Make the future of your ministry just as important as the present.
To do this, schedule your days in blocks. Blocks can be two-hour up to four-hour blocks of time that are less specifically focused. For instance, you may determine that your preschool environment needs some bright additions for the theme each month, but you have never been able to find the time to decorate. Schedule a block of time, making sure it’s a little more time than you think it will take (projects always seem to take longer than we initially think, don’t they?). Then make it repeat each month.
You might even try choosing the days of your week to work on a theme. Maybe Mondays are your days for communication to parents. Leave it simply stated, and see what opportunities you can create for communication such as sending out emails, scheduling social media posts or taking a different parent or small group leader to lunch or coffee.
A final benefit of block scheduling is that often God moves in ways that we don’t schedule. A lot of ministry happens in the interruptions. Block scheduling allows for interruption without disruption of everything you hope to accomplish.
Make time by saying “no.”
Have you written down your top priorities? What aspects of your ministry are not negotiable? If you find yourself saying, “yes” to items of lesser importance, then they will crowd out the time you have to move your ministry forward in the way you feel God calling you. We can’t let busy-ness hold us back from investing in the future.
Guard your schedule. Learn to say, “Unfortunately, I’m all booked during that time.” Saying “no” is one of the greatest gifts you can learn to give to your ministry and to yourself.
Consciously investing in any or all of these four things can not only help you to work on the most important parts of your ministry, they can also help you make the time to do so. Make time by developing leaders around you, learning to use your free time differently, scheduling in blocks and by saying “no” in kind ways to things that are lower on your priority list.