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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
A recent blog post from Michael Perkins encourages us to stop wasting time. In it, he points out how easily distractible we are, how easy it is for us to get caught up in the fluff of the world around us, and to waste time that we should be spending focusing on the important things going on in the world today:
  • Everyday people are dying and literally going to hell.
  • Everyday the poor goes without the necessities to live.
  • Everyday people die of a treatable disease.
  • Everyday people are sold and abused in sex slavery.
We have all gotten engrossed in a story here or there, we have all gotten distracted by current events, but where do we draw the line between being completely unengaged in the world around us, and being so up to date on pop culture that we have lost all of our redemptive influence? How do you create a healthy balance? What do YOU think? todd
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Leadership
Craig Jarrow had a great piece over at the Time Management Ninja today.  He talks about 21 things that most people don’t do, but you should do if you want a competitive advantage. As church leaders, we want to get as much done and be as successful as possible in our mission.  Here are some of the things Craig suggests that will give you the edge.  (and some private thoughts on how I’m doing here) 1.  Get up early.  Sometimes I do better at this than others.  This morning:  7:00 a.m.  I’d really like to change that to about 6:00.  I love the productivity I have early in the morning, but I hate getting up out of bed.  Mostly because I’m a night person… I’d rather stay up late and get stuff done than get up early to do it. 2.  Prepare for your day.  I’m doing better with that.  I’ve tried all kids of online ‘to-do’ lists and productivity type things… but paper and pencil still works for me as good as anything.  Of the 10 things on my list today, I have about 7 of them marked off so far.  Not bad by 9:21.  Guess that speaks to the getting up early thing (See #1) 3.  Exercise.  I’m trying to do better here as well.  I’m a computer guy.  I spend most of my day on the computer… and I love it.  But it doesn’t get me up and about much.  I recently bought a nice treadmill and am starting to use it.  This morning, I walked 2 miles.  I’d like to increase the amount and speed… but am trying to take it slow.  At least I’m making some progress in this area.  Some is better than none, I guess. 4.  Finish ahead of deadlines.  Ouch.  I usually hit all my deadlines, but right on the deadline.  I remember Craig Groeschel sharing that he manufactures fake deadlines in his head and that that works for him.  Maybe I’ll try that.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to move up your deadlines so you’re not always on the clock. 5.  Say No.  I do OK here.  My biggest problem is not saying no… it’s not saying anything.  I want to do everything, but I can’t.  So, many times I’ll get requests or ideas that require some action and I let them sit in my in-box for a few weeks.  I don’t say yes and I don’t say no.  That has to be incredibly frustrating for people on the other end.  I need to work harder at either saying no, or moving. 6.  Make Decisions.  OK… given what I said in #5, you may think that I don’t make decisions well… but actually I think I do ok in this area.  In fact, I get easily frustrated at people who can’t make decisions.  Or those who want to include 15 people in a meeting to make a decision that is actually pretty easy.  And I get frustrated with people that take FOREVER to make a decision.  Maybe they’re just pulling a #5 on me… but most of the time, I think it’s that people don’t want to make a wrong decision, so they delay it.  Unfortunately, the decision to delay a decision is still a decision.  And it’s a decision that drives me crazy! You can read all of Craig’s 21 things here. What do YOU do that you think gives you an advantage over others in these areas?  I’d love to hear! Todd
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Leadership
We all know that serving the church is stressful.  Extremely stressful. Well, a new study by the British Psychological Society has a simple solution that will help cut your stress level.  And I think you should try it right now. Here it is… Shut of your smartphone and ignore your social networks. In fact… here are the recommendations from the study:
Organisations will not flourish if their employees are stressed, irrespective of the source of stress, so it is in their interest to encourage their employees to switch their phones off; cut the number of work emails sent out of hours, reduce people’s temptation to check their devices.
If you need to cut the stress level for the rest of the afternoon, try shutting off your smartphone for an hour.  Do the same with your facebook and twitter accounts; and with your gmail. You’ll find that you’ll be a little less ‘on the edge’.  And that nothing catestrophic will probably happen in the next hour.  If something does, just put out the fire and move on. Give it a try; and share here how it felt. SOURCE
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Leadership
Interesting stats in a new post at The Christian Post by Thom Rainer… * Pastors of effective churches sleep slightly over six hours per day. Pastors of comparison churches sleep almost eight hours per day. * Pastors of effective churches spend twenty-two hours in sermon preparation each week versus four hours for pastors of comparison churches. * The effective church leaders spent ten hours each week in pastoral care compared to thirty-three hours for the comparison group pastors. Pastoral care included counseling, hospital visits, weddings, and funerals. * Effective church leaders average five hours per week in sharing the gospel with others. Most of the comparison church pastors entered “0” for their weekly time in personal evangelism. * Comparison church leaders spend eight hours a week – more than an hour each day – performing custodial duties at the church. The typical custodial duties included opening and closing the facilities, turning on and off the lights, and general cleaning of the building. * Leaders of effective churches average 22 hours a week in family activities. The comparison church leaders weren’t too far behind with 18 hours of family time each week. Hmmm…  great questions follow: How many hours to YOU sleep?  (It seems less is better) How many hours do YOU prep for your message (22 is norm for ‘effective’ church pastors How many hours do YOU spend in pastoral care?  (Less is better… are you closer to 10 or 33?) How many hours a week do YOU spend sharing the gospel?  (Is it closer to 5 or 0) How many hours a week do YOU spend with your family? Are these fair questions to ask?  Do they have anything to do with whether or not your church is effective?  What do YOU think? Todd Here’s the link to Thom’s article. See what you think…
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