To be effective in ministry, there’s a couple of things the man of God needs. Let’s examine this, because every believer has a ministry of some kind or another. Certainly, not all are called to preach and teach. But there’s ministry of helps, of hospitality, charity, etc.
To be effective, means to manage time. The average person seems to have 24 hours a day alloted to them. I haven’t researched this theory, since I lack the time, but it seems logical. Figure 8 hours of sleep, 8.5 hours of work (I’m adding commute time too). The remaining 7.5 hours you have needs to be portioned out well. I’ve tried a lot of different personal information managers, schedulers, and note taking programs. I really haven’t found a satisfactory PIM/Scheduler. I’m using Pimero right now, and I used to use Agenda at Once, but AAO suddenly got very buggy, right about the time the creators abandoned it. My Microsoft Office is VERY old (Win XP), and the Outlook interface then was horrible. Find what works for you. Most people find that using an app on their phone works best, but for me, it would have to be (a) Free, and (b) synchronized with the program on my laptop. Years ago, someone gave me one of those little mini-computers you used with a stylus, and eventually asked for it back. Outlook actually synchronized with the Palmpilot, but… mostly was the right word. I’m rambling.
Notetaking programs… I used to use a really great program called Notebrowser, and Cintanotes before that. Last year, I discovered OneNote, and it was great. The only thing I really hated was how it took over the full screen, and you couldn’t work on other programs at the same time. So I made the move to Evernote recently, and that was a WOW moment. Right now Evernote and OneNote are neck and neck on devotees. I’ll leave it up to you which one you like best. Just get the free versions.
To be effective means time in prayer. If you’re not dedicated to having a prayer life, you’re going to be an ineffective Christian, no matter what. LEARN to pray. PICK a Psalm, and study how the sons of Korah or David talk to God. Tim LaHeye used to use the acronym ACTS – adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. That’s one way. Or the Lord’s Prayer is another way… break each section down and pray in that manner. I wrote an article in the past on that.
To be Effective means knowing the word of God. To be an effective Christian, you have to know what the Lord wants you to do, what you should do, what you should not do, etc. There are many Christians who are ineffective because the world tears them apart, and that happens because we neglect the safety measures that are written in the word of God. You need to READ and STUDY your Bible. Clippings are really important functions – hopefully, you’re using Logos (Logos Basic is free, and you only need $9.95 to add the KIng James). If you’re using Logos and Evernote, try setting up a notebook in Evernote called “Bible clippings”, highlight something in Logos, drag it and drop into the Evernote notebook you created. This way you’ll have important clippings from Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, Bible quotations, notes on things to study and research.
To be effective sometimes means one word… It’s hard, I know. Most pastors are ineffective because they seem to feel the need to be present for every Bible study someone else teaches. Look, train up your people right, and trust them to do it. My ex-pastor used to wear himself down making sure he was there for the retired ladies luncheon, where they’d read a little Bible and pray. He made every meeting. The men’s breakfast? He was there too. He attended everything except the youth meetings, because that’s what the associate pastor did.
But you need to learn the word “No”. Find nice ways to say it, because the average pastor seems to find themselves volunteering for WAY TOO MUCH. The average churchgoer doesn’t realize that the Pastor of their church probably has a 70 hour work week. First, don’t volunteer for everything. SEcond, find nice ways to say “No”. Third, consider putting your schedule on the church blog or website so people see you have dedicated time to Bible study, dedicated time to prayer, dedicated time to visitation, etc. BLOCK OFF those times. Many pastors enter the ministry, thinking how GREAT it’s going to be that you’re getting paid to study the Bible! After a few months, you’re resigned to the dream of someday retiring, so you finally have time to… study the Bible!
For the average churchgoer, many of you have mastered the saying “no” to ministry things. Try learning a new word… “Yes.” Find polite ways to say it!