I’m finding that it is easy in ministry to do too much. There’s a “duh” statement if I ever heard one. Lately, I’ve been distracted. There is a ton to do. But I once heard someone say, “20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production, if you spend your time, energy, money, and personnel on the top 20 percent of your priorities.” I believe that to be true. I’ve written about this principle before, the Pareto Principle.
I decided it was time to sit down and re-think my priorities in my ministry. The task: create three columns:
- Column #1: Activities that bring the greatest return
- Column #2: Activities that bring a good return
- Column #3 Activities that bring no return
Basically, I concluded that I need to spend more time on items from column #1, do stuff in column #2 if I have the time, and completely stop doing the activities that are listed in column #3. I thought through all the things I do and all the programs and activities I lead. I chose a column for everything I could think of. It was enlightening.
The interesting part of this activity was not the things that ended up in column #3. Those made sense. They drained energy from me and I wanted to stop doing them anyway. I was okay with that column. It was the things in column #2 that concerned me. There were things on that list that I really enjoyed doing. However, they don’t bring the greatest return to my ministry. They don’t move the ministry forward as well as other things. Do I stop doing these activities? What do I do now?
There are two steps I’m moving towards now:
- Get a different perspective.
- Take it to God in prayer.
Today, I decided to email the columns to Steve, who is on my team and is in the process of doing the columns as well for his ministry. At some point soon, we’re going to sit down and talk through all the columns and the items that were listed in it and talk it through. I need a different perspective.
The next step will be to spend some time in discernment. If I’m truly doing this ministry for God, then God will give me insight.
The hard part will be after these two steps. I’m going to need to act on my columns. I need to focus much more intentional effort on column #1, stop doing the stuff in column #3, and slow down on the items in column #2. How will I do? I don’t know. I guess that will be a future blog entry.
What I do know is that the process has been enlightening already. I really encourage you to give it a try and see what happens. I believe it will be eye opening for you, as it was for me. Give it a try! And let me know what happens.