Saturday, January 3, 2015

Basic Organizational tid-bits for a young pastor

When new to the ministry, it is hard to think with "intentionality."  It takes time to think clearly when you are doing your best to survive the daily demands of the pastorate.  Here are a few things you will be glad you got right from an organizational perspective:

1) Catalog your messages - Keep good notes on your sermons, illustrations, and speaking opportunities.  Later in your ministry you will appreciate and benefit from the groundwork you have laid in previous messages.  Date and file every sermon, notate where you have preached it, evaluate each sermon when you are finished (a brief note at the end of your sermon with any observations that will be helpful the next time you use it.)

2) Record statistics - Keep good stats on all your services.  You will be able - at a glance - to analyze the direction of the church, what areas need improvement, what changes need to be made. You will be able to determine patterns in attendance that might encourage you after a low day.  You will be able to see what days work best for special campaigns or pushes.  You will get a feel for the natural ebb and flow of your church.  Notate every salvation, baptism, church membership, funeral, wedding, baby dedication, special project, etc.  This info is easy to keep and might give you further opportunity to minister to a specific person or need.  (For instance, you might see that one of your members is approaching the anniversary of the death of a spouse or child and you can be sensitive to them and encourage them.)

3) Keep a calendar - it doesn't matter if it is electronic or manual, you need to keep track of appointments, visits, mileage, meetings, upcoming member-surgeries, etc.  Instead of letting your schedule happen to you, you must take charge of it.  A disciplined schedule will beat back those "overwhelmed" feelings that sometimes paralyze pastors.  Spend less time on time killers like social media and secular forums where you are tempted to be someone you are not. Keep your priorities straight and protect what is important.

Trust me when I say, the earlier you begin these things, the happier you will be!