There’s nothing cool about the idea of routine, but it’s essential for ministry leaders. One of my hobbies is playing golf. I am helplessly in love with the game. One of the things I discovered when I started working with a golf coach this year was that routine really mattered when approaching each shot. Routine is what allows your mind to settle in and focus on the shot ahead. When my mind is focused on the work at hand (on the golf course), my body has a better chance to make the needed swing in the moment. The question for us today is, do we have a weekly ministry routine? Is our ministry schedule structured and repeatable?
If you don’t listen to the Carey Nieuwhof Podcast, you need to be! Carey has a host of ministry and business leaders on his podcast and dives deep into their leadership habits. I have yet to hear one say they don’t have routines that keep their leadership lives in a healthy place. A ministry leader without healthy routines is doomed for constant chaos and frustration. When we don’t have routines, we will be constantly distracted from the most important work we need to accomplish. Without routines, we will also not have the needed flexibility when emergencies arise. Here are a few areas of your ministry life you need to embrace firm routines. (These are not in order…)
- Spiritual Habits / Your personal prayer life and time in the Scriptures are key to maintaining a soft heart that depends on God. You have to make this a priority, and you have to find a routine that empowers you with time to focus. There is no one set path for spiritual habits. This is very personal so get creative.
- Administrative Work / This kind of work fuels some and exhausts others. Either way, admin work can dominate our calendars if we allow it. Block off focused time to attack admin work without distraction and try to do it the same days and times each week so you can communicate with other leaders when you can get back with them.
- Teaching Preparation / If you teach in any area of the church, this is critically important. When you block out firm times to study and prepare, you will guarantee yourself that you will not be scrambling on Saturday night. I personally block our Tuesday and take the entire day to craft the message at hand for the weekend and future preparation. I don’t do Tuesday meetings. I don’t do admin work. I write and study. This allows me to have the rest of the week to allow the message to sit in my mental crockpot and slow cook in my soul.
- Rest and Family / If you don’t have a rest and family routine, the church will steal you away from your family. Many ministry leaders blame the church for poor rest and family habits when they have no established routine. Flexibility is demanded here, but there is no reason your family can’t have a set routine, so connection and fun are planned. There is no reason you can’t schedule a real day off and rest.
- Meetings / You can meet with others so much that you neglect getting actual work accomplished. I encourage ministry leaders to have preferred meeting times in the week that you try to leverage. I even encourage people to find the best locations that help the meetings be most effective in several parts of town.
- Communication and Marketing / Email, ministry communication, and social media can overrun your productivity. We are not at our best when constantly on our phones and responding to what’s immediate. It would be best to set times when you invest in digital communication ministry-wide and interpersonal through email and social media. Control the distraction and improve your focus!
Routines built around these areas will make such a difference in your ministry experience. If you want to be a healthy leader, then embrace the power of routine.