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Every 3,000 - 5,000 miles. 

Can you guess what is supposed to happen during the mileage mentioned? My vehicle is supposed to receive an oil change. I am aware of the need for an oil change because there is a screen in my vehicle that states “Maintenance Recommended”. There is also a sticker in the top left corner of my windshield stating the exact mileage an oil change is recommended.

An oil change is important for the life of a vehicle because new, fresh oil is essential for lubricating the engine and absorbing engine heat. Do I always follow the 3,000 - 5,000 miles recommended oil change? No, but as my schedule allows, I adhere to what the experts suggest and begin making the necessary arrangements once I approach the 3,000 - 5,000 mark.

Paul writes in First Corinthians 6:19-20 that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” and he finishes the section with these words, “Therefore honor God with your bodies”. If our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to honor God with our body, then we honor God when we take care of the temple He has given us. 

Let’s go back to my vehicle for a moment. What will happen when I do not take proper care of my vehicle? I will start to see the signs of a major problem - and suddenly, the vehicle will break down. When we do not honor God with our body by taking care of the temple He’s given us, we will start seeing the signs: fatigue, apathy about ministry opportunities, neglecting prayer and suddenly, you will ‘break down’. Within ministry circles, it’s called “Burn Out”. 

I am aware the busyness of ministry takes its toll on our weekly to-do lists and self care drops off the list. However, just like the mechanic has given you reminders to maintain your vehicle, you also need reminders of self-care. Make an appointment with yourself - to go for a 30 minute walk three days next week. Make an appointment with yourself - to read a leadership book for 30 minutes before you leave for the day. 

Yes, interruptions will happen and when they do, shift your self-care appointment to the next open day available. Guard these appointments and also communicate these appointments with others around you. You’re not selfish when you seek to honor God with your body. You may actually lead others toward self-care. Prayerfully consider how you can honor God with the temple He has given you. 

In what ways are you lacking in self-care (lack of sleep, exercise, diet, etc.)? What stops you from honoring God with your body? How do you honor God with your body? What routines do you have in place that could possibly help others? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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I often hear the quote by Martin Luther, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

I think we can all agree with Luther when he said, “I have so much to do.” For those in full time ministry - there’s always phone calls to make, volunteers to recruit, programs to plan, sermons/lessons to prepare and members to visit. “I have so much to do . . .” is often the mantra of those in ministry today.

For those who are stay-at-home parents, business leaders, volunteers or employees, you can agree with the statement “I have so much to do . . .” as well. Students can agree with Luther and say, “I have so much to do . . .” Even children can now agree and say as they finish school for the day and then proceed to sports practice, “I have so much to do . . .”

Busyness is now next to godliness. I’ve spoken to Pastor’s who say with pride, “I haven’t taken a day off in two weeks!” Men speak of working seventy hours a week like they just won an award for the most hours worked at the job site. Busyness is now next to godliness.

What about the next phrase, “I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” What? Three hours in prayer? Who has that much time in their schedule? Now I will admit, I do not spend the first three hours in prayer. Can you fill in the blank though, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first ________ _________ in prayer?”

How amazing would it be to spend three hours in prayer! How wonderful would it be to spend two consecutive, uninterrupted hours in prayer? How special would it be to spend one hour in prayer? How remarkable would it be to say, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first ten minutes before my shift in prayer”?

Please understand, we are not required to spend three hours every time we have a busy schedule. I believe the point Luther was attempting to make is make prayer a priority!

One tip I would like to share is to block off time in your daily calendar for prayer. For myself, in my Google Calendar, I block off at least an hour for prayer each day. During that time, I have an appointment - the door to my office is closed, the computer is put on sleep mode, and I pray. If I do not schedule prayer on my daily agenda, my daily agenda will never include prayer.

This is my attempt of making prayer a priority in my ministry and daily life. My method may not be perfect, but God is glorified when we make prayer a priority. How do you make prayer a priority in your life? Take some time and share in the comments below some methods you use to make prayer a priority in your daily life.
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Stepping stone? No!

I did not use Children’s Ministry for a stepping stone toward the Senior Pastorate. However, I can see over the past three years how God has been preparing my heart for the Senior Pastorate. I am eternally thankful for God directing my path toward where I am today - The Senior Pastorate.

Before I transitioned out of my previous church, a mentor who is also a former pastor told me, “The two most important things a pastor can focus on are: Prayer and the Ministry of the Word.” While I understand why he counseled me toward these two tasks and I believe they are Biblical (Acts 6:4), I would like to take time to narrow our focus down to one priority as leaders in ministry. Our priority is simply this:

The Glory of God

When God’s people were allowed to return and worship God after seventy years of exile, they returned to a temple that was in ruin. God’s people then started to lay the foundation (Ezra 3:10), but became discouraged by their adversaries. For sixteen years, God’s people became focused on other tasks: rebuilding their own homes, farming, work, food, and drink, while God’s House remained unfinished.

A prophet named Haggai is called by God to emphasize rebuilding the temple. In Haggai 1:7, God declares, “Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified…”

The glory of God was the priority for God’s people. Rebuilding their own home, farming, eating food, earning wages were not sinful. When the priority shifted away from God’s glory, God rebuked the people and called them to ‘consider their ways’.

As leaders in ministry, we can be distracted with ministry and easily forget that our priority in ministry and in all of life is to glorify God. With the demands of leadership continually shifting and changing, it’s important that we daily refocus our priority in ministry. With this in mind, over the next three weeks, I will discuss three ways we can give glory to God as leaders in ministry.

  1. Prayer
  2. Self-Care
  3. Direction

Check back next week as I write about giving God glory in each of these aspects.
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Michael Altshuler, a Motivational Speaker and Trainer, once said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” The goal of the pilot is to take passengers to their destination safely and on schedule. They know the course and prepare accordingly. Communication is important in order to let passengers know about the journey along the way.

A new year is swiftly approaching and as leaders, you are in the pilot’s seat in how productive you will be in 2019. In order to help you arrive at your destination (productivity), there are five key actions to take in 2019 to improve productivity.

1. Utilize a Voice Assistant - As Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and other voice assistants continue to become popular, it’s time to utilize them for more than simply asking ‘What is the weather today?’ or ‘How long will it take me to get to work?’ In 2019, utilize voice assistants for productivity around the office. For example, say ‘Hey Google, remind me to call Fred today at 2 P.M.’ You can also say, “Hey Siri, email Stacey and ask if she is available to meet on Thursday.’ From sending text messages to adding calendar appointments to shopping, begin utilizing your voice assistant in 2019 for productivity.  

2. Purchase a Full Focus Planner - Michael Hyatt and Company have developed an incredible planner for leaders to utilize for daily, monthly and quarterly planning. Each morning, leaders are to write down their daily big three goals for the day, along with their schedule and other tasks. There’s space for writing down your ideal week, annual goals and daily rituals all designed to keep your goals within your reach. Check it out here - https://fullfocusplanner.com

3. Utilize an Online Calendar - The smartphone culture has provided worldwide access at the tips of our fingers and if you are a leader who has not created an online calendar yet, now is the time. While there are many to choose from, Google Calendar has a simple and free calendar you can use to get started. Provide access to your calendar for your spouse and your Administrative Assistant at the office. It’s important to communicate your schedule to those close to you and an online calendar can provide that communication. In the event you want to use both a hard copy and electronic copy, Michael Hyatt has written an excellent article on how to use the Full Focus Planner and a digital calendar here - https://michaelhyatt.com/digital-analog-hybrid/

4. Stop Multitasking - Research has proven multitasking is ineffective (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creativity-without-borders/201405/the-myth-multitasking) so use 2019 as the opportunity to learn how to focus on one task at a time. When skipping back and forth to multiple tasks, you’re losing time and efficiency. Begin learning how to focus on one task at a time. It will take time adjust to this new routine, but it will certainly prove to be more productive for you in your area of leadership.

5. Begin Block Scheduling - In order to help keep you focused on one task at a time, block scheduling is the method to begin using in 2019. Simply prioritize what area of your work needs most attention or is most important and block a specific amount of time on your calendar (30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.) and simply focus your energy and effort on that most important task. An example could be ‘I will work on this presentation from 9:00-10:00 A.M. on Thursday morning.’ So from 9:00-10:00, you are in your office or at the local coffee shop working on the presentation - not switching back and forth from the presentation to ministry calls. Ministry calls can take place at 10:01 A.M on Thursday morning, but from 9:00-10:00 A.M. you’re focused on the presentation. Sure, emergencies will always arise - you’re in ministry, you’re a leader; but when this happens, simply schedule another block of time for that one task.

​All leaders can improve in their productivity. Like the beginning of the article said - You’re the pilot - so take advantage of the resources and tools available and begin 2019 focused on improving your productivity. How do you plan to improve your productivity in 2019? Use the comment section below and discuss with others how you plan to improve your productivity in 2019.
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