There is too much going on in my brain and on my calendar. You, too?
Children’s ministry folk are fast pivoters and quick on our feet to adapt and edit. Yet once I make the February turn and the closer I get to summer, I’m feeling the pressure of meeting expectations and the many ‘good’ distractions that take longer than they should to settle, and it’s Lent, and Sunday keeps coming, and Tuesday keeps coming.
How do I try to get it all done? If ‘all’ is this week, I’ve found a plan that works as a good boundary model. As in all models, stuff happens, but as far I can manage, this is my plan each week:
Sundays – A full work day; set the alarm for super early so I have time to arrive early and schedule others to arrive just as early to get the ball rolling to be able to face the day’s activities with joy and margin for a pivot if necessary. Sunday is game day! If there is no additional afternoon/evening programming, afternoons are filled with admin work – attendance; expense processing; placing orders; cleaning up; packing away; staging for the next thing. No one else is typically in the office so I have uninterrupted access to the copy machine.
Mondays – Communication day by emails/postcards/notes/letters; reports; writing; texts, list-making; social media scheduling; zoom calls.
Tuesdays – In-person and on campus meeting day (staff & lead staff & hallway meetings) since everyone is on campus; lunch meeting; evening Kids Bible study.
Wednesdays – Study and collaboration day at home office or travel day. Podcasts and Audible let even a travel day be a study day; writing and reading; social media scheduling; consults.
Thursdays – In-person and on campus morning Bible study; Sunday prep; lunch meeting; team one-on-ones; Lenten dine-outs; in summer this is generational discipleship event night like Family VBS.
Fridays – Personal Sabbath to do what reminds me that God is good and I am His.
Saturdays – The only day with my honey who is only off on the weekend, so I guard the daylights out of Saturdays.
Two additional priorities:
- At least two days each week I sleep until I wake up, meaning no alarm and nowhere to be in the morning. Sleep is one of my holy habits. According to James Bryan Smith’s Good & Beautiful God, ‘sleep is an act of surrender.’ “The number one enemy of Christian spiritual formation today is exhaustion. We are living beyond our means, both financially and physically.” “Sleep is a perfect example of the combination of discipline and grace.” (p 33-34)
- A subscription to Audible helps me hone the skills necessary for effective and changing ministry. Not only is it good for listening to books, but there is a whole list of classes included in The Great Courses and free-on-Audible books. Just last month I freely listened to The 6 Habits of Growth, How to Say It: Words that Make A Difference, Pivot and Pursue It, and How to Negotiate at Work.
I went on my Walk to Emmaus in 2000. My walk was a tipping point for how I lived out my life as a disciple of Jesus and my calling to ministry. If I don’t set my priorities, my priorities will be set by someone and something else. There are indeed times when I have to submit to someone else setting my priorities. But I have a plan and do my very best to make my week work for me rather than the other way around.
How do you make your week work for you?
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18