3 Steps to Reclaiming Your Schedule

Blank DocumentWhat are your top priorities?  I’d guess that your relationship with God, your family, friends, church, and health all make the list.  One of the challenges in ministry is that these priorities often feel like they’re competing.

Do you stay late to finish a project or leave tasks incomplete to get some rest? 

Do you “talk shop” while out to dinner with an elder and his family because you rarely get a chance to catch up?  Or do you put that aside and focus on your loved ones?

These aren’t always clear-cut or simple decisions.

I don’t have a husband or children, but a key priority for me is having healthy relationships. I don’t want to be successful in my career yet look around one day and not have any close friends.  I still manage to mess this up at times, but thankfully my friends are forgiving and know that I’m trying to do better.  I’m guessing you’ve been there too.

While I’m not sure this tension is ever fully resolved, I’ve found two keys that help.  The first is spending consistent time alone with God – seeking Him and asking for wisdom.

The second involves setting priorities and planning accordingly.  Here are a few steps to get you started:

Define and document your priorities

What is really important to you?  Your spouse?  Children? Friends?  Parents? Ministry?  Write down what you want each of these areas to look like and what it’ll take to accomplish those goals.

Review your calendar

What does your calendar communicate regarding your priorities?  Does your schedule reflect your priorities?

Adjust your schedule to realign with your priorities

It may take some time to fix the issue, but let your family and team members know what you’re working towards.  Ask for their forgiveness if needed and certainly for their support.

It’s easy to get consumed by ministry and feel like we’re letting God down if we aren’t working 24/7.  Remember: Jesus conquered death not to get our labor, but our love.  Yes, sacrifice and hard work are part of ministry.  However, don’t let that be all you experience.

Ask God to reset your priorities and to help you align your schedule with His priorities for you.  You don’t have to do it all.  Trust the leaders around you to carry their share.  Trust God to give you wisdom and courage to make the right decisions.  That’s what I’m trying to do and even when I miss the mark, I’m still coming closer than if I didn’t focus on my priorities at all.  Try it out – I’m confident you’ll find it worth the effort.

How do you deal with the pressures of ministry?  Has setting priorities helped you?