Time Management – Ministry Models

time management Dreamstime.comJoin us September 7, 2016 at 1pm Central Time as we discuss Time Management on our Ministry Models Teleconference. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330

Here are 3 Time Management Ministry Models I have found helpful. Feel free to use, adapt or discard them in your ministry. Remember, a MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light!

  1. cesbp 1-4 Formula. To get a good start on my day I know there are certain things I must get done just to get started (see Note #1 below). On my best days it takes about 2.5 hours to do these things. On rushed days I compress or multi-task items. If I’m going to do this in the morning I obviously need to get to bed at a decent hour!
    • c = Communion with God. Bible study, prayer, reflection, singing, praise, gratitude (see Note #2 below).
    • e = Exercise. Usually I walk 30 minutes with my wife. Many times I run an additional 15 minutes.
    • s = Shower. If I want to be around people, and especially if I want them to be around me I can’t skip this one!
    • b = Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. Usually fruit then cereal and nuts with almond or soymilk.
    • p = Plan. I look at my To Do list and think of the highest priorities, then pick 1 to 4 items that are my top priorities for the day, realizing I could be interrupted at any time.
    • 1-4 = My top 1 to 4 priorities in order of what will accomplish the most toward the mission I believe God has called me to (see Note #3 below). This might include outline my sermon, visit a particular member, start a small group, etc. One of these should have to do with family (see Note #4 below). Having 1-4 top priorities keeps me from trying to do everything in one day and allows me to postpone to the next day items with lower priority (See Jesus’ example in postponing cleansing the temple till the next day because “the hour was already late.” Mark 11:11). I try to accomplish the top priority by 10am if possible.
  2. Immediate Distraction Evaluation. Life is full of distractions. Some are relatively harmless but others can derail us from carrying out our God-given mission during the day or even our lifetime. Distractions can be from TV, radio, a billboard, the internet, social media, phone calls, an unannounced visitor, our own thoughts, etc (see Note #5-7 below). Here are questions that help me quickly evaluate how to handle the distraction and clarify if perhaps it is a providential appointment from God or a temptation from Satan. Once clarified I can quickly pursue several of the responses below.
    1. Evaluation Questions. Who will this distraction…
      1. Glorify?
      2. Help?
      3. Empower?
      4. Affirm?
      5. Enrich?
    2. Satan (= temptation)
      1. Pray (Psalm 50:15)
      2. Sing (See Note #8 below)
      3. Quote (Jesus in Matthew 4; Psalm 119:11)
      4. Praise
      5. Run (Joseph in Genesis 39)
    3. Jesus (= providential appointment)
      1. Relax (Matthew 11:28-30)
      2. Listen
      3. Encourage (Hebrews 10:25)
      4. Quote (2 Peter 1:4)
      5. Activate (in a ministry or group) (Matthew 20:6-7)
  3. One Minute Manager. In 1982 Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson wrote a short book telling a story about three effective interpersonal relationship techniques. I believe these techniques, when guided by the Holy Spirit in our lives, can help us help our members and our community more effectively.
    1. One-minute goals. Should be clear and take only one minute or less to write down.
    2. One-minute praisings. Affirm the person and little and big successes.
    3. One-minute reprimands. Express concern about a specific action rather than character quality and always end with an affirmation of the person.

Inspired Notes

  1. If the youth would form habits of regularity and order, they would improve in health, in spirits, in memory, and in disposition. {Evangelism 652.1}
  2. It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer for ourselves before God. {GC 598.2}
  3. When you rise in the morning, take into consideration, as far as possible, the work you must accomplish during the day. If necessary, have a small book in which to jot down the things that need to be done, and set yourself a time in which to do your work.—The Youth’s Instructor, January 28, 1897. {Evangelism 652.2}
  4. Ministers’ children are in some cases the most neglected children in the world, for the reason that the father is with them but little, and they are left to choose their own employment and amusement.–AH 354. {Pastoral Ministry 82.3}
  5. It is the duty of every Christian to acquire habits of order, thoroughness, and dispatch. There is no excuse for slow bungling at work of any character. When one is always at work and the work is never done, it is because mind and heart are not put into the labor. The one who is slow and who works at a disadvantage should realize that these are faults to be corrected. … In their work let them have a definite aim. Decide how long a time is required for a given task, and then bend every effort toward accomplishing the work in the given time. The exercise of the will power will make the hands move deftly. {Christ’s Object Lessons 344.1}
  6. The eight-hour system finds no place in the program of the minister of God. He must hold himself in readiness for service at any hour.–Gospel Workers, p. 451. (1915) {Evangelism 652.3}
  7. When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. Hence it is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Savior and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. The pleasures of the world, life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections—to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices. Steps to Christ 71.2
  8. When those who love God are tempted, let them sing the praises of their Creator rather than speak words of accusing or faultfinding… {That I May Know Him 185.5}

Additional Notes from Teleconference Discussion

  1. Weekly Blocks of Time. To try to stay balanced as a pastor each week I try to work with blocks of time. I think in terms of five types of blocks (3Ps & 2 Families!) – Prayer and Study time, People time, Paperwork time, Church family time and Family time. Each week has 21 blocks of time (morning, afternoon, evening times 7 days). I try to guard two mornings a week for Prayer and Study time (in addition to my daily Communion with God). For People time I include meetings, groups and visitation (I always try to take 1-2 people with me when I do any visitation). For Paperwork (which is now usually digital!) I try to have 30-60 minutes a day and/or one block of time a week. Church family time is what I do to be a part of my church family, even if I weren’t the pastor.  That includes involvement of some type on Sabbath morning and can include another block each week. Family time is 3-4 evenings a week for Family Worship and a Family Day each week. This is all flexible. I put the blocks in place for the week on Sunday.
  2. Sermon Preparation. I plan my preaching schedule for the entire year in the fall of the previous year. Usually I pick a theme for each quarter that all speakers (me, elders, guest speakers, etc.) participate in. For weekly preparation I try to finish my sermon outline for that Sabbath by Monday or Tuesday noon and have the illustrations selected by Wednesday or Thursday noon. That gives the sermon time to incubate in my mind the last few days before I preach it. This is so much more relaxing that trying to write it late into Friday night/early Sabbath morning like I did in my early years of pastoring.
  3. Yearly PlanningMany have heard of trying to fit rocks, gravel, sand and water into a jar. It all depends on what order you use to put each item in. If you begin with the sand and gravel you will have no room for the rocks. But if you put the rocks in first, then shake the gravel in between the rocks, then add the sand and finally the water you can fill the entire jar! In yearly planning put the rocks in first (for me it is family vacations, reaping meetings and mission trips), then the gravel (quarterly and monthly goals), then the sand (meetings, visitation, sermon prep, etc.) and finally the water.
  4. Enjoying the Sabbath (even pastors!). As a young pastor my week was out of balance. Friday night I was writing my sermon usually finishing sometime after midnight. I would get up and preach it later that morning then crash Sabbath afternoon, using God’s time to catch up on my sleep! When I finally admitted I was doing wrong and asked the Lord to help me I began to learn to balance out my week. When the Sabbath came I was at my best, refreshed and ready to minister. Our family began to approach the Sabbath using the three Sabbath principles found at Creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and in the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) – Rest, Blessed, Sanctified/Hallowed. We took the 24 hour gift of the Sabbath and broke it down into 3 segments. Friday sundown to bedtime we emphasized “rest” by setting aside our “to do” lists before sundown, gathering as a family to light a candle, drink grape juice, talk about how we saw God at work during the week, have family worship and get to bed early! Sabbath morning from when we woke up till lunch we emphasized “sanctified” by gathering with other believers on Sabbath morning as Jesus was in the habit of doing (Luke 4:16) to get into the Bible, which sanctifies us (John 17:17), by studying Sabbath School together, sharing what we learned from the Bible during the past week, singing songs in harmony with the Bible and hearing preaching from the Bible. Sabbath from lunch to sunset we emphasized “blessed” by doing what Jesus did on Sabbath afternoon – looking for those who were broken, wounded, injured and/or discouraged and bringing help, hope, encouragement and healing (see John 5 and John 9 for example). Also getting out in God’s creation can be a blessing to us.
  5. Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations. When church members (sometimes even leaders) have unrealistic expectations (they want us to buy paper towels for the restroom, fix the toilet, mow the church lawn, help them set up children’s Sabbath School room, etc.) I try to approach it in one of several ways –
    • Help them build their team. Often they feel overwhelmed and if I can give them 15-20 minutes of assistance I will also ask them who they can recruit to their ministry team. We brainstorm names together. I then challenge them to pray for the people on their list then contact them within a week to ask if they will join their team. True leaders must be mobilizers and recruiters. I tell them I’m sure the Lord will help them find at least one or two partners in their ministry.
    • Raise their vision. Talk to them about how this activity is an important part of carrying out God’s mission in this community, encouraging them with its value. If it isn’t an important activity I try to re-direct them to a ministry/activity of greater value.
    • Ask the appropriate ministry leader to take care of what needs to be done. Deacons are in charge of all facilities, Children’s Ministry Leader is in charge of all children’s activities, Elders are in  charge of overseeing the worship service while I handle the preaching schedule, etc. My ultimate goal is to help each church leader succeed in their daily walk with Jesus, all their relationships including family, and the ministry and mission Jesus has called them to. I need to show care and concern and help them find a way forward if possible.

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. There will be notes posted for each topic.


  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Preaching Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment


  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – New District – Starting Well
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission.


About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
This entry was posted in Bible Study, Family, Health & Temperance, Lifelong Learning, Ministry Models, Pastoring, Time Management. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s