“The pastors of high-growth churches spent most of their time in prayer, study, and teaching.”
Recently, Lifeway Research asked 200 pastors to provide an hour-by-hour calendar of what they do each week. The study included 101 pastors whose churches were in the top 5 percent in conversion rates. The rest were pastors of churches that didn’t have high conversion rates.
What they found was fascinating. The pastors of high-growth churches spent most of their time in prayer, study, and teaching. (In fact, that’s similar to the description of the apostles’ ministry in Acts 6:4.) The other pastors were all over the board with their pastoral activities. Effective pastors focus their ministries on what’s most important.
Paul says in Ephesians 5, “Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God.” (Philips) So pastor, don’t be vague with your ministry. Have a clear-cut direction. You and I are only accountable for God’s purpose for our lives. If I don’t get everything else done, that’s okay.
I try to focus on energy management, paying attention to my energy ebbs and flows.
To do this, don’t think of your week in hour slots. Think of your week in 21 segments. You’ve got seven mornings, seven afternoons, and seven evenings. Then divide up how you’ll spend those segments.
For instance, Monday is my day off. It’s my sabbath. Monday morning is pretty much just with me. Monday afternoon is with Kay. And Monday evening has always been spent with family.
I study in the mornings. I do meetings in the afternoons. Meetings don’t take as much creativity as my study time does. Then, in the evenings, we have a rule at Saddleback that every staff member must be home four nights a week. If you’re not home four nights a week, you’re in trouble with me. More than four nights a week and you’re burning out.
But even managing your energy will do you no good if you don’t learn to be selective with what you do. You don’t have time for everything. We’ve all got much more on our plate than one person can do. We’ve got to do what’s most important.
God has given you just enough time to do His will. If you’re under pressure, it means you’re either doing the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong way.