Hi, I’m Karl Vaters and I’m a small church pastor. I’ve spent over four decades in pastoral ministry, the last 28 at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California, where my wife Shelley and I served for 25 years as the lead pastor, and the last three years as the teaching pastor. I also write and speak about pastoral leadership from a small church perspective through books seminars and articles. I love hiking, especially through canyons and in high elevations. Every few years I go through extra training to do a one-day, rim-to-rim walk through Grand Canyon.
What is your motivation to remain productive in your area of leadership?
Since recognizing that my pastoral calling was to minister in a smaller congregation, I became aware of how few resources are targeted to the unique needs and strengths of small churches. So now I work hard to find, create and make small church resources available.
My motivation comes from recognizing that the Lord has placed me at a cross section of four important concepts 1. The massive number of small congregations in the world (about 90 percent of churches), 2. The amazing ministry small churches do, 3. The massive need for small church resources, and, 4. My decades of experience in this overlooked niche.
What productivity advice would you share with new leaders in leadership?
For many years I labored under the false (or at least limited) perception that the key to greater productivity was time management. In reality, managing my energy is far more important. When we concentrate on time management alone, we become hamsters on a wheel. We might get more done, but we can still burn out on a never-ending cycle of tasks. But when we concentrate on our outflow and input of energy we can start taking greater control of productivity in every area of life, spiritually, physically, emotionally, organizationally, you name it.
For example, putting an hour into a task while emotionally, physically or spiritually exhausted is not just unhealthy, it’s also far less productive than getting half an hour of rest, exercise, or prayer followed by half an hour of renewed, energized, and motivated work.
What are some tools or resources you would recommend to leaders that help you in your productivity?
There are several productivity tools and apps that help me a great deal. But, since they change regularly based on my needs and newer technology, my advice would be this:
Use whatever productivity apps and resources that help you. But regularly make an objective assessment of their true value. Are they actually helping you get the most out of your limited energy, or are they demanding even more from you? Don’t make the mistake of being controlled by your emails, your productivity app or your devices.
Where can leaders find you?
Find me at KarlVaters.com, a website devoted to Helping Small Churches Thrive.