President Harry S. Truman famously said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Early on in my leadership, the concept of the importance of reading took a while to understand. Once I began leading others, I understood leadership as: Doing More and Reading Less.
However, once I was introduced to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (below), I soon realized leadership is not about doing more, but about doing well what is most important.
As new leaders begin in their new role, it’s important to start well in order to finish well. New leaders are encouraged to read books not only on leadership, but on productivity.
Utilize the list below for five essential productivity books for new leaders:
Write in the comments below what books have shaped your productivity?
Great team culture? Increased profit margin? Global expansion? Casting a compelling vision? Are any of these the missing ingredient for significant leadership?
Reports have left a bad taste in the mouth of leaders across the world. CNN released an article about CEOs who stepped down in 2019. CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry (Best Buy CEO), was asked to step down due to an investigation into her personal conduct.
While having a great team culture, increased profit margin or casting a compelling vision are each essential to leadership, there’s one necessary ingredient for significant leadership that must be a prerequisite.
Integrity. The origin of integrity comes from the French word ‘integrite’ that means: innocence, purity. Integrity also comes from the Latin that means: wholeness, or completeness. There’s only one Leader that has been completely whole, pure (Follow link here), but integrity is the necessary ingredient for significant leadership for three reasons.
Integrity is the timeless, necessary ingredient for leadership. We all have heard the nickname “Honest Abe” regarding our sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln. Why did he receive that nickname? One story has it that when “he was a young store clerk, whenever he short changed a customer - even by a few pennies, he would close up the store and walk to find the customer to return the change”. Would you go to such great lengths to protect your integrity? Your staff will appreciate your willingness to place their interests over your own personal gain.
Integrity is what people need most in a leader. Sure, you may be able to deliver a compelling vision statement that transforms a company’s trajectory - but if you are stealing profits as your company increases revenue, your dishonesty will eventually be made known to the public and your staff. Your integrity may never make a viral YouTube video or receive thousands of social media shares, but integrity is what is needed most in leadership circles today.
Integrity is what will sustain your leadership tomorrow. Integrity and competence work together. Take time to develop your leadership skills, build an amazing team around you, and even create an amazing team culture where your staff relishes their work experience. If you want to continue leading, develop your integrity by putting the needs of your staff and company above your own.
Do you know of a leader who had amazing integrity? Share about it below and share what lessons you learned from them.
I believe Church Leaders should be fasting and praying for God to save people in your church and community. At the church God has called me to Pastor, we set a goal each year of salvation experiences and baptisms and we pray for God to save "X" amount of people in our community.
In 2019, God blessed our church with a record number of salvation experiences and baptisms. Since the baptism waters were moving - we needed to have a process for our staff to use in order for us to be on the same page when someone came forward asking to be baptized.
As you are praying for salvation experiences and baptisms in 2020, what is the process for baptism at your local church and within your ministry? Do you know what to do when an individual expresses interest in baptism?
Instead of assuming everyone in your community is aware of how to get to your baptistery, understands what time to meet and what to bring, I wanted to provide a simple checklist for you to use within your ministry. Once someone expresses interest in baptism within your ministry, rejoice and give God praise for changing lives - then follow the checklist below.
What is the process you have at your church for baptism? Would you add anything to the checklist below? Join the discussion below and feel free download and use the free resources below.
Free Resource #1 - Baptism Checklist
Free Resource #2 - Business Card Size Invitations (Front and Back)
Sixteen years! Imagine living your life for sixteen years without any direction. Maybe this characterizes your life right now. You feel like you have no direction and you’re simply in survival mode. For some, you are living a pleasant, enjoyable life, yet there is no direction for your life or ministry.
Once the people of God return from seventy years of exile, they returned to their home and began rebuilding the Temple of God. Yet after opposition (Ezra 3-4), work on the Temple of God ceased and the people lived sixteen years comfortably in their own homes. The people needed direction.
Enter the prophet Haggai. The prophet spoke God’s Word to the people. He said, “Consider your ways (Haggai 1:4).” Through the Word of God, Haggai is commanding the people to set their heart upon the way they are living their lives and to set their heart upon the worship of God. Haggai gave God’s people direction with God’s Word.
Are you looking for direction in your life? Have you considered the direction you are going? I invite you to begin a Bible reading plan. If the direction of our life is living for the glory of God, the best place to begin living for God’s glory is by reading His Word, the Bible, routinely. Below, you will see some excellent Bible reading plans to begin the new year.
If we are not leading ourselves, we cannot effectively lead others well. We must be leading ourselves in the right direction in order to lead others in the right direction. The direction we must be moving is not forward or backward. We must be moving upward. Set you heart on the glory of God and make Him the priority in your life by looking to His Word.
Do you have direction in your life? Do you need direction for your ministry? Do you need direction for those you lead?
Every 3,000 - 5,000 miles.
Can you guess what is supposed to happen during the mileage mentioned? My vehicle is supposed to receive an oil change. I am aware of the need for an oil change because there is a screen in my vehicle that states “Maintenance Recommended”. There is also a sticker in the top left corner of my windshield stating the exact mileage an oil change is recommended.
An oil change is important for the life of a vehicle because new, fresh oil is essential for lubricating the engine and absorbing engine heat. Do I always follow the 3,000 - 5,000 miles recommended oil change? No, but as my schedule allows, I adhere to what the experts suggest and begin making the necessary arrangements once I approach the 3,000 - 5,000 mark.
Paul writes in First Corinthians 6:19-20 that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” and he finishes the section with these words, “Therefore honor God with your bodies”. If our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to honor God with our body, then we honor God when we take care of the temple He has given us.
Let’s go back to my vehicle for a moment. What will happen when I do not take proper care of my vehicle? I will start to see the signs of a major problem - and suddenly, the vehicle will break down. When we do not honor God with our body by taking care of the temple He’s given us, we will start seeing the signs: fatigue, apathy about ministry opportunities, neglecting prayer and suddenly, you will ‘break down’. Within ministry circles, it’s called “Burn Out”.
I am aware the busyness of ministry takes its toll on our weekly to-do lists and self care drops off the list. However, just like the mechanic has given you reminders to maintain your vehicle, you also need reminders of self-care. Make an appointment with yourself - to go for a 30 minute walk three days next week. Make an appointment with yourself - to read a leadership book for 30 minutes before you leave for the day.
Yes, interruptions will happen and when they do, shift your self-care appointment to the next open day available. Guard these appointments and also communicate these appointments with others around you. You’re not selfish when you seek to honor God with your body. You may actually lead others toward self-care. Prayerfully consider how you can honor God with the temple He has given you.
In what ways are you lacking in self-care (lack of sleep, exercise, diet, etc.)? What stops you from honoring God with your body? How do you honor God with your body? What routines do you have in place that could possibly help others? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I often hear the quote by Martin Luther, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
I think we can all agree with Luther when he said, “I have so much to do.” For those in ministry - there’s always phone calls to make, volunteers to recruit, programs to plan, sermons/lessons to prepare and members to visit. “I have so much to do . . .” is often the mantra of those in ministry today.
For those who are stay-at-home parents, business leaders, volunteers or employees, you can agree with the statement “I have so much to do . . .” as well. Students can agree with Luther and say, “I have so much to do . . .” Even children can now agree and say as they finish school for the day and then proceed to sports practice, “I have so much to do . . .”
Busyness is now next to godliness. I’ve spoken to Pastor’s who say with pride, “I haven’t taken a day off in two weeks!” Men speak of working seventy hours a week like they just won an award for the most hours worked at the job site. Busyness is now next to godliness.
What about the next phrase, “I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” What? Three hours in prayer? Who has that much time in their schedule? Now I will admit, I do not spend the first three hours in prayer. Can you fill in the blank though, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first ________ _________ in prayer?”
How amazing would it be to spend three hours in prayer? How wonderful would it be to spend two consecutive, uninterrupted hours in prayer? How special would it be to spend one hour in prayer? How remarkable would it be to say, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first ten minutes before my shift in prayer”?
Understand, we are not required to spend three hours every time we have a busy schedule. I believe the point Luther was attempting to make is make prayer a priority!
Block time in your daily calendar for prayer. In my Google Calendar, I block off at least an hour for prayer each day. During that time, I have an appointment - the door to my office is closed, the computer is put on sleep mode, and I pray. If I do not schedule prayer on my daily agenda, my daily agenda will never include prayer.
This is my attempt of making prayer a priority in my ministry and daily life. My method may not be perfect, but God is glorified when we make prayer a priority.
How do you make prayer a priority in your life? Take some time and share in the comments below some methods you use to make prayer a priority in your daily life.
Stepping stone? No!
I did not use Children’s Ministry for a stepping stone toward the Senior Pastorate. Reflecting over the years I can see how God was preparing my heart for the ministry of the Senior Pastorate. I am eternally thankful for God directing my path toward where I am today.
Before I transitioned out of my previous church, a mentor who is also a former pastor told me, “The two most important things a pastor can focus on are: Prayer and the Ministry of the Word.” While I understand why he counseled me toward these two tasks and I believe they are Biblical (Acts 6:4), I would like to take time to narrow our focus down to one priority as leaders in ministry. Our priority is simply this:
The Glory of God
When God’s people were allowed to return and worship God after seventy years of exile, they returned to a temple that was in ruin. God’s people then started to lay the foundation (Ezra 3:10), but became discouraged by their adversaries. For sixteen years, God’s people became focused on other tasks: rebuilding their own homes, farming, work, food, and drink, while God’s House remained unfinished.
A prophet named Haggai is called by God to emphasize rebuilding the temple. In Haggai 1:7, God declares, “Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified…”
The glory of God was the priority for God’s people. Rebuilding their own home, farming, eating food, earning wages were not sinful. When the priority shifted away from God’s glory, God rebuked the people and called them to ‘consider their ways’.
As leaders in ministry, we can be distracted with ministry and easily forget that our priority in ministry and in all of life is to glorify God. With the demands of leadership continually shifting and changing, it’s important that we daily refocus our priority in ministry. With this in mind, follow the links below as I discuss three ways we can give glory to God as leaders in ministry.
Share below how you seek to give God the glory in your leadership.
Michael Altshuler, a Motivational Speaker and Trainer, once said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” The goal of the pilot is to take passengers to their destination safely and on schedule. They know the course and prepare accordingly.
As leaders, you are in the pilot’s seat in how productive you will be each day. In order to help you arrive at your destination (productivity), here are five crucial actions to improve productivity.
1. Utilize a Voice Assistant - As Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and other voice assistants continue to become popular, it’s time to utilize them for more than simply asking ‘What is the weather today?’ or ‘How long will it take me to get to work?’ Begin utilizing voice assistants for productivity around the office. For example, say ‘Hey Google, remind me to call Fred today at 2 P.M.’ You can also say, “Hey Siri, email Stacey and ask if she is available to meet on Thursday.’ Ask your Voice Assistant to set a 30 minute timer in order to focus on your most important task. From sending text messages to adding calendar appointments to shopping, begin utilizing your voice assistant for productivity.
2. Purchase a Full Focus Planner - Michael Hyatt and Company have developed an incredible planner for leaders to utilize for daily, monthly and quarterly planning. Each morning, leaders write down their daily big three goals for the day, along with their schedule and other tasks. There’s space for writing down your ideal week, annual goals and daily rituals all designed to keep your goals within your reach. Check it out here - https://fullfocusplanner.com
3. Utilize an Online Calendar - The smartphone culture has provided worldwide access at the tips of our fingers. If you are a leader who has not created an online calendar yet, now is the time. While there are many to choose from, Google Calendar has a simple and free calendar you can use to get started. Provide access to your calendar for your spouse, your team, and your Administrative Assistant. It’s important to communicate your schedule to those close to you and an online calendar can provide that communication. In the event you want to use both a hard copy and electronic copy, Michael Hyatt has written an excellent article on how to use the Full Focus Planner and a digital calendar here.
4. Stop Multitasking - Research has proven multitasking is ineffective. Begin training yourself now to focus on one task at a time. When skipping back and forth to multiple tasks, you’re losing time and efficiency. Learn how to focus on one task at a time. It will take time adjust to this new routine, but it will certainly prove to be more productive for you in your area of leadership. The next crucial action will guide you in your start in focusing on one task at a time.
5. Begin Block Scheduling - In order to keep you focused on one task, block scheduling is the method you should take advantage of. Start by prioritizing what area of your work needs most attention or is most important and block a specific amount of time on your calendar (30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.). Then focus your energy and effort on that most important task. Sure, emergencies will always arise - you’re a leader. When this happens, simply schedule another block of time for that one task.
All leaders can improve in their productivity. Like the beginning of the article said - You’re the pilot - so take advantage of the resources and tools available and begin focusing on improving your productivity.
How do you plan to improve your productivity? Use the comment section below and discuss with others how you plan to improve your productivity.
Over the past few weeks we have discussed paper calendars and online calendars. We’ve shared benefits and concerns of each method. Today, we’ll conclude by sharing the method we use and how it’s possible to blend the two options together.
Our Personal Preference - The preference for Leadership in Ministry is: Online Calendar. We use the Google Calendar and have separate calendars rolled up into one. We have an appointment calendar, family calendar, blogging calendar, and an Administrative Assistant Calendar. If the calendar becomes jumbled with all of the different calendars, we simply uncheck a calendar to improve the look of the calendar.
Regarding distractions, we simply schedule times throughout the day to check email and resist the urge to check an email at every notification. Also, the goal is to limit games on our electronic devices as they can often be a distraction. However, we understand there are emergencies that arise that require an instant response, but those are few and far between.
Overall, choosing an online or paper calendar depends on your personality and preference. Our recommendation is to try a few until you find what works for you. If you would like some assistance on what to choose, contact us using the contact page on our website.
Blending the Two - We have found a way to blend the two calendars. When you are planning long term and would like to see the ‘big picture’, a paper calendar is the best option. We typically print a yearly calendar and use that paper calendar to look long range. For the short term, like day to day tasks or weekly planning, we use the online calendar.
This concludes our discussion on calendars. We would love to hear your thoughts on the discussion from the past few weeks. What methods do you use in your calendaring? Do you have a system that works for you?
Last week we began a discussion on effective calendaring and which method is most beneficial. We began by looking at the benefits and a concern of online calendaring. This week we will look at paper calendaring.
We live in a day where ‘paperless’ is becoming a goal of many companies and churches. In one way, this is productive and organized. However, regarding a calendar, having paper may benefit you and your ministry. Here are two ways a paper calendar can be beneficial and one way a paper calendar can be an obstacle.
Memorable - Research still proves writing down items can be beneficial in retaining information. (Link). Writing down an event, meeting or appointment can be helpful in keeping the calendar input at the forefront of your mind. This is also beneficial in keeping notes and recording important information.
Customizable - There are many different paper calendars to choose from. You can choose which calendar fits your personality. For example:
Michael Hyatt has an excellent planner that not only includes an appointment section, but also has a place to record goals as well. Check out this wonderful tool here - https://fullfocusplanner.com/
Bulky - The one concern we have with the paper calendar is we cannot carry it everywhere we go. Depending on the calendar you purchase, they can be bulky and can be misplaced easily. While it’s true, writing things down make it more memorable, it’s possible that many other things will cloud our memory and cause some confusion in the event a calendar is lost or forgotten.
Next week we’ll share with you our personal preference and how it’s possible to blend the two options together.
Share with readers what ways you see paper calendaring more beneficial than online calendaring. What ways do you see paper calendaring less beneficial?