Productive Pastor 30: Scheduling the Big Rocks

Productive Pastor 30: Scheduling the Big Rocks

Do you have big rocks in your schedule? Or do you just do everything in the order it comes in?

We are going to talk about making sure the right things are scheduled and scheduled first in this episode.

5 Most Popular Productive Pastor Episodes

1. 17 Why You Need a Production Calendar
2. 14 The Power of a Time Audit
3. 16 Justin Wise on Call, Hustle and Why Goals Matter
4. 1 How to Reset your Morning
5. 5 A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath

Social Media Redux

1. schedugr.am-HT to Skye Mclain
2
. Bufferapp.com power scheduler (use it. Trust me)
3. Meet Edgar-if only I had the money for this one.

This last week I worked on being more intentional with my personal social media scheduling and was able to increase Productive Pastor downloads by 300%. Trust me, we can never stop being intentional enough with our social media scheduling. It free’s us up to actually be social and interact with people.

Scheduling the Big Rocks

Have you ever seen the illustration involving a jar, big rocks, pebbles, sand and water (or some variation). The basic idea is when we put the big (ie: most important) things in first we are able to get everything else in. This episode we are going to talk about how to schedule those big rocks.

1. What Matters Most?
What are the things in your ministry or life that matter most? These are the things you must do. They might be tasks no one else knows about, but in order for your ministry to move forward they must be done. They can be the things that only you can do (hopefully this is the case).

2. Yearly->Monthly->Weekly->Daily
What are you doing tomorrow? Having an accurate plan for what your week will look like is key. We can’t just declare something important, never strategize how to attack it and expect it to get done. Big rocks are always part of a boulder. 

3. Weekly Planning
The Week is Where You Win.

I think the week is the time during our strategic productivity that provides the best results. If we can rock the week-we can do anything. Sit down with your big rocks and determine how much time they will take to accomplish. You are going to schedule that time first.

4. Build Your Workflow

1. Meetings/Things that Don’t Move.
2. Big Rocks
3. Medium stuff
4. Everything Else

Resources Mentioned

Week Dominator by NeuYear
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson
The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

Volunteer Rocket: I have been using this program for the last two months and I can’t tell you how much it is affecting our ministry design at Foundry. It is expensive, but I would buy it all over again.

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

 

Productive Pastor 29: Social Media Scheduling

Productive Pastor 29: Social Media Scheduling

Welcome to the 29th Productive Pastor. This episode is all about social media scheduling and how that might affect transparency and honesty. I also give a social media scheduling sheet at the bottom of the shownotes. This whole episode came from this instagram picture from a few months back.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.29.51 AM

While I am not scheduling a month in advance right now, I totally believe in mapping out social media scheduling. My friend David Lyell asked a great question and I promised I would hit it up in a future episode. Well now you have it!

The Middle

Thanks for all the great folks who shouted out about the last episode with Omar and Michelle. They got open and honest with us and it really resonated with people.

I also want to thank Michael Romans for this awesome tweet.

Project Management Links 

We did a couple of episodes on project management in season two and I found two great links this week about project management tools. I want to share them with you, I think both are great ideas for how to actually manage a project.

How To Organize Your Entire Life with Trello

No Project Manager? Try Bullet Journaling for Business Productivity

How to use Social Media Scheduling (and not lose your soul)

I believe highly in social media scheduling, just for the sake of productivity, much less for intentionality. Many people argue that doing great social media takes to much time, but with scheduling you can take care of it in a few minutes a week. Let’s break this into the Why, What, When, Who and How.

Why
If you think everyone in your network see’s the posts you make, you will be really surprised. A tweet has a lifespan of about 18 minutes, Most Facebook page updates are seen by 6-20% of the audience. I think Instagram probably has the best ratio, but I am not convinced they aren’t using a viewing algorithm. If you want to make maximum impact, you have to schedule your most important updates.

Simply Measured for Facebook

What
Look at your insights, analytics and statistics. Let that data tell you what you need to be posting, what people are responding to best and how they are responding.

When
What are the best times of the day for you? When is it a bad idea to post?

Who
Your data tells you who follows you. What questions should that make you ask?

How
Each network has the best tools to schedule your posts.

So how do I use this sheet?
I highlight one thing to be my Major Emphasis. This is the most important “thing” I am trying to communicate that week. I also have a few medium items as well. I also make sure to emphasize a few posts that are more than likely to get high levels of engagement (based on my research). I then begin to fill in my posts for each network based off of the times I know things work best in each network. If a post is really important, I make sure to schedule it at the time I know the most people are online. I feel in the blanks after that.

Productive Pastor Social Media Schedule (download)

Transparency
The kicker in all of this is exactly what Dave asked about. We have to be strategic but we also have to be transparent. Folks will shut us off in a heartbeat if we are just advertising to them. Part of the beauty of doing this all at one time is realizing how you aren’t being social and you are just asking, asking and asking.

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

Listen:
Stitcher
RSS
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iTunes

 

The Most Important Word in Worship Design Is…

The Most Important Word in Worship Design Is…

For several years I spent at least half of my employable time concentrating on worship design. I led a team of people who designed three services a week for several hundred people. Music styles, preachers and other pieces in the service would change daily and sometimes at a moments notice. With multiple streams running, we had to stay on our toes.

It was during this time I began understanding how hard a task this was. As I branched out and would help other ministries and churches design and lead worship I learned one word was more important than anything else.

The most important word in worship design is context.

Who are you leading in worship? What is the culture? Are these people thoroughly churched or at the edges of faith? What are the spiritual emphasis and mission of the congregation? Is this a parachute drop service or part of a larger theme?

These are all important questions to ask.

When we are so immersed in conversations about worship, whether we are musicians, dancers, preachers or techs, it is easy to forget their is purpose in our design. We can get fascinated with minute details. If you don’t believe me, check out how meticulous worship musicians can be over seemingly non-essential pieces of gear, like guitar cables, amp cases or how to mount your effects pedals!

We can’t forget each gathering will have a unique group of people who need to be led in worship in a unique way! What might work well in another situation will be completely foreign in others. It could be said that the sister word to context should be flexibility. Part of the growth in worship leadership is learning how our decisions affect those we lead in worship. Are our ideas working?!!!

The bottom line is we need to be aware that the decisions we make are in genuine interest of the context of the worship service and how it will serve to bring people to Jesus. Our own personal opinions sometimes will need to be out of the conversation. As I adapt in leading my own congregation each week I see things that I need to change, and me alone. As worship leaders (and I use that phrase broadly) we need to always be investigating how (and are) we best interpreting what will draw our friends deeper into a life changing relationship with Jesus.

What tough changes have you yourself had to make in the last 6 months?

3 Things the Church Can Learn from the Serial Podcast

3 Things the Church Can Learn from the Serial Podcast

At the end of 2014, Meredith and I traveled. We probably spent close to 20 hours in the car driving. Both of us love podcasts and we decided to power listen to Serial, the breakout podcast hit of the fall.

If you aren’t familiar with Serial yet, it is a long form, narrative style podcast from the This American Life family. In 12 episodes it told the story of a murder suspect and the crime information that didn’t necessarily match up. The New Yorker called Serial “the Podcast to end all podcasts.”

It was a break out hit and one of the most innovative pieces of media in 2014. There are several lessons the church can learn from the podcast. I think now is the time for any local church to begin learning some lessons from new media.

3 Things Churches Can Learn from the Serial Podcast

1. The new media critical mass has been reached.
For the last 10 years people have slowly been learning to get news, build opinions and discuss things in alternative ways. According to Everertt Rodgers’ research Diffusion of Innovation, we have reached critical mass. New media has reached the late majority level. This means the average amount of persons might not have actually engaged in a tremendous amount of new media communication styles, but they are familiar enough with them to hit mainstream. The more narrative, people based storytelling is now accepted and understood easily (rather than tolerated and confused). The 20th century was primarily a knowledge based society. In many ways it was the apex of the last 500 years of a new system of innovation begun with printing press.

If we look at communication development, the last 5 years have been a shift of innovation away from knowledge/information and back towards narrative as the dominate holder of truth. This written -> oral cultural shift doesn’t downgrade knowledge…but instead shows a development of both together. The storyteller no longer is simply a transmitter of previous information, but now holds authority by not just the truthfulness they tell…but how they tell it.

This means people have now changed the way they digest and listen to media. Think of the communication potential your church now has. Instead of reaching people living inside a knowledge based culture,we have to shift to a narrative based. But isn’t that what the gospel really is? The story of many people being reconciled to the Father, through the sacrifice of His Son and then grasped and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

2. Podcasts have now reached mainstream
Podcasts have been around for 10 years in some medium or the other. Apple iTunes has had podcast delivery built in since 2005. Even though it was almost 9 years ago, this was the first step in accessibility. In the last 5 years, the technology for listening to podcasts has changed dramatically. With the advent of smartphones (and the iPhones ability to download/stream podcasts natively) the accessibility was easier than ever before. In the past, you had to search through the store, download to iTunes and then upload the podcast to your iPod.

Serial broke iTunes download records. They reached 5 million downloads quicker than any other podcast. 15% of our population has listened to a podcast in the last month. People are moving towards podcasts as a primary source of information and entertainment. The hardest part about a podcast is finding the best way to listen.

In the last 10 years, vehicles have slowly started making connecting an auxiliary device to the stereo easier. At first it was auxiliary jacks and now it is bluetooth. I don’t think I have had a rental car in the last 5 years that doesn’t have the ability to route my iPhone audio through the speaker.

This makes it easy for your church to distribute content.

Instead of the old tape or cd based ministry, which necessitated changing delivery systems (tapes or CD’s), listeners now have the content at the same place everywhere. They can start and stop with ease.  The average commute is 25.4 minutes.

Podcast technology means your ministry can reach listeners who can subscribe to regular content and listen to it anywhere.And the average person now has everything they need to engage with your content and is probably familiar. Churches have used RSS (podcast code) technology for years to deliver sermons…but that is just the beginning. Read  “What’s Behind the Greatest Podcast Renaissance” and think about how you can take advantage of this medium

3. How Serial changed everything (in a great way).

Serial changed everything. Or maybe we can say it served as the example of the great change that has been happening over the last 2 years as far as podcasts are concerned. I have podcaster off and on for 10 years. For 8 of those it was a total bust. Getting 10 downloads was a success. No one knew how, knew what or knew why podcasts were great. It was a total niche movement.

But it was worth sticking with. Apple sat on it for years before it hit mainstream.

Serial showed us how everything changed.

It was a distinctly Generation X/ Millennial product. With the crime in Serial occurring in 1999, there are plenty of cultural references.

Sarah Koenig, the host and primary investigator speaks of adolescence not as a statistical fact, but as something mainstream.* It shows a completely perfect example of a secular moral structure…with casual drug use and sexuality on a sliding scale of acceptability. Language isn’t edited out. One particular person involved coined a phrase used through out the show featuring the F-bomb. It was referenced countless times throughout the show. Unedited. No apologies. Besides the moral framework, the style of reporting this has completely changed. It is no longer a disapproving adult, but instead someone who remembers (and even identifies) with the subjects. I can’t imagine Barbara Walters doing this style of reporting.

Serial also served as an amazing example of power listening. We have been familiar with power watching, the practice of back to back viewings of entire television seasons, ever since DVD sets became affordable. Netflix, and other streaming services, have made this a regular part of life.

Serial was the first podcast to seriously look at power listening. People would plan out blocks of time (the holiday season was perfect…because the show had just ended) to listen to the entire 12 episode season.

So ask yourselves this. Are you in the content business or the sermon business?** The church has used technological advances for years in media. If fact, it’s one of the areas we have done really well in.

I think this gives us two questions to ask ourselves.

1. How can my church create or adapt a content strategy influenced by power watching/listening and the consumption of narrative media.
2. Do we speak the communication language of Generation X and the Millennials or are we still directing our digital media towards the style of engagement created by older generations.

Serial has been a great example of the tipping point of new media and any church leader needs to be asking these questions.

*Note. I don’t agree with the information below-but it’s of the utmost sociological importance.
**But let’s think about what a sermon is. It’s an intentional packaging and communication of the Story of God. For me, the basic assumption of preaching/sermonizing is the assumption and goal of a person being affected and making intentional decisions because of the word of God. The lines between the sermon and content are decently blurry.