Wrestling a Bear: Taking Control of an Angry Schedule

Wrestling a Bear: Taking Control of an Angry Schedule


Ministry is a tough job. There isn’t another career with the complexity of scheduling AND management. How many secular organizations can instantly thrust people into leadership over dozens, hundreds or thousands? Angry schedules are those with the potential to derail our ministry. They can be personal or organizational schedules.

Here are 4 episodes of The Productive Pastor that will help you wrestle down the angry schedule.


Episode 8: When Things Go Crazy: Navigating the Time Bomb

Part of ministry is responding to crisis. As much as we can plan and strategically organize our schedule, something can and will come up that necessitates us going off schedule for a few hours or days. The secret to navigating this well is to have a proper on and off ramp. This episode will show you exactly how to do that.



Episode 14: The Power of a Time Audit

If you are struggling with time management, the first step to wrestling it to the ground is doing a time audit. You can’t improve what you don’t know! Regular time audits can be extremely helpful.

time audit

Episode 3: Priority Based Schedule

What is the most important thing this week? The ability to answer that question provides an extreme amount of clarity and purpose. Outlining priorities and planning around them assists in effectiveness and stewardship of time.


Episode 34: Keeping Important Goals at the Front of the Pack

Have you ever hit a personal or organizational rut? They are easy to get into if you aren’t paying attention to goals and project management. This episode is all about staying focused on the forward momentum you have identified as the most important.

productive pastor

PP: 36 Productivity and Anxiety with Omar Rikabi

PP: 36 Productivity and Anxiety with Omar Rikabi

On this episode I come back to content originally recorded for Episode 28. My friend Omar Rikabi is a United Methodist pastor in the Dallas area. He spent years in college ministry and transitioned to the local church just over a year ago. Omar gets open about his journey and how productivity provides stability to help him in his overall life.

A big thanks to Steve Murphy and Rodmanprice for their iTunes review and ratings.

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Tomato Timer (webbased Pomodoro app)
Early Bird list for Sermons That Have Reach


3 Resources to Add Spark to Your Sermons

3 Resources to Add Spark to Your Sermons


Does preaching every get dull to you? Better yet, do you feel your sermons are making folks a little too comfortable in the pews? Here are 3 of my top posts on preaching to help you remix things up a little. Each one of them is a little different, from the practical to the unorthodox (with a little non-traditional preaching environment mixed in). The biggest tip I have found to keep your sermons running great is to always be working on making them better!

3 Resources to Add Spark to Your Sermons

serial podcast

3 Things the Church can learn from the Serial Podcast.
Did you get sucked into Serial last year? We certainly did. One of the best things about Serial is how it showed a dramatic amount of social change-and this is good for preachers and anyone else who is a narrative communicator.

These 3 things make us ask these two questions:
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.


Productive Pastor 20: 5 Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation
How do you prepare a sermon well? There are plenty of ways. These are the five tips I like to give people.
1. Read
2. Have a Holding Tank
3. Have a Preaching Calendar
4. Ask Others
5. Find/Build a Preparation Rhythm.


Teaching a Retreat? Here’s How I Plan
Have you ever taught for a retreat? Or maybe preached a quick succession of sermons?

Prepping for these type events can be stressful or it can be really cool. Let me clue you in on a few tips and ideas. Many of these will also work for planning an entire season of preaching…although since folks are hearing them several days apart you won’t get the level of familiarity.

PP 35: Leading in Tough Situations

PP 35: Leading in Tough Situations

Welcome to the Productive Pastor. We are doing something a little different with this episode. The main conversation is a replay from the latest Threshing Floor Podcast. I host this show along with two of my great friends. Joshua and I have been having conversations about leadership and when it gets tough. We recorded one of these, and I am sharing a section of it today with you. If you liked what you heard, check out the full episode here.

Jonathan Andersen: Preaching Without Notes

Leading in Tough Situations

1. Center Yourself
The most important part of leading, whether in tough or easy situations, is taking care of your own soul. It is impossible to be leading people well if you are out of your own devotional life and sabbath rhythm.

2. Know Your Growing Edges
What are you not good at? This isn’t a new idea at Productive Pastor. It is really hard leading in a place you are unfamiliar. Identify your grow spaces and ruthlessly get better at them.

3. Learn to Delegate
Both Joshua and I are huge fans of Volunteer Rocket. I have learned so much about delegation and building healthy volunteer systems through their training. It is worth every penny

Back Matter

Ministry Library is a fantastic resource I subscribe to. They create amazing videos of book summaries and other leadership resources.  Brian contacted me and wants to share a great resource about leading with our listeners.

Related Printout and Workshop

 Next Season

In August, Productive Pastor will feature the FULL interviews from Omar Rikabi and Michelle Manual. You met them in Episode 28: Productivity, Call and Soulcare. This episode was hugely popular.  Both of these conversations were over an hour each, and we edited down the content seriously to fit in episode 28. If you resonated deeply with their stories-get ready for even more.


We have some amazing interviews lined up, with both traditional and non-traditional ministry roles. I am also developing some great new content series. With all of this development, our team wants to develop the absolute best 4th season we can and we can’t do this without you.  Take the survey right here.

Also, in September I am releasing my first premium product. People have been asking me to do this for years and now is the time. It will be all about sermon planning and preparation. Keep your eyes peeled for future information. If you want to be the first to find out about ANYTHING-sign up right here.

Hacking Facebook Lists for Ministry Effectiveness

Hacking Facebook Lists for Ministry Effectiveness

I have been using Facebook for ministry since 2005. I was a ministry intern at LaTech Wesley. At that point in time only .edu email accounts could get a Facebook profile. Half of the interns had it and the other half hadn’t signed up when they were in college. Those of us who used Facebook for ministry had a much easier time connecting with students and discipling them.

Things haven’t changed.

I want to share a little hack built inside Facebook that will seriously help you.

Do you know about lists in Facebook?

Facebook organizes your friends into lists based off of area, schools, jobs, etc. The built in lists are great-but you can totally take it one step further. (here is Facebook’s list FAQ for those of you unfamiliar)

Creating and organizing your own lists can really help you put groups of similar people together. Lists are private (unlike twitter) and can only be seen by you.

Using Facebook lists for ministry is a killer time saver. One of the best reasons to use Facebook for ministry is to be able to keep up with folks. The only issue is Facebook as an algorithm they use to show you others posts in the news feed. No one really knows exactly how this works, but we know they try to intelligently keep people you regularly interact with in the news feed as well as throw curve balls in as well to see if you will interact with that person.

I have over 2000+ “friends” on Facebook, so this means I am only able to see around 10% of them in my newsfeed regularly.

Lists allow you to select different groups in the newsfeed. I can select the “Monroe, La” group Facebook automatically makes to see what my friends in Monroe are doing.  I can view just their posts or I can send a status update directly to them.

Hacking your Facebook lists and take them to the next level

The basic Facebook created lists are great.  They can be serious help for ministry.

But I encourage you to create your own lists. Besides creating a list for your church, think of the places you spend time and minister to folks?

Are you friending them on Facebook? You should be. Facebook is such a low level of relationship for the average person it won’t be weird. If you have interacted with them enough to get a first and last name, add them on Facebook. Then you need to add them to a list.

I have lists for people I meet at different meetings, the coffee shop I hang out at, the cigar store I hang out in and at just about every place I interact with people. I probably have around 15+ lists I have built with people around my community in them. It makes it really easy to keep up with people.

I am able to see JUST their posts when I want to and interact JUST with them. I can share updates specifically designed for those people. It makes connecting much easier and lets all of us get to know each other better.

Lists are a great hack for Facebook. I encourage you to begin building a few of them and start utilizing them in ministry.