DIY whiteboard shopping list

DIY whiteboard shopping list

I’m a tad bit obsessed with my whiteboard. I probably use it and fill it up around 10x a week. And that’s just my main one. I have 4 at the house. People ask me about my whiteboard problem all the time, mainly because it shows up on my instagram channel a good bit. I get asked about supplies often, so here is a DIY Whiteboard shopping list.

DIY Whiteboard Shopping List

  1. You need a surface. I use this from Home Depot, but any big box store should have something. You want to look for a smooth surface, with absolutely no texture. Some folks choose to use a car wax on the surface, but the last few I have built haven’t really needed it.
  2. I’ve tried TONS of whiteboard markers. The best, absolutely hands down, is the Amazon basics brand. They are thick, leave great lines and keep a good tip.
  3. Since this is a DIY solution, you will need to get some marker fluid. Trust me. The best I have found is the Evererase  Everclean fluid.
  4. I’ve done the dance with shop towels, microfiber cloths and anything else I can find. Now, I just buy a whiteboard eraser. Any will do, these are what I typically go for.

I’m going to do a build video for my next whiteboard, but until then, I hope this shopping list helps. Leave a picture of your complete setup in the comments!

The 5 Emails You Need To Be Sending | Productive Pastor 67

The 5 Emails You Need To Be Sending | Productive Pastor 67

How well do you and your church do email? I think email is one of the best ways for us to communicate with people…but we need to wade through some legit bad practices first.

Front Matter

I’m still obsessed with Planning Center’s People app. It’s a free church database system that links into the rest of the (paid) Planning Center universe. It absolutely makes ministry significantly easier. If you aren’t using church management software, or you are looking for a better solution…you need to check out Planning Center People.

  • Ministry Multiplies…it doesn’t add. You need to grow alongside your congregation
  • It helps you build segmented data. This will come in handy later on.
  • It is customizable. Easily. You can totally build the perfect system with it.

Planning Center Mastermind Group (on Facebook).

The 5 Emails You Need To Be Sending

Email is all about strategy. You and your church are (hopefully) already sending emails to people. I want to help you understand how those emails affect things, how our sending method affects open rates and how you can use 5 strategic emails to change your own approach.

So what’s your current email strategy?

I asked folks in the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook. Check out the responses for more information (and ideas). Below are the three strategies I see churches using the most.

  1. You send emails from a personal account using CC or BC.
  2. Your church uses a mail system like Mailchimp, Aweber or Constant Contact. You send weekly/monthly announcements.
  3. You use a database that links to a mail service to build strategic email lists.

5 Email Ideas

  1. Volunteer Thank-You.
    I try to send this every week. Unless you have an untold number of volunteers, this is the one email I think should come from your personal account. I like to thank all of the folks who served this week. It is a great chance to build a little vision and let them dive deeper.
  2. Giving Emails.
    We just started this email last month. I write a medium length email to everyone who has given that month. In it, I talk about what we were able to do this month, what it means to invest in our community and how we can help folks even more. I like to give them a little bit of future information that won’t go anywhere else also.This month we are starting another email JUST to the folks who have started giving in the previous month.

    In each of these emails, we urge folks to begin scheduling their giving and send them a link to do so.

  3. Group Announcements.
    I use our database to build segments for special interest areas (demographics or participation in groups). This helps us move folks along the assimilation pathway.
  4. Intentional Guest Follow-Up.
    I talked a little about this in the episode on Guest Assimilation ( Building Guest Systems | PP48). Using an email follow-up systems really helps staying in contact and informing new folks who have attended your church.
  5. Email Marketing.
    If you really get deep into follow-up systems, you can utilize email marketing strategy to resource folks before and after events. We will have an entire episode dedicated to this in the near future.

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. You can join the Productive Pastor Community on FB also.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

Sermon Audio Embedding-more on sermon engagement

Sermon Audio Embedding-more on sermon engagement

Last week, I published episode 60 of The Productive Pastor. It was all about building a sermon engagement strategy and taking your sermon past Sunday and into the next week (and time beyond). All of the content was directed at leveraging the time and power of your sermon for better engagement across your community.

One of the key pieces was the sermon preview. This is an anchor point blog post, with information about the upcoming sermon and resources to engage (links to scripture, discussion guides, etc). As part of the blog post, I shared two resources about sharing your sermon audio. I have had several questions about these two resources, so I wanted to show them side-by-side.

Series Engine
Series Engine is an embedded audio player designed specifically for sharing sermon audio/video in a wordpress site. It offers organization for each series, the ability to upload image files. It also will help you link your sermon audio to iTunes via RSS. I have never used Series Engine for podcasting, but it is possible.

This means you host your audio through your self-hosted wordpress website, not an outside service.

I currently do not use series engine, but it is a fantastic way to publish sermon audio. If you want to do a podcast, you can. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is totally possible. This is what the Series Engine player looks like embedded (note. I haven’t used it in several years, so this content is dated).

Chad Brooks - Mar 9, 2014

Practicing Prayer

More From "Celebration of Discipline"

Powered by Series Engine

Smart Podcast Player
I currently use the Smart Podcast Player for both Productive Pastor and for our church’s sermon previews. You can check those out here if you want. What I love about it is how it offers a single track option AND archived episodes in a larger player. It doesn’t offer categorization (for sermon series), but it wasn’t designed for that use case. It requires you to offer hosting at a different host (I recommend and does NOT generate an RSS feed for you.

For the sake of this post, we will pretend the Productive Pastor is a sermon podcast.

The Smart Track Player

Smart Podcast Player

Both Series Engine and the Smart Podcast Player are designed for self-hosted wordpress sites and use shortcode technology. This makes using and integrating them super easy.


How To Have Quality Momentum With A Future Focused Calendar

How To Have Quality Momentum With A Future Focused Calendar

Do you struggle with future-focus? In this episode, I share how I am tackling that EXACT problem. Stay tuned and learn about creating a future focused calendar.

Front Matter

I am almost done with the new sermon worksheet AND an accompanying eBook. This will be an incredible free resource I’ve been working on for the last few months.

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Congregation is Inward-Focused. Carey Nieuwhof. 

iTunes review and rating. Thanks for leaving such incredible feedback!

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How To Have Quality Momentum With a Future Focused Calendar

So what exactly is future focus? 

Future focus is the ability to pro-actively keep a schedule focused on leading your team, organization, ministry or church further toward the missional vision God has called you to.

Intentionally investigating and creating future focus is all about creating awareness that leads to action. This isn’t done outside of the context of mission and strategic vision. Over the last few months, I’ve increasingly frustrated personally with what my schedule has looked like. My realizations have come because of dissatisfaction with how I’m spending my weeks. I’m a big fan of auditing my schedule, so I decided to tweak what I was doing in order to learn what exactly has been going on (that I can control).

Paper vs. Digital

Many of us keep a digital calendar on our computer or some other device. I couldn’t live without my iPhone reminding me of what is coming up each day. But digital devices didn’t have the ability to really look back and investigate effectiveness. I wanted a paper solution (since my daily work is usually done on paper anyway) to look back on from a week long view. I pulled out my week dominator planner I funded a few years ago on kickstarter. It’s perfect. (if you want to see pictures of how I’ve been using this, make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. I’m doing a bigger write-up with pictures this week. It will be the only place you can grab it.)

How I Build

I decided 5 categories will keep up with the majority of my tasks.

  • Forward
  • Maintenance
  • Catch-Up
  • Family/House
  • External

If you want to build a future-focused calendar, make sure to give yourself 3-4 normative weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary (as much as you can help it)!

  1. Start with your appointments
  2. Add in blocked out time slots (I put my Monday admin block, Podcast recording, etc)
  3. Time for goals and medium level project work.
  4. Start building in how these regulated tasks fit into your categories.

I build my calendar with black ink. As tasks come up during the week, I change things up. Blue ink gets new appointments added in. Red ink tells me where something changed my schedule.

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. This week I’ll be sending out some more additional information about doing a future focused audit and building your calendar.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.



7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors | PP58

7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors | PP58

So what makes a ministry leader unproductive? It might be a little different than you expect. Today we are talking about the habits of unproductive pastors.

Front Matter

Our new interview format is going great! I’ve heard great things from folks with last week’s episode with Dave Shrein. Make sure you check it out.

This week I have spent PLENTY of time listening to Dan Carlin’s podcast Hardcore History. His recent series entitled “King of Kings” is a fascinating look into the world of the ancient near east. For anyone who teaches the Bible, it would be a great resource to utilize.

We have had some great iTunes feedback. I want to thank these reviewers for their support of the show. If you haven’t, please review the Productive Pastor on iTunes. You can do so right here.

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7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors

They Aren’t Incarnated
Think about John 1:14 at what it means for Jesus to dwell among us. That means we have to be embodying the dwelling of Jesus in the places we are called to and the people we are called to lead. It can be tough sometimes, but not leading from the standpoint of love can be pretty gnarly.

They Don’t Know What They Are Doing
As leaders, we need future focus. This is about building a planned strategic schedule. I’ve done an entire episode on this idea.

Building a Priority Based Schedule | PP3

They Can’t Differentiate Between Urgent and Important
There is a huge difference between what’s urgent and what’s important. We can fill our life with the urgent and never touch the important! We have to develop the skillset to begin weeding out the unnecessary urgent.

They Don’t Delegate
Delegation is one of the hardest and most important skills for any ministry leader to develop. Full honesty…I’m terrible at it. Folks know it and even joke about it. The best resources on delegation come from Michael Hyatt. Here is a search query on all of his delegation content. Make sure to check out the podcast episodes.

They Don’t Know Their Personalities and Strengths
I am a big fan of two resources to help leaders understand the way they are wired. The DiSC test and Strengthfinders 2.0. Spend the money, invest in the tests and learn about how you will lead, relate and schedule better. Bonus points to those who also lead their teams through these resources.

They Can’t Keep The Future in Focus
I’ve been focusing energy on this lately. I’ve been personally asking myself the question about how much future work I am doing. Remember that maintenance can’t maintain. It won’t end well.

They Don’t Have Routines 
I’m a big proponent of a morning routine. It is an absolute for me. You will find this is a regular habit for the folks with the highest degree of capacity and influence.

Back Matter

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

If you want more of my writing and other free content, you can subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider List.

Organizing Workflow Templates in Evernote | PP56

Organizing Workflow Templates in Evernote | PP56

Welcome back to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I share some amazing workflow templates I’ve built out and use constantly in Evernote.

Front Matter

How To Find Your Most Productive Hours. Trello Blog

I read this a couple of weeks back and I was amazed. It gave such a great pathway to creating an experimentation plan to learn your most productive hours and days. You need to check this out.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 6.00.50 PM

A big thanks to our iTunes Reviewers for this episode. If you want to hear your name on the podcast, just leave a rating and review. You can do so right here.

Organizing Workflow Templates in Evernote.

I’m a big fan of templates AND Evernote. You can hear more about them in these two episodes of Productive Pastor

Up Your Productivity With Templates. Productive Pastor 6

Managing Your Week With Evernote. Productive Pastor 49

I love building out workflow’s inside Evernote because of these three things

Repetition Builds Response

  • It gets in your brain
  • The workflow becomes a rhythm

Having Effectiveness Systematized is Worth It

  • Saves time
  • Let’s you keep more balls in the air (and not drop the ones you are responsible for)
  • It can make handing tasks off easier


  • Just working through it keeps your mind clearer
  • Learn other ways to organize and clean up things
  • The boundaries invite expression.

Shared Evernote Workflows/Templates

Sermon Sheet
Sermon Production Checklist
Weekly Tasks Blank (my weekly list)
Contact Sheet
Journal Sheet
Bible reading
1000 Questions to Ask of the Text (episode 2)
Preaching Rocket and it’s 4 questions
Facebook Contact Workflow (Hacking Facebook Lists for Ministry Effectiveness)
Event Evaluation

If you want to jump into Evernote headfirst, then you need Brett Kelly’s book Evernote Essentials. There are 3 different versions of the program. I’ve bought into the highest level and it is absolutely worth it.

Back Matter

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

If you want more of my writing and other free content, you can subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider List.