Five (first thing) Tasks to Gain Serious Traction | Productive Pastor 53

Five (first thing) Tasks to Gain Serious Traction | Productive Pastor 53

Welcome back! In this episode, we are talking about 5 tasks to gain serious traction. I’m STOKED to share them with you!

Front Matter

  1. Where are you learning right now?
    For many folks, the summer is a time to take things a little slower, relax and focus (I know…the two don’t necessarily go together). I want to hear WHERE you are learning things this summer. Tweet to me at @revchadbrooks to let me know.
  2. 5 Podcast Episodes. 
    I’m curating a new list of my FAVORITE podcast episodes. I release it every Friday, so make sure you check it out to keep up with some really interesting podcasts from across the world. Check out the first post here.
  3. Ratings and Reviews. 
    I want to make a shout out here to jmcanally. Thanks for the review and rating on iTunes.

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Five (first thing) Tasks to Gain Serious Traction

What exactly is traction?
Traction gives you the footing you need to move forward in a slippery or uphill situation. These are all about gaining serious traction in a few quick, intentional moves.

  1. Check facebook for birthdays and then text the person. 
    Everyone hits up facebook for the birthday greeting. Go the extra mile and text the person. They will love it.
  2. Write 1 person (from your ministry) a day. Out of the blue. 
    Handwritten notes are POWERFUL. Leverage this every single day. Write someone each day just because. Tell them how you appreciate them.
  3. Text 5 families or persons and let them know you are praying for them.
    I keep a running prayer notebook. I wrote about how and why I do it here. I let 5 different groups of people know a day I am praying for them (and make sure you actually pray for them).
  4. Tackle the biggest task on your list. 
    Remember. This is all about traction. By now, you should be rearing and ready to go. Take care of the biggest and most important thing first.
  5. Make tomorrow’s list (at the end of your work day). 
    The very last task of the day should be creating your list for the next. Keep it short, simple and focused.
Avoiding and Attacking Procrastination | PP 52

Avoiding and Attacking Procrastination | PP 52

Are you good at procrastinating? I’m a champ. In this episode, I am going to tell you what I have learned about avoiding and attacking procrastination. So let’s jump straight in.


Avoiding and Attacking Procrastination

The first step to understanding the motivations behind procrastination is realizing it lives first in the realm of fear. Fear is an absolutely catastrophic element of life. When we delve into the realities of what we are scared of, we begin understanding the motivations behind why we individually procrastinate.

By continuing to allow fear to reign in life, we will begin leading from the perspective of fear. When that happens, we will be tied to bad leadership practices and a recipe for a serious “not getting things done” problem.

Avoiding Procrastination

No one leads well out of the shalom zone. 
We need to get serious about learning what puts us at peace. This is about habits that rule us.

Productive Pastor 5: A Conversation with JD Walt about Sabbath

Build rhythms to help you stay relaxed and focused.
How are you building your time to be focused when you need to be and relaxed when you need a break?

Organize your work time to plow through trouble and focus on fun. 
This is pretty basic Productive Pastor stuff. The time you spend doing things really matters. Know when you work the best and make sure that time is carved out.

Attacking Procrastination

Build your schedule focused on goals and effectiveness. 
We all say we have priorities. But our schedule really tells us what matters. When we never have time for the most important things we will never get them done. Are you intentionally placing time in your week to hit your goals? Make sure that happens.

Learn to ask yourself “What’s at Stake?”
This is a huge one for me. It will almost always get my butt back in gear. People who avoid procrastination are future focused. They realize what’s at stake and make sure it happens.

Break things up into approachable goals.
The best example I can think of this is the space race. I spent time reading this week all through Wikipedia and realize every single mission and a purpose and they all contributed to the larger goal of putting a human on the moon. Seriously. Do you realize how daunting this had to have been? If you are hitting a wall, break it up into easy chunks.

Thanks for listening and I hope this prepares you to avoid and attack procrastination.

Articles Mentioned

Fear of Failure: Psychology Today

Why you procrastinate, and how to stop it. Now. | Forbes

15 practices of leaders who lead by fear | Brian Dodd



Developing Systems That Work | PP51

Developing Systems That Work | PP51

Do you use systems? When I talk about systems do you struggle to understand what it’s like to build and implement them? In this episode we are going to talk about developing systems that work.

Front Matter
Don’t miss out on the 50% sale the Rocket Company is doing right now for Giving Rocket. Their content has been amazing lately. I’ve LOVED the free content they’ve been giving away around the sale.

I’ve been digging getting tagged in conversations on facebook about Productive Pastor. Keep it coming!

Also, a big thanks to Country Parson Hugh for the iTunes review and rating.

Developing Systems that Work

1. Discern.
What behaviors do we need/want?

So what’s the difference between a good system, a bad system and an effective system? An effective system is one intentionally designed for achieving specific outcomes. Getting a good idea of your current situation and your (intended) future situation is an important step.
What environments/behaviors/actions can we control to better improve a specific situation? I recommend doing this as a team and just starting to discover the holes and to what depth they go to in your ministry?

2. Decide
What will make this system effective?

At this point, the job of you and your team is deciding what will actually make this system work well. You ask questions of culture and context at this point. You realize how simply moving things around might seriously change things.
3. Delegate
Who and how will we run this system?

Remember, systems are about creating a replicative pattern for folks to follow you as they join in ministry leadership. Developing how the system will be implemented will affect who you get to run this system. For us,  an external system usually gets run on paper and in person and internal ones take advantage of digital technology.

The easiest (and most effective) system most churches need to build is a visitor follow-up system. So gather your team and make a system! Make sure to let me know about it.

Episodes Mentioned

Michael Lukaszewski on Systems | PP19

Building Guest Systems | PP48

How To Discern Big Goals | PP50

How To Discern Big Goals | PP50

Welcome to the 50th Episode of Productive Pastor! I am going to help you learn how to discern big goals in this episode…but until then, there is even more awesome stuff I want to share with you.

  1. Productive Music.
    Lately, I have been fascinated with the music people use to get into a productive zone. I’ve shared a few articles on the Productive Pastor Facebook page. Share with me what music keeps you in a productive mindset on twitter. I’m @revchadbooks.
  2. iTunes Review and Ratings. 
    We’ve had two great reviews over the last couple of weeks. A big thanks to these listeners! You can leave one right here.

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  1. 3. Giving Rocket May special.
    So my friends at The Rocket Company are giving away some great (FREE) training this month AND heavily discounting Giving Rocket, one of their core coaching programs. I have spent over 1k on Giving Rocket and it is absolutely worth every penny. If you want to be part of this special training, subscribe to my insider list right here. I give away my daily worksheet through the list AND you will have quick access to these amazing videos.

How To Discern Big Goals

I hear from folks constantly needing help about goals. Some people need helping creating systems and checklists and others have a tough time actually filtering what is worth being a goal. Let me take you through three movements of  how to discern big goals.

  1. Questions.
    Think about these things. Here are the first questions I use…and I’m sure you can come up with more.
  • What would radically change things?
  • What holes exist currently?
  • What problems repeatedly arise (handle this proactively)
  • What would give us a new “normal”?

2. Dreams
Take the time to think about what could be. Think about what a new future reality could look like.

  •  What would the environment of completing this goal look like?
  • What would be different?
  • How would it be different?

This is the space where you think about what manipulating and changing parameters could do.

3. Implementation
Now begin putting these things together. I’m a big fan of sitting down and taking a massive amount of notes. Don’t        worry about building it into systems and pathways yet.

  • Step your goal back.
  • Begin creating steps
  • Find mini-goals
  • Discern if your main goal is way too big. How can you transform this into a reachable win?
  • What are the bottlenecks in your way? How can you fix them?
  • What do you need to do to cause the dreams to happen?

Mentioned and Recommended Episodes

Lists and Bottlenecks

Digging yourself out of a hole

Project Management 101

Rich Birch on Project Management



Creating a Collaborative Sermon Workflow With Trello

Creating a Collaborative Sermon Workflow With Trello

Have you ever wished you had a single place to develop a sermon workflow with your team? Imagine how easy it would be to have your worship leader, other pastors, key volunteers and anyone else necessary having access to key sermon information. Not to mention, the ability to work ahead on sermons in a directed pathway.

I use to do just this!

All this week I am blogging on using Trello in ministry. This is the 2nd post in the series. Here are the other links

  1. Productive Pastor 46 | Organizing Ministry with Trello
  2. Why You Need To Build a Trello Reading List (and how to do it). 
  3. Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello. 

First, I use Trello as a team based tool alongside another amazing piece of software. Evernote is my digital brain, and what I love is how I can link the two pieces of software together. I use Trello to work alongside everyone teaching at my church, our worship leader and our kids ministry team (they develop Sunday morning curriculum that runs alongside our main Sunday worship).

This used to be handed through a string of emails. The only problem was that led to more questions, having to go deeper in a text message and other confusion points. I am also a HUGE fan of preparing sermons and series in advance. I talk about that on this episode of Productive Pastor.

Creating Your Sermon Workflow

You know your community and churches needs better than anyone. Our workflow went through a few different versions before we settled onto something that works best.

1. Start a Board for every sermon series (or if you are lectionary-based, for each month). 
When you start the board, add your team from the menu. This here is important. Your team needs to have a Trello account before you invite them. To take full advantage of Trello, create a link from This will give you an easy way to invite and onboard team members as well as give you a month of Trello gold for each signup. Trello Gold opens up more options and abilities.

2. Create a Communication Key.
This is the sweet sauce. After several revisions and asking questions about best practices, we stumbled upon this short key to base our sermon workflow off of.

Big Idea (I tend to call these Monday Moments)
Guiding Question
Intended Response

Every one of these items is given it’s own card in the first stack on the board. This key is then used forward for every sermon in a separate card stack.

Here is a board we are currently using. Because of the flooding here in the spring of 2016, we canceled a Sunday (so it appears we are missing a week).

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We have 2 of us that preach regularly at Foundry. We have frequently added others into the mix as well. No matter who is speaking, this sermon workflow is given to them and we try to move stuff into it as frequently as possible. It also streamlines sermon preparation because you get into a routine of asking specific communication focused questions.

Here is a board of an upcoming series for you to see when and how we normally work on these items.
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I hope this use case is helpful. I use it for team-specific preparation, but others might love to do this on their own…even if they don’t need the communication angle. If you are looking for a way to use Trello to handle ALL of your sermon preparation, Rev. Nathan Hale has developed a great resource. You can purchase this super affordable template for Trello use right here.


Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello

Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello

Do you struggle with developing and managing an assimilation system for your church? is the perfect solution for church assimilation management. I believe we have to be intentional about assimilating people into the local church. Every person is worth everything. When folks visit your church, the way we reach out and connect speaks to how we believe Jesus reaches out to everyone of us. So developing an intentional strategy helps us love folks and Jesus loves us.

All this week I am blogging on using Trello in ministry. This is the 2nd post in the series. Here are all the posts and links

Productive Pastor 46 | Organizing Ministry with Trello

Why You Need To Build a Trello Reading List (and how to do it).
Streamlining Church Assimilation with Trello.
Creating a Collaborative Sermon Workflow with Trello

Streamlining Church Assimilation With Trello

First, let’s remember the strengths of Trello. I shared these in episode 46 of PP.

  • Trello is fantastic for teams
  • You can link multiple documents (from a variety of places) inside one card
  • You have the ability to drop notes in cards
  • Checklists (repeatable)
  • You can move cards to different stacks

This makes Trello the perfect place to run a team based, highly adaptable system of any sorts. When Foundry developed it’s 1st time contact system, we knew we wanted multiple people as part of it. This mean needing the ability for us all to work on the project simultaneously as well as provide instant feedback as to what has been done. Here are the steps to take to build your own church assimilation system in Trello.

This is going to take intentionality

If you don’t already have a strategy for following up with visitors, what your church’s pathway of involvement and discipleship process looks like, you are going to have to start developing one. But this is a necessary part of leading a strategically focused church.

The first step is to develop a 1st time visitor system and a 2nd time visitor system. It’s all about follow up and connection. Here is ours. This is all put into place on Sunday afternoon/Monday Morning. We’ve developed this system over the last couple of months and I think it works well.

  1. Allison enters the person/family into Trello on their own card underneath 1st time visitors. A date is added for the visit. When a card is entered, the movements below are entered as a checklist. Remember, once you create this once, you can reapply it to any card.
  2. Pastoral staff sends FB friend request
  3. Chad writes and sends hand written note
  4. Allison sends a FB message.
  5. Both of us add the person into our FB Foundry friend list. (more on that process and strategy here)
  6. Molly (another staff person) sends our Priority Mail welcome box. This is a new addition starting on Easter Sunday. I am really excited about it.
  7. The visitor is entered into our email system. We have a follow-up email series attached to this action.

This means after a 1st time visit, anyone or any family receives 4 points of contact after they visit.

Here is the top of our Trello church assimilation system. It’s just the stacks and cards are entered below here.

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When the person comes for a 2nd time visit, there are a few more actions attached. The first is to move the card from the 1st time column to the 2nd time column. An additional checklist is placed underneath their name then. This is what it involves.

  1. Chad texts and makes contact. I thank them, give them my number and let them know I am praying for them.
  2. Another team member sends a handwritten note to connect.

After the 1st and 2nd guests columns you see a few more columns. Since Foundry is a portable church spread out across an 80 mile grid, we view serving and leading on Sunday as part of our intentional assimilation and discipleship process. Usually folks can exist on this for 2 more weeks of attendance before we make contact with them regarding serving. By this time, they are aware of the different opportunities for leadership and serving. We send information on these opportunities in our Priority Mail box.

Here is how we manage assimilation on Trello. Do you have any suggestions, questions or ideas?