Many church leaders I talk with complain that they do not have enough time for all the demands of the ministry and communicate this to me along these lines: They often find their day is actually run for them by the tyranny of the urgent in three basic categories: problems, people and processes.
1. You must take control, “Seize the Day” (Carpe Diem)!
“Redeem the time for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). The life of Christian leadership is rarely easy.
Each day, when we go out the door to our ministry responsibilities, there is growling, foaming, Rottweiler of life and living – ministering and serving – that we must face. Either we control him, or he controls us; he backs us down, or we put him on the love leash and make him do what God wants.
We must Biblically seize the day to make time and circumstances work for us instead of against us. God already knows what that day holds and has a plan, but we need to lay hold of that plan through the Word, prayer and fellowship.
Read Psalm 139:6. We can expend a lot of energy on fear, self-pity and worry, but it’s a lot like being in a rocking chair––lots of effort but no meaningful forward motion.
Every day is a precious blessing given to us by God to use for His glory-seize, the one He has given you!!
2. Develop the full potential you have in Christ
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). “…Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
God desires for us to attempt something great, something worthwhile, something eternally meaningful each day. So we should remember that we are uniquely, fearfully and wonderfully made for that purpose (Psalm 139:14; Ephesians 2:10).
We must not allow ourselves to be crippled by the lie of purposeless inferiority or inability. There is no inferiority in you since the “old man” has been transformed by Christ in you, into superiority, for now, “We can do all things through Him.”
We must learn to challenge the status quo occasionally; routines can get us into ruts and dull our spiritual senses. That means we need to get out of the daily routine once in awhile.
Focus on a new goal outside of that daily routine, some area of life or ministry where you will be challenged to rely on that new power you have in Him, accomplish it and then repeat the process. This develops and grows your leadership skills.
3. Prioritize your day
“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
In our modern American society, we are especially susceptible to time wasters. Yet by our very nature in Christ, we are supposed to be caring, thoughtful and attentive to the needs of others around us. This is a volatile mix lots of needs, and we have been called to listen to them, but as Alan Redpath wisely said, ” A need does not constitute a call.” So to avoid simply saying yes to every need, try to organize your day into three basic categories.
1. In light of God’s plan for my life today
2. In light of God’s plan for my tomorrow
3. In light of God’s plan for eternity
Then as you determine what you are going to accomplish for the day, consider the options from this perspective, “What I do today is eternally important because I am paying one of God’s ordained days of my life for it, so what I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.”
4. Associate with people who will help you grow every day.
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:15).
The only way to improve the quality of our walks is to continue to improve ourselves in Him as well. To this end, we need to be sure that we don’t grow spiritually stagnant.
I was at a basketball camp at UCLA in the early 1970s with coach extraordinaire John Wooden, and he said something that has stuck with me all these years:
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
Wooden recognized that the greatest obstacle to growth is not ignorance; it is knowledge. The more you learn, the greater the chance you will think you already know it all. So we must make the decision to remain teachable if we want to grow, if we do this, the logical next step is to consider from whom and where you are learning.
Seek out brothers and sisters in Christ–who live out the Word:
A. They will set high, Christ-like standards (Philippians 3:12-14).
B. They are reliable and consistent (2 Timothy 2:1-2).
C. They speak the truth-always (James 5:19-20).
D. They live balanced lives free from extremes (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
E. They are disciplined and focused (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
5. Set Reasonable Goals for the day-You are not actually a superhero!
Hebrews 12:1-2 “…And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Here is an amazing truth—Jesus was and is God, and you and I are not. We must run with endurance, yes—but in stupidity, no! And any race that takes you away from Him and His Word is not of Him in the first place. If you don’t have time for family and fellowship, you are running in a race with the enemy of your soul.
Many Christians in leadership are guilty of setting goals that are built more on hyper- spiritual fantasy than Biblical reality. Which is often the result of spiritual pride, not the leading of the Spirit. Some set goals far beyond what they can expect to attain because they are not God’s goals at all, but their own based on the needs before them. We must patiently set reasonable goals based on the whole counsel of His Word, the leading of the Holy Spirit and the confirmation of His witnesses he has placed in our lives.
It is also important to set the right kind of goals:
Our goals should always include time in the Word, prayer and fellowship first, as those things are clearly ministry essentials in the Word. The first place these three areas of your walk will be tested is in managing your role as a Godly spouse, parent, employee and citizen, so we must set goals that have right motives behind them, ones reflecting God’s agenda before our own, and what is best for others before ourselves.
These five keys can help us manage our day, so that we can rejoice for, “This is the day the Lord has made…” and not be bummed because we have the day that simply happened because we got up!