Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: Managing Your Time

HEALTHY CHURCH: Managing Your Time

How do you balance your time with the Lord, your family, your job and your ministry? What are some challenges in your schedule that cause you to be overwhelmed and exhausted? Are you living on a schedule where your daily agenda is continually surrendered to God’s agenda?

Henry Blackaby states “our effectiveness is commensurate with our ability to manage our time.” The idea of managing time is actually a misnomer because it is more about managing yourself. Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day and your focus must be on stewarding the same amount of time God has given every one of us.

Ephesians 5:16 says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Wayne Grudem challenges us by saying, “I find the most important thing I do regarding use of time is to spend time in prayer each morning, bringing my plans and my ‘to do’ list before the Lord and seeking His direction.” Redeeming our time means we are making the most of the time God has given us. It is not a life well “managed” but a life well “lived.” Effective leadership requires making the best choices with how we utilize that time. It also requires turning loose of good things in order to have time for the best things under God’s direction.

You and I are 100% responsible for the time we have, and the most important time each day is spent alone with God. “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16 NIV). “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35 KJV). If prayer alone with the Father was this important for Jesus, how much more important should it be for us? This requires seeking His will on what you say yes to and what you should say no to. Henry Blackaby says the key is investing in activities and projects that are the most important because of God’s leadership and direction. 

Opportunity does not mean obligation. Saying “no” to good uses of your time enables you to say “yes” to the best uses of your time. Just because you can do something does not mean you should. You do not have to look hard or long for ministry “opportunities” because they are plentiful. Jesus prayed to the Father, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4 ESV). Here is a truth you need to let sink in — God has given you enough time to do His will. It is not squeezing in more tasks into your already bust day. It is not scheduling to be more efficient but to become more effective.

Shawn Lovejoy said it like this, “You have 100% of the time you need to get done what God wants you to do.” You might need to read that again and let it sink in. That truth is challenging and actually causes us to want to reject it but it also resonates with the truth that, unlike the people we do life with, God never piles more on you than you can handle. We talk a lot about systems at Healthy Church Solutions — Prayer, Assimilation, Pastoral Care, Discipleship, Outreach, Worship, etc. — but the most important system you must manage and measure for you and your team is your calendar.

God is not responsible for you having more on your plate than you can handle — you are! The most important use of your time, other than being alone with God, is preparing other believers to do ministry with you. God has called church leaders primarily to equip others to do ministry. What tasks do you need to stop doing, even if they go undone? What jobs do you need to hand off and allow others to oversee? Who do you need to focus on training and equipping for you to be able to hand off more responsibilities? When the apostles were overwhelmed (Acts 6) they recruited helpers for those practical aspects of the ministry.

In Shawn Lovejoy’s podcast, “Courage to Lead,”he teaches to divide your time each day into fifths. He challenges us to spend one-fifth of our time (20% of your day) alone. Why did Jesus get alone? Why did Jesus pull away from the crowds? The term he uses to describe this is, in my opinion, pure genius — “strategically unavailable.” The extroverts struggle with time alone, and it seems much too long while the introverts would suggest that it should be at least one-half of each day. You need time to allow God to speak to you, work on you, mold you and shape you into the person He has called you to be.

As a leader, you can easily become so consumed with the work of the ministry that you never take the time to work on yourself and on the ministry. Take time to pray, time to plan, time to be creative and time to brainstorm with your team but, most importantly, time to hear from the Lord. Blackaby said, “It is when we do not understand God’s will that our schedules get out of control.” That is why Bill Bright said one of the first things he did every morning was to evaluate all the day’s competing demands with one criterion. “How will each opportunity enable me to maximize my contribution to helping fulfill the Great Commission?”

With so much to do and so little time to do it, you must remember that you have exactly enough time to accomplish what God has called you to do. Slow down and seek the Father’s agenda and next steps for you to fulfill His agenda. Do not rush in and out of His presence, expecting Him to dispense His most profound truths into our convenient 5-to-10-minute scheduled blocks of time with Him. Henry Blackaby put it like this, “Success is not determined by how much we personally accomplish but on how wisely we discern God’s agenda and perform the leadership role He has placed us in.”

Strategically unavailable to everyone except Him!