One of the disciplines I began and have developed over 2 years ago is to record what I do with my time. I have two notebooks that lie open on my desk waiting for my pen. One notebook is for general notes. It has everything from phone numbers to random thoughts I want to develop later. I have a To Do Lists on that puppy as well as lists of who’s on our current core team. The other notebook has two running columns. On the left side there is the date and the hours of that day. On the right side is a description of what I did with those hours. It’s this second notebook that has me writing today.
This time management notebook helps for two reasons. First, I’m accountable for my time. Being a church planter and a pastor means that I’m fairly independent. There is no clock to punch and no supervisor telling me what to do. It’s easy to get lazy or sloppy in your lifestyle. I want to avoid this at all cost. If anyone wants to know what I did and when I did it, I can point to it and say there you are. Second, it allows me to stay balanced in my life/ministry strategy. For example, one week I saw that I spent 80% of my time building community, growing myself and others, and equipping/multiplying leadership. The other 20% was spent on administrative stuff (email, calls, paperwork, etc.). No time building relationships with unbelievers. A rebuke right there in black and white. So, my notebook shows me where I need to make adjustments.
This past week looked like a banner week for a balanced ministry strategy. On paper. Sarah and I spent a great evening with a gal who described herself as “searching for the meaning of it all, and is revisiting the possibility that Christianity is true”. The next night we spent a whole afternoon and evening with our small group. Throughout the week I was able spend time writing, memorizing Scripture, and engaged in spiritual discipline, and the rest of my time was equipping ministry teams and multiplying leadership. The perfect fulfillment of my ministry strategy: JCREW. But my notebook screamed back at me a number. The number was 72. That was the number of hours I logged in ministry last week. Nothing special about 72, it’s just a lot of hours. Guess how much time Sarah and I had to talk about our relationship and dream together. Guess how much wrestle, soccer, and swim time Dan and Jack had. Guess how often Alli got her face kissed off by her daddy. The answer is: not nearly enough.
The battle to remain balanced is a constant one. If I could pick 5 things that I want to be true of me, I think balanced would be right there near the top. Not given to extremes. Even now, my first instinct is to drop everything and spend all my time with my family, but that’s not the answer. That’s out of balance.
The more I get to know Jesus Christ and the more I read of Him, the more I see how awesome He was. Especially in this area of balance. He was never out of balance. He always had time to do ministry and rest. He never seemed rushed. He drew people to himself. He built into His men. He got enough sleep. He refreshed himself in prayer. He had everyone pulling and tugging on Him. People seeking him out and sticking babies in his face and dumping all of their needs on Him. Yet never once do I see him flustered. He spent 3 and a half years doing all that He needed to do in perfect balance. No hurry. He just did His thing. What a model! But I’m not Jesus so I need notebooks. And this weekend, I’m going out of town with my favorite disciples: Sarah, Dan, Jack, and Alli to a waterpark in Cincinnati (www.thebeachwaterpark.com). That’s my modern day equivalent to a boat on the Sea of Galilee. We’re going to splash, swim, kiss, talk, and laugh. Don’t believe me? Come over and look at my notebook, it’s already written down.