1. You might want to read through the post that I just wrote entitled “10 Suggestions for Better Preaching” (Part 1). These suggestions do not deal with sermon structure or form. Rather, they focus on other aspects of preaching that are important but often ignored.
2. On one occasion, I was a guest speaker for a church. I was going to be with them for several days. Normally when I meet people, I really try to focus on their names and would like to remember them. Anyway, I was meeting several people and asked a guy to repeat his name. Another guy overheard me and said, “Do you really think you are going to remember these names?”
It occurred to me later that sometimes some of us follow the progression of that thinking. In other words, if I can’t remember everyone’s name, there is no use in attempting this because it is impossible.
Yet, it really is important for a minister in a church to at least try to learn people’s names. Most of us enjoy hearing our name used. I have found that people generally appreciate the attempt to get to know their name. Don’t underestimate the significance of this practice.
3. Have you ever read a resume, only to be surprised about what the applicant was claiming for himself? I have read a number of minister resumes over the years. Most are good, are truthful, and serve the purpose. However, every once in a while I see a resume that really bothers me. For example, I once saw a resume in which the person seemed to “puff” much of the document. For example, he took a particular project that he was involved in and made it sound huge. I knew the background of this project and there was actually very little to it. However, the document framed it in such a way as to make it sound like a monumental appointment. We do ourselves, nor our ministries, any favors when we deliberately attempt to make ourselves appear what we are not.
A minister would do well to ask, “Would my resume surprise those who know me best?”
We really are called to be open, transparent, and a people full of integrity.
4. How do you use your time? We have 24 hours in a day. The idea is to be effective as we work. The idea is not to see how many hours we can possibly work each week. I really want to live a balanced life, which means there are hours when I work and hours when I am with my wife, or friends, or simply resting.
A few habits have been helpful to me in terms of getting things done.
First, I always try to be prepared for a possible wait (doctor’s office, dentist’s office, tire place, etc.). Keeping my phone with me as well as a Kindle can be incredibly helpful when I have to wait. With my phone, I can clear my e-mail inbox and check my calendar.
Second, I listen to several podcasts each week during the time I am working out at the gym. This has enabled me to listen to messages, lectures, interviews, etc.