1. Daniel Harkavy has written a short but helpful post on how to schedule projects into your calendar. Years ago, I took a one week summer class in which an adjunct professor taught these same principles. It was very helpful to me then and Harkavy’s thoughts are helpful now.
2. Choose your battles. Choose where you expend your energy. Let some things go.
Some ministers get caught up in some of the most ridiculous arguments. I am talking about the petty quarrels that take place in a congregation about things that are really insignificant. “Do we plant St. Augustine or Bermuda in front of the church building?” “Do we offer dessert with coffee at the next meeting or do we just offer coffee?” “Do we paint the hallways green or beige?” I might have an opinion on these things but none of these concerns are worth too much of my energy and passion. In other words, when I go to “battle,” I want it to be for something that in the larger scheme of things really does matter! Choose where you expend your energy. Some things you just need to let go.
3. You might enjoy skimming through James Emery White’s reading list. (On his website “Church & Culture”) I enjoy reading through such lists because I usually stumble upon at least one interesting book. I also enjoy looking through these reading lists because the titles alone can stimulate my thinking.
4. Read Donn Johnson’s fine piece “Continuing Education?” He raises some very, very important issues for anyone attempting to navigate the waters of congregational ministry. Take a few minutes and consider the issues in each category that he mentions.
5. During the month of July, I am away from the office. My co-workers will preach. (I am very grateful to them for this.) For two weeks, I will be on vacation. For two weeks I will study to prepare for the fall. Typically, this is one of the most valuable months of the year for me. It is not only a time to rest and relax, but is a time to regroup. During the study portion of this month, I usually reflect on the previous year and the year to come. What have I been preaching? Where are the gaps? What do I really need to be saying to the church at this point? What does God seem to be doing in my life and in the life of this church? These questions are a call for much prayer and much thought.
6. I read Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed almost daily. This blog is very, very helpful to me on a number of fronts. At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight reviews many, many books. I find this incredibly helpful. There are many books that I don’t necessarily need to read but it is helpful to know something about certain books and the points or arguments that are being made. Also, it is helpful to listen to the discussions and hear various perspectives on a particular issue. I could go on but this blog really is a useful resource for those in congregational ministry.