When are you the most productive? If you want to be successful in youth ministry then you have to be the master of your schedule. I remember listening to Bill Hybels at the Leadership Summit a few years back and he talked about scheduling and getting things done. He said that he has his day planned out to the minute each and every day. He does this because he knows that if he does not then he is prolly gonna let something insignificant get in the way of what needs to be done. His day starts early and ends late. He puts everything from his quite time with God to meetings and lunch into his calendar. Man, that is discipline!
Lou Holtz, former football coach, used to tell his secretary that if someone called during his hours of personal work he would not take the call, for almost any reason. He said that unless you needed to talk to him about a life or death situation then you could wait to talk with him after he was done with his work day. He had that discipline because he knew that to stay focused he had to get everything else out of his schedule. That is the way he worked. Some people like to work in complete solitude and others in a large crowd environment. Some peeps like it quiet when they work and others loud. Some of you like a clean and neat desk, others of you like to work in a pig sty. Awesome!
When I worked my first job as a youth guy I used to come in late because that is what youth workers do... right? Well, not necessarily. It took me a couple of years to realize that the later that I came into work the less I would get done. And I knew that the peeps were gonna roll in and see me as soon as school got out because they knew I was there. We all were. That is what we did – ministry! And that is actually when the best ministry took place, after school and in a non-programmed environment. It was not when we had youth group nites or scheduled stuff. It was the non-scheduled time that was the most valuable. And I never turned the kids away. I was glad that they came by. It was the best time for me to do ministry and make a difference.
And that is why I started to and still get most if not all my pertinent work done before 10am. It makes me have to get up earlier in the morning and be more disciplined in all that I do. I do not give up my workout time or my quiet time or anything else that I normally do. That would just be making excuses. But I move it all up to make sure that I am done with stuff and am available for peeps to see or speak to me about ministry. Now, that does not mean you have to get everything done, just the stuff that is do by the end of that business day. And that is why you need to work out of a calendar. Make a list of stuff that needs to be done and get it done. The rest of the time you can work on the other stuff but you know that it can be interrupted.
This will help you begin to make your life and ministry less stressful and more disciplined. Stop flying by the seat of your pants. You know that in ministry you are going to be pulled away from what you should be doing for various reasons. So, plan for it now. The more strict you hold your schedule the more free time you will have. And I once heard a wise man say, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.” do yourself and all those in your ministry a favor – plan and perform... then you can play more.