Five ways to waste your weekend

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Webp.net-resizeimage (2)Weekends are precious so make sure you don’t waste yours

It’s been about a year since our family made the change to both Anna and I working full-time and out-of-the-house. The way we think about weekends has changed immensely! It’s challenging to find a sustainable pace.

Before that, either one or both of us had worked from home. There are some definite down-sides to working from home, but that kind of flexibility does make it way easier to get a full work day in and stay up on chores–especially if you’re able to avoid an hour in the car.

Over the last year I’ve made a number of mis-steps in managing the week which have led to wasted weekends. Here are five easy ways to waste your weekend and go back to work on Monday feeling robbed.


Do nothing but chores


The weekend won’t last forever.

Use every last ounce of energy to knock out every possible chore you could need to do during the week.

Fall into bed on Sunday night exhausted and then when the alarm goes off in the morning: hate your life.

Better alternative: try spacing out chores every night. Make a schedule and try to avoid all-or-nothing thinking.

Eat comfort food


You
 finally made it to the weekend.

You’re tired. You don’t want to cook.

Just grab a frozen pizza, fling it into a pre-heated oven and eat. 

Better alternative: Plan out some salads, fish, or other healthy meals so that you don’t have to make a decision in the moment.

Hibernate in the house


You get up early every morning and leave the house. You spend ours in the car each week fighting traffic. You deserve to stay on the couch all weekend watching sports.

Don’t you?

Better alternative: make time for rest and for exertion. If all you do is veg you’ll find yourself becoming lethargic. If all you do is exert, you’ll find yourself exhausted.

Say Yes to Everything


You only have one weekend. Try to pack a week’s worth of fun into it. 

There’s a lot going on.

Do. It. All.

Better alternative: designate part of your weekend solely for things that give you energy and that lift your spirit.

Burn the midnight oil

Sleep is for old people.

Young people.

The weak.

Make sure you wring every moment from the weekend by staying up late and getting up early. You’ll make up for it during the work week.


So. How do you waste your weekend?

How to be a great team member

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Most all of us work on a team or teams. I’m part of several–I’m on the senior staff team at the church, I’m on our church’s session, I lead the discipleship staff team, and I resource several ministry teams across the adult discipleship area. My education didn’t prepare me for effective collaboration, even in seminary. As a result, most of my training came in the form of professional education while working in management with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.I benefitted from strong bosses and team leaders like my last InterVarsity supervisor Don Paul Gross.

MGMT_TEAM

I also benefitted from the formal training developed by InterVarsity’s training department as well as resources I discovered and used myself. And I’ve still got a long ways to go. As an INTJ team work doesn’t always come naturally to me–I have to work at it!

Michael Hyatt offers the following suggestions for becoming MVP of your team (whether you lead it or are part of it):

  • Play till the whistle blows. Don’t walk off the field in the game. Even if you’re behind—especially if you’re behind—you can make a winning contribution. But you’ll never do it if you quit early.
  • Practice good communication. For me that all comes down to clarity, responsiveness, and frequency. Be clear, don’t bottleneck information, and keep everyone who needs to know in the know as often as they need to know it.
  • Work hard. More accurately, work harder than you think you need to. Doing the minimum will win no points with people who are putting in extra effort. If you have more to give, do it.
  • Share your best. If you want to serve your team members, don’t hold back. Creativity, talent, learning, insight—they can make all the difference in the final outcome, so share your best stuff.
  • Own your mistakes. Responsibility is the mark of a strong team player. If there’s a problem and it’s yours, own it. Accountability frees people to work on the problem, not fester about the one who created it.
  • Affirm others. Team spirit is critical for victory, and everyone on the team is responsible to improve the mood if possible. Catch others doing good work and call them out.
  • Be positive. By its very nature, cynicism kills teamwork. Unlike constructive criticism, it’s defensive and self-indulgent. It’s designed to protect the cynic at the expense of everyone else. A positive attitude about problems is the best way to help the team get past them.

Are there additional characteristics that make for a good team member?

Answers to 5 multi-site objections

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I stumbled across a post by Jonathan Leeman at 9Marks offering a critique of multi-site churches. You can read the post here. He offers twenty-two objections to a multi-site approach. Some of his objections are reasonable, others fail. In many respects the validity of his argument depends on factors that are not established in the post itself and widely vary from church to church (more on this in a minute).

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Here are his top five and my responses beneath:

1. There’s no clear example of a multi-site church in the New Testament, only supposition. “Well, surely, the Christians in a city could not have all met…” (but see Acts 2:465:126:2).

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the verses Leeman cites establish that the New Testament practice was for all of the believers in a city to gather for worship at a single location. I don’t think this requires a one-to-one correspondence in our practice today (i.e., its not a sin to gather in congregations). I’d suggest that these verses suggest more about the value of worshipping community (since our faith is covenantal, worship is first communal then individual) than it does about the internal organizational structure of the fellowship. 

2. If a church is constituted by the preaching of the Word and the distribution of the ordinances under the binding authority of the keys, every “campus” where those activities transpire is actually a church. “Multi-site church” is a misnomer. It’s a collection of churches under one administration.

At the risk of seeming pedantic, church and congregation are not the same thing. Here Leeman writes out of his baptist tradition with its emphasis on the autonomy of primacy of the individual congregation. For presbyterians these marks of the church are no less true. However, in presbyterian practice a congregation needs to be self-governing under the rule of a session (a council of elders). As long as an individual site has some degree of appropriate representation on the session of the sponsoring church, I see no problem. With Leeman I do see a second congregation (in function if not in polity), but I don’t see a problem with that.

3. For every additional multi-site campus out there, there’s one less preaching pastor being raised up for the next generation.

This is a concern, but not necessarily. At least, the same can be said of large individual churches–multi-site or not. It’s a generous preaching pastor who will share her pulpit with a junior colleague so that he can develop as a preacher-teacher.

4. What effectively unites the churches (campuses) of a multi-site church are a budget, a pastor’s charisma, and brand identity. Nowhere does the Bible speak of building church unity in budgets, charisma, and brand.

Here Leeman assumes that these factors–budget, pastor charisma, and brand identity–are the only things uniting a multi-site. I disagree. What unites a multi-site congregation is its theological vision and ministry expression. The other things are factors, but they’d be factors in a single-site church too.

5. To say that the unity of the church (i.e. the unity of the campuses) depends on the leaders is to say that that the life and work of the church depends that much more on the leaders. Members, in comparison to a single-site model, are demoted.

Leeman would need to say more in order for me to believe that this is more of a problem at a multi-site church than in a single-site. 

What do you think?

 

Goals are no good without this…

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Goals are unreachable without a clear structure

Vision. People. Structures.

In ministry (or any other type of leadership) there are three horizons that must simultaneously be monitored: vision, people, and structures.

Vision is the direction and purpose, communally discerned, towards which the church or organization is both pointing and traveling.

People includes both those who are currently members, those who are in leadership, those who may soon be in leadership, and those who are not yet a part of the church.

Structure is the organizational scaffold that unites people with vision.

Structure is often neglected

Structure is often one of the under-valued elements of effective leadership.

Most pastors and church members care that the church be what God has intended it to become. Most pastors and church members love and care for one another, some even care about those who are not yet a part of the fellowship. Structure, however, can be viewed as the stepchild of leadership.

What’s true in organizational leadership is also true in self-leadership. Setting goals, by itself, is not enough to create the change you want to see in your life.

Goals need structural support to become reality

Goals are good, but creating structures that support and propel you toward your goals is even better according to James Clear.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.

So what’s the difference between a goal and a structure? A goal is the desired outcome (the destination, if you will) and the structure is the path to that outcome (the road). Clear provides some helpful examples:

Goals vs Systems

What’s the difference between goals and systems?

If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.

If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

Clear poses the question: could you ignore your goals and still achieve the same outcome simply by implementing new structures?

The answer is usually yes.

Case studies

For example, I lost sixty pounds not by dieting (per se) but exercising regularly (I started biking to work three days a week), drinking more water, and eating until I was full (and not beyond).

My goal wasn’t to lose weight as much as to enjoy the experience of being on a bicycle, something I really enjoy.

I’d like to write a book, in fact I’m working on one. Slowly.

On the other hand, in 2013 I wrote 163 blog posts that totaled about 98,000 words.

Clear points out that the average book is 60,000-70,000 words. In other words, I could have written a book in 2013!

I didn’t because I had a structure in place to write blog posts and had the accountability of being visible. I had no structure for writing my book.

Goals are important, but even more important is figuring out what system, process, or structure will enable you to achieve those goals. 

I recommend the article in it’s entirety: read it now.

Five podcasts I couldn't live without

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podcast

Like most of you I have a lot on my plate. One of the most challenging elements of life can be making time to continue to learn and develop both as a minister and as a leader. I’ve found that podcasts are an excellent way to learn.

I listen while I exercise. During the warmer months I’m out on the bike and it’s not safe to wear earbuds and listen to a podcast. However, in the winter months I shift my exercise routine toward jogging, which is perfect for podcast listening. I typically run for about 30 minutes which is just about the same length of many of the podcasts that I enjoy.

Podcasts also form a key part of my evening going-to-bed ritual. Research shows that ritual practices can have a calming effect and actually provide a structure that leads to freedom (more about this in another post). I listen to two podcasts right before bed.

So, here’s my list of five podcasts that I really value:

  1. This is Your Life (Michael Hyatt). This is my podcast for running. Michael focuses his podcast on intentional leadership and influence often touching on productivity as well. At around 25 minutes its the perfect length for a run and also features a question section at the end that is helpful.
  2. Insight for Living (Chuck Swindoll). I love Chuck’s Bible teaching. He’s a master of teaching the Bible in a way that’s both true to the text and deeply engaging. I often listen to this podcast while working in the yard or, less often, while relaxing in front of a fire in the living room.
  3. Truth for Life (Alistair Begg). A little known fact is that every presbyterian pastor secretly wishes he had a Scottish accent. Begg is a master of expository preaching and a Bible Calvinist. He excellently preaches Scripture without allowing his doctrinal system to be of greater focus than the Bible. His style is simple, straightforward, and often employs hymnody. A valuable model of the Puritan plain style of preaching.
  4. Pray as You Go (British Jesuits). This daily podcast provides a brief (>15 minute) devotional service featuring prayer, sacred music, scripture reading, and reflection questions. Anna and I listen to this in the evening as we get into the bed and settle toward sleep. There’s something beautiful about the Word of God washing over us as we let go of the troubles of the day.
  5. The Archers (BBC Radio 4). The Archers is the longest running radio drama in the world. Set in the rural community of Ambridge, the drama centers on the lives of the village’s residents many of whom are farmers. What’s intriguing about The Archers is how compelling and interesting a host of small and trivial events can be in the life of a community.