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The Productivity/Time Management Blog

  • Wednesday, August 26, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Emma DaShiell  Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Cherry Street Baptist Church

    In his book, “Do More Better”, Tim Challies defines productivity as “effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. Stewarding gifts: check. Talents: check. Time: you bet. Energy: I got this. Enthusiasm: Wait, what? For the good of others...*eyebrows furrow* ...and the glory of God *woof*.

    I tracked with everything until the word “enthusiasm.” I am a hard worker, but in order for it to be considered productive, it has to be enthusiastic? Enthusiasm is defined by Merriam-Webster as “strong excitement of feeling or something inspiring zeal or fervor.” Why on earth does enthusiasm matter? I’m glad you asked. Enthusiasm in productivity matters for two reasons. God desires it, and others need it.

    God desires it. In I Corinthians we are called to do all things decently and in order. I cling to this verse to a fault sometimes. But what I have to remember is that we are also called to do those things heartily as unto the Lord. Time and time again in Scripture, we see that heart attitude is paramount...the widow’s mite, the loaves and fishes, the washing of Jesus’ feet. Each instance looks the insignificance of the task in the eye and ups the ante to the heart. I don’t want to minimize the importance of work. It is important. Vital even. But this begs the question, “Am I most productive when I get things done, or when I do my best with an enthusiastic heart?” II Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” While we mostly talk about this verse in regard to our money, the principle is the same for our gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm.

    Others need it. I find a lot of personal satisfaction in completing tasks. I’m on board to work heartily unto the Lord. But, for the good of others? ….What if they aren’t good toward me? Productivity has never been about what I produce, but rather what I steward. And more times than not, who I steward...the ministry team I work with, volunteers in our children’s ministry, my friends and my family. We have a great opportunity to provoke one another to love and good works when we do what we do with enthusiasm. Romans 12 tells us to be kindly affectioned one to another, prefer one another, to not be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Work becomes more enjoyable and productive for ourselves and others when we are enthusiastic.

    Enthusiasm is contagious. God desires it because He is more interested in our hearts than our work. Others need it because some things are better caught than taught. If you’re feeling stuck in your productive world, I highly recommend Tim Challies’ book “Do More Better.” In my experience, being unproductive is typically a symptom of a deeper rooted issue that sprouts from my heart. This practical definition has given me a new perspective on productivity. One in which I believe will reap far more reward not just here, but also in heaven.

    One more time just to let it marinate…

    Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.


  • Monday, July 06, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Tracy Roby

    Obsessive compulsiveness runs in my family, inherited from my mother.  Combine that with a strong work ethic from dad, and you have all the makings of a driven workaholic striving toward perfection.  It can be a collision course.  The first church I ministered in had an ungodly work schedule.  In the office at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with visitation three nights a week and church on Wednesday.  Your car was not supposed to be back in your driveway before 9:00 p.m.  Friday was the day off, but included preparation for three lessons on Sunday, because study time wasn’t allowed during the week.  Saturday was bus visitation, no time for lunch, prayer meeting at 6:00 p.m. and then time for class activities.  Time for family didn’t exist.  

        Perhaps it prepared me for what real ministry was going to look like.  Church life can be extremely busy, at least life BC (before Covid).  There are lessons for Sunday School, messages for Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night to be prepared.  People that need to be visited in the hospital, or shut-ins and widows to be taken care of and loved.  “Do you have a minute?” questions by staff members can suddenly take up an entire day.  Combine that with counseling and other administrative tasks and ministry in the “real world” can suddenly average 70 hour work weeks.  What is a day off?  Surely a couple of those a month are sufficient.

        Guess I wasn’t busy enough, I had time for the Lord to bless us with four children.  Now, let’s add to the schedule sports, choir, band and endless activities.  I made a commitment early on (during that first ministry) that I wasn’t going to neglect my family.  I wanted to be there for everything my parents missed.  Some of you can see, and some of you are living, what could possibly happen.

        Then along came a disease, and now we move into life AD (after disease).  Suddenly our world came to a screeching halt.  Stay at home!  Shelter in place.  I know, we were all still real busy learning social media and learning new ways to minister to our congregation.  But something else happened – there was extra time.  Psalm 46:10 was the first verse that came to my mind.  Maybe the Lord wants me to slow down long enough to connect with Him.  More time to just read my Bible for fun.  More time to pray.  More time with my family.  More time to spend with my Savior.  For those reasons I will forever be grateful for a virus that rocked our world.

        This blog was supposed to be about personal disciplines.  Through the years I have learned how to discipline my time and balance family and ministry.  I didn’t want to lose either.  I know how to work a schedule and make a schedule work.  There are many programs and abundant information on how to get the most from the hours of your day.  If you really want to make the most out of your day you can research how to discipline and schedule down to the minute.

        Personally, the most important thing was establishing my priorities early.  My OCD tendency makes the tyranny of the urgent scream.  It is hard to relax until everything is clean and in its place.  Dare not let the grass grow under the feet.  But sometimes the urgent isn’t the most important.  What is really important?  Relationships – with my Savior, my family and others.  If I keep my priorities in place it helps me to personally discipline myself to focus on the important things first, then we can let the rest fall into place.

  • Monday, March 23, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Emma DeShiell  Children's Minsitry, Cherry Street Baptist Church, Springfield MO

    Have you ever worked hard all day but didn’t have anything to show for it at the end of the day? Those days are defeating and deflating. I try very hard for those days to be few and far between. But, this hasn’t always been the case in my life. I was hired to be an administrative assistant to a senior pastor the semester before I graduated college. I was green. Practically still on the vine. I was confident that I was not going to survive that first year because I struggled to keep myself organized, let alone the senior pastor of our church. I double booked his appointments, forgot to reschedule ones he was unable to keep, and failed to return phone calls. Frequently. Somehow I made it to a second year, then a third, a fourth, and now going on twelve years. I used the early tears of embarrassment and frustration and turned them into gumption to do better. I have found that in order to be consistently productive and organized, you need three basic ingredients.

    1. The Want To. You have to want to be organized. Think about the most productive day you’ve had in the last week. Did you have one? Perhaps in the last month? Did you determine a plan ahead of time? Determining to be organized looks a lot like creating lists, preparing resources, and scheduling time.

    2. The How To. You have to have a process. Every person is uniquely equipped and outfitted by the Lord to be organized. But, it isn’t necessarily going to look the same for everyone. I have developed my base for organization and productivity by utilizing these ten steps in Tim Challies’ book, “Do More Better”

    1. Know Your Purpose

    2. Answer the Call

    3. Define Your Responsibilities

    4. State Your Mission

    5. Select Your Tools

    6. Collect Your Tasks

    7. Plan Your Calendar

    8. Gather Your Information

    9. Live the System

    10. Maintain it Consistently

    3. Follow Through. Organization is a discipline, not a personality type. Just like you need to be determined to get started, you have to finish what you started. And finish strong.


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