How to Order Your Time When There is No Sunday Gathering
Time is a finite resource. You only have 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. No more, no less. What you do with your time makes all the difference. This is especially true in the early phases of church planting when there is no Sunday gathering and only a few appointments or meetings. Your calendar might look sparse at this stage, and you may have more available time than ever before.
At this stage, many church planters are asking: How do I order my time for maximum efficiency and impact?
One of the most important things you can do is discover your chronotype: This is a person’s natural inclination concerning the times of day when they prefer to sleep or when they are most alert or energetic. Your natural biological rhythm determines your chronotype. Since church planting isn’t a Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 occupation, why not order your days according to your unique biology and life responsibilities. This strategy will help you maximize your day and devote your best self to the most important tasks. To get started in discovering your chronotype ask yourself:
- When am I most alert, focused, and productive?
- When am I most creative and innovative?
- When am I most irritable and easily annoyed?
- When do I need break to re-energize?
Once you understand your chronotype, you can begin ordering your days for maximum efficiency.
Another question many planters are asking before they start weekly gatherings is: What should I be doing?
An excellent place to start if you are in the early stages of church planting is to think through what you need to spend your time on in 3 buckets:
- Leaders and Lost
- All the Other Stuff
While context can change these buckets, a good recommendation is to spend 20% of your time fundraising, 60% of your time on leaders and lost, and 20% of your time on the other stuff.
As a church planter, you will be drawn to tasks that you enjoy the most. If you are a task-oriented person, you may find yourself spending the bulk of your time developing your vision or perfecting your discipleship plan. However, it is important to remember that you will never successfully plant a church if you fail to make time for people. You must devote time to identifying, developing, and deploying leaders and building trust with unchurched people and lost people. There will also be the temptation to “hang” with the “ninety-nine” (churched people), but you must remember who you are planting the church for: The “one” (see the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15).
As a church planter, I found it necessary to guard the days on my calendar that were devoted to the tasks I liked the least.
This discipline meant that I set aside an entire day for fundraising and I refused to schedule anything else on that day unless it was absolutely essential. I set aside Tuesdays because I knew that was going to be my sermon writing day after we launched. It proved beneficial to develop the habit of making Tuesdays distraction-free. Although I did not enjoy fundraising, it allowed me to focus on reaching my fundraising goal before we started weekly Sunday gatherings. To be honest, I couldn’t wait for our Sunday gatherings to begin so that I could start spending my Tuesdays doing something I enjoyed.
The life of a church planter can be busy. You will be balancing more tasks and to-do’s than you ever thought possible. Amid all the things vying for your time and attention, be sure to protect your time with God and your family. You may have never thought about putting time with God on your calendar or scheduling Fridays off with your spouse, however, it is crucial that you develop a plan for spending time with God and your family before everything gets chaotic. And please, make sure that time with your family isn’t just time to discuss church stuff! After you have developed a plan to spend time with God and your family, commit to it and find someone to hold you accountable!
In all your planning, be sure to never forget the importance of prayer and being led by God’s Spirit. The God who called you is able to guide you. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Stadia provides you with an expert church planting project manager, who manages timelines and details so you can focus on people and start strong. Your project manager will help you with all the details of planting including completing your legal paperwork, running demographics and setting up financial systems. This allows you to focus on building your team and investing in people rather than getting sidetracked by details. Learn more about Stadia’s Planter Support Services, here.
Wesley Bolden has ministry training and experience in church revitalization, campus ministry, leadership and church planting. In 2013, he partnered with Stadia to plant Tri-Cities Church, a multiethnic church in metro Atlanta. Wesley is passionate about empowering church planters to discover and live into their unique gifting and calling. During his free time, he loves to get outside, listen to podcast and drink good coffee.