Busy Does Not Equal Productive

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Dr. Paul Borden
Rocky Mountain Church Network

Taken from Growing Healthy Churches October 2014 E-Newsletter



I do not think I have ever met a pastor that when asked said that she/he was not busy in ministry. I do not think I have ever shared when asked about my use of time that I have not said that I have not been busy in ministry. Being busy in ministry is almost as much an absolute for evangelical pastors as believing in the Deity of Jesus Christ. Yet as we look at The Church of Jesus Christ it is obvious that a busy clergy does not produce great results when it comes to congregational health and growth. Assuming that a lack of busyness is not the answer to such poor results, we must then determine the problem of such a low correlation between effectiveness and effort. I would suggest that rather than talking about busyness we should be focusing on production. After all our Lord did talk about fruitfulness, which is an evaluation of production. In other words, if all pastors are busy, then we must determine what generates more production for the time invested. 

Evaluating ministry more on production then time served means starting with a clear sense of mission or purpose. The clearer the purpose the easier it is to determine whether production has been or not been achieved. For example, if my purpose for an afternoon is to rest and relax, I can determine as evening approaches whether such has or has not occurred.

A clear mission then leads to strategies and tactics. We all know that any purpose is best served well if the appropriate strategies and tactics are determined and implemented. So a relaxing afternoon for many might include the elimination of all sources of interruption. It would also probably entail a change of environment, particularly the environment in which I regularly work.

Once the strategies and tactics are selected I must then establish criteria to determine if the strategies and tactics are implemented well and produce the intended results that fit the purpose being achieved. So the criteria for a relaxing and restful afternoon might be the re-creation of my mental and emotional state along with renewed physical energy that results in more motivation to achieve results when I enter back into my normal responsibilities.

Therefore busy pastors that seldom see the production they desire need to evaluate their overall approach to ministry. First is there a clear mission for their role and for the personal achievement of their role? If such is not the case, they need to establish such a mission. The clearer and more specific that mission is the better the chance they will succeed in fulfilling it.

Second, these pastors then need to examine the strategies and tactics they employ throughout the week to determine two things. The first determination is the wisdom of employing such strategies and tactics. The second determination is how consistently and effectively the strategies and tactics are implemented.

Finally, pastors then must set goals to determine whether the results achieved are good or need improvement. These results need to be viewed over an extended period of time (three to six months). As many sports or musical coaches say, the goal is to get a little better every time we play or practice.

We are all busy (at least we all say we are). We are not all productive. Our goal hopefully is to improve the correlation between busyness and production.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]