“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” That’s what the red queen says in Through the Looking Glass. Sometimes, that is exactly how I feel. We are all challenged with a great many ministry opportunities, meetings, readings, and the every now and again crisis or two. This can easily lead to a place where no long term planning takes place, we are just too busy trying to care of the immediate.
Planning is even more pressing in youth ministry because unlike some senior pastors who might have five, six, seven or more years with essentially the same congregation, youth pastors at best have three or four.
Because of this short time span, we dare not allow busy-ness to preclude good planning – or any planning for that matter. There is a saying, “Satan does not need to make us evil, he just needs to make us busy.” Let me share with you the two different methods to slay the busy-ness dragon.
1. OIU Lists
The first was a weekly planner on which I could write down each task I needed to accomplish. As I compiled the list every task was assigned an “O” or “I” or “U.” “O” was for ordinary, the bottom of the priority pile. “I” indicated important, things that had a deadline. “U” was for urgent, tasks needing immediate attention. This provided a quick visualization of where I needed to spend my time.
2. White Boards and Stars
Now I use a white board on the wall next to my desk and a pack of colored dry-write markers. Each subject has its own color – red for events, blue for devotional ideas, green for longer term studies, and so on. I draw stars or circle tasks for emphasis. I write in large letters so it is easy to read. When I walk into my office I have an immediate picture of all the things on my to-do list. Not only that but I see what I have been thinking about lately and where I need to focus my attention.
What techniques or technology do you use? In a run-as-fast-as-you-can world we all need something to help us get where we want to go.