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Cutting Down Ministry Trees With Dull Axes

I have worked with and talked with countless ministries, Senior Pastors and staff teams from around the world. Every one of these groups have a desire to grow, a desire to be efficient and a desire to be productive. Every ministry tries different strategies to foster growth, efficiency and productivity. The most over-looked strategy to propel growth, efficiency and productivity is “time off and rest.”

In all seriousness, Sr. Pastors should try to find themselves in the sweet spot of preaching between 35-40 weekends per year (no more.) If they are preaching more than that, they probably aren’t raising up any other leaders/teachers, they probably don’t have adequate relationships with other Sr. Pastors, they are probably stifling the organizational growth culture and they are setting themselves up for burnout and failure. In addition to time off, an appropriate sabbatical policy should also be in the mix as well.

When it comes to the staff, some cultures only allow staff to take off 2 ministry weekends a year. Seriously, that is absolutely ludicrous if the ministry truly desires to grow, while increasing efficiency and productivity. The staff need to rest and there is not a staff member on the planet that is so important that they can’t take more than two weekends off. If they are perceived to be that important, they probably aren’t leading because they should be able to raise other leaders up to keep the ship going in their absence. Staff should take off no less than 4-6 weekends a year and ideally 2 of those weekends should be back to back. You must know your culture and know your rhythms.

The same thing is true for high capacity volunteers, especially those that volunteer multiple services and in multiple ministries. These individuals generally have demanding full-time jobs and need to rest, rejuvenate and recuperate, in order to increase their productivity. It’s up to the staff and ministry leaders to know the various rhythms and be in tune with when to encourage and sometimes demand volunteers take some time-off.

If you want to grow, be productive and efficient, you must schedule time to rest, time to refresh, time to energize and time to do absolutely nothing. Stephen Covey refers to this as sharpening your axe. He tells the story of someone so busy cutting down trees that they don’t take time to stop and sharpen their axe. The person who takes the time to sharpen their axe will cut down more trees. Some ministry staff, Sr. Pastors and volunteers are cutting down ministry trees with dull axes.

Sometimes the most important times to take off and rest is when it’s the craziest and the furious ministry storms are coming at you 100 mph.

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:24-27

What kind of man is this? He is “Jesus” the kind of man that took time to rest. Just as Jesus said to his disciples, I will say to ministry leaders “The reason you and your staff are not taking time off is because you are of little faith, you have so little faith that you don’t think the ship can float with out you or your team guiding the ship.” Get some rest, have some faith and watch how smooth your ministry ship will sail. Sailing to the shores of efficiency, productivity, growth and a bonus island called “health.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences. 

Christmas Devotional ebook “Christmas Reboot”

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with friends, family or even by yourself.  It’s time to close the Thanksgiving Chapter and move on towards Christmas.  If you want a great way to help your family or small group to put a purposed focus on the Christmas Season, you should check out Christmas Reboot.
Christmas Reboot is an eBook by my friend Alan Danielson.  It has 25 devotionals that help people and families see Christmas in a different way. The ebook is a great value at $8.99 and this Christmas Season 50% of each purchase goes directly to missions in Guatemala.  That’s a 3-in-1 type of deal: 1. no black Friday lines, 2. great book of devotionals, 3. Make a difference in Guatemala.
Most people will use the book, devotional, conversation starters and other activities on a daily basis with their families in December.   Click here to read a sample chapter and purchase Christmas Reboot.
You can even purchase a distribution license that allows your organization the legal right to distribute free copies!  You can use the distribution license for appreciation gifts to volunteers in your church, to your company’s staff members, or even as a free gift to people in the community.  Click here to purchase a bulk distribution license and give Christmas Reboot to people you want to influence.
Check out Christmas Reboot and let the Christmas Season officially begin.

On My Desk or In My Bag!

Here are 5 books that are on my desk or in my bag: (Either reading or getting ready to start reading)

Have you read or plan on reading any of the above books?  Share your thoughts.

What books are On Your Desk or In Your Bag?

Oprah's Book Club

If you are wondering where the title for this blog post came from; obviously there has to be a hidden agenda…  that agenda: It will definitely increase blog traffic!  If you want to know about blog titles you can check out my friend Terry Storch’s blog; Terry actually wrote book on blogging.   Terry has several posts where he talks about blog titles; you can check them out here.

I would actually like to here from all you who read this blog; even those of you who read through rss readers.  Here is the question and yes it relates to the title:

What are some good books that you are reading or have recently read?   It doesn’t matter if they are leadership, self-help, ministry…  just share some good reads, so we don’t have to go to Barnes & Nobles or Borders wandering/looking around for a good book.  I will share a bunch of books that I have read this year, recently read or am currently reading; check the comments later.

Friday Drive-by (5)

Let me shoot you some random bullets!, NW Oklahoma City Campus

  • We are hosting “The Big Show” tonight which is an event to honor our volunteers, we could not do what we do w/out them!
  • Last week of Supernatural looking at Angels
  • God is really blessing our campus w/ some serious growth


  • Alabama needs to beat LSU
  • OSU needs to beat Texas
  • ASU needs to beat Oregon
  • OU will beat Texas A&M and Coach Fran will get fired
  • The Seattle Supersonics need to leave Seattle and land in Oklahoma City
  • I want to say the Colts will beat the Patriots it will be tough and it depends on whether Harrison plays 

Questions that make you go hmmmm!

  • When flying, why do we wake up from a good nap for a 1oz. snack and a 4oz. drink?
  • Why is it illegal to give homeless people food or money in Denver?
  • Why do ATM’s charge you a fee to get your money?


  • Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill
  • You see things and say ‘Why?’ but I dream things that never were; and say ‘Why Not?’  George Shaw
  • We should not live life or do things Just Because; instead we should live life and do things Because.  Scott Williams


  • Do you take your Bible with you to church?  Share your thoughts!

 Have a great weekend!

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