A New Year's Challenge for Preachers: Reset Your Calendar in 2019

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You're always so busy. Too busy—right?

Getting a grasp on your schedule feels just about impossible.

Ministry is constantly changing.

Funerals are suddenly required at the most inconvenient times.

Plus, there’s always just too much to do! Always another pastoral call, always another meeting, always the unexpected—always, always, always!

Many of those you serve don't understand you need quiet time to craft a decent sermon.

As a result, you can feel out of sorts and disconnected from God. And once in a while, it might get so stressful you wonder why you got into ministry to begin with.

The Importance of Mindfully Crafting Your Calendar

Our calendars contain the necessary reminders of our responsibilities.

They hold the to-do lists and appointments that keep us focused on our tasks and showing up at the right place at the right time.

But many of us add things to our calendars without considering whether the appointment or task should get on our calendars at all. We don’t stop to consider whether the task is truly our responsibility or not, whether the appointment actually builds the reign of God, nor how much it might feed our spirits with joy or starve us with resentment.

When we keep piling on the responsibilities without mindful consideration of the prep time involved, the energy required to engage, or the precedent it might be setting—then our calendars rule us instead of us ruling our calendars.

That’s when preaching gets stuffed into the margins and cracks of ministry, and we end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by our self-defeating, Sisyphisian attempts to “get on top of our schedule.”

If any of this sounds like you, there is hope!

Aligning Spirit & Schedule

Over the next four weeks, I invite you to reconsider the backstory of your calendar through BsP’s (free) challenge: “Spirit & Schedule.”

In particular, we’ll ask this question:

What does God call you to do?

Who does God call you to be?

And do your days reflect the answers?

When body, mind, and spirit are in tune with God—and the image of God we reflect uniquely—then our spirit is aligned with our schedule.

When that happens, we feel it! We’re able to offer our whole selves freely to God’s service. We sense the fruits of that alignment, and those we serve receive the best of our labors.

And sermon prep is pulled out of the cracks to take center stage!

The Challenge

When you sign up for this challenge, you'll receive an exercise in your inbox every day for 28 days, most of which will take about ten minutes to complete.

Each exercise is designed to be accomplished independently. There are no meetings and no additional materials other than your pens.

It’s just you, God, your daily exercise (a printable PDF), and about ten minutes.

It’s a great way to start the day and the new year!

Over four weeks’ time, those ten-minute exercises will help you discern an ideal schedule that connects you to God, providing the “plumb line” by which you’ll make decisions about your calendar.

You won’t have to wonder so often whether a task or appointment should be added to the calendar.

Or worse, feel the stress that results when you add them without thinking!

Instead, through these creative, reflective, and sometimes playful exercises, you'll ponder what it means to hold your time in the perspective of God’s call for you, and create an ideal schedule that will integrate with your spirit.

And because few weeks are cooperative enough to maintain the “ideal,” you’ll also be prepared with a spiritual practice to discern—in the moment—whether to shift from the ideal or not.

During the 28 days you will:

  • Let God’s abundance create blank space on your calendar

  • Banish the "B" word: Busy

  • Pay attention to the information your body, mind, and spirit give you to discern whether you're aligned with God

  • Take note of the tasks that nourish or drain you

  • Reconsider your call

  • Create a "stop-doing" list

  • Get clear about what assists your preaching schedule and what derails it

  • THEN use all that information to create an Ideal Schedule to make decisions about  your daily calendar

  • AND learn a discernment practice to decide, with God's help, whether you're called in the moment to shift from your Ideal Schedule

At the end of 28 days, you will have realigned your schedule with your spirit and have:

  1. an "Ideal Schedule" to follow each day/week

  2. a discernment process to decide whether the demands of the moment supersede your Ideal Schedule

  3. and greater peace of mind knowing there's congruence between you, God, and the use of your time.

Your sermon prep and your whole ministry will be better aligned to your call and the ways God intends for you to spend your days.

The Spirit & Schedule Challenge begins January 9, 2019

What a great way to start this new year!