Not only can you use the Strategic Planning Process to direct your ministry teams, you can use this same method to focus the vision and direction of your life.
Most great leaders are tenacious about personal management.
What kind of person do you want to be?
How effective do you want to be?
Would you like to grow your knowledge, vision, skill and character to become a better campus ministry leader?
All of the ministry tools and strategies in the world are of little use if you are stagnant spiritually, struggling in your relationships, or buried under a mountain of debt.
Do you want to be someone who is always growing, always learning, always stretching yourself, always becoming more like Jesus, and always trusting God for new things?
This simple, easy to use template will help you to identify the areas where you need to grow as a person and minister of the gospel. Remember an axe is only as good as its edge. God is looking to and fro throughout the earth for faithful, obedient disciples who walk closely with Him (my paraphrase of 2 Chronicles 16:9) so He may use them in mighty ways. Use the Personal Development Plan (PDP) to grow as a whole person and stay spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially, socially, and intellectually in shape.
Use the blank template to develop your own goals and action steps. Keep your plan simple. Be realistic. Put this somewhere you can see it. Move the action items into your weekly calendar. Now let’s see how committed you are–give this to your boss, spouse, mentor and team (if applicable) asking them for feedback on your plan, to pray for you in these areas, and to ask you about how things are going. You will see more success to the degree you are willing to invite others into the process. People don’t typically grow well in isolation.
To begin, get alone with the Lord for at least a ½ day and pray about this. Ask Him for Psalm 139:23-24. Then work through each section.
- Life Statement: What do you want to be true of yourself at the end of your life? What is worth dying for? Why are you here?
- Values: What are your core values? Values determine priorities which determine your daily choices. Know your core values; they drive everything you do.
- Current Reality: List your God given gifts, personality as well as your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT). From this you will see some patterns emerge for areas of growth.
- Resources: Needed and available resources to help you move forward. What do you have? What do you need?
- Major Goals: These come out of the issues from your current reality. Set big goals only God can do. Then list tactics, time frames, and people who can help.
- Evaluate: At least once a semester. Then repeat the process.
Remember this process should give you 2-4 things you can really work on to become the person God desires you to be. God is conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), this is simply a tool to focus both what He is saying to us and how we can partner with Him in the process.
Strategic with Time
Time is given to us by God, and He has numbered our days. Like money or relationships, we steward the time God has given us. We should seek to use it to bring Him the most glory, as we seek to accomplish all He has called us to each day. As campus ministry leaders, we can either squander our time or invest it wisely. Most of us have little training in this area. But just like cooking, playing a musical instrument, or studying, skill can be acquired and learned. People who are “high capacity” and seem to accomplish a lot are usually just good at managing their time effectively. You can learn this skill as well.
Below is a sheet you can use that combines many of the principles taught in the time management world. I would also recommend the wealth of time management coaching videos and articles like this one on FranklinCovey.com, but this highly simplified version can get you started. It is easy enough that you can pass this on to other staff and students who are struggling with “I never have enough time.”
Blank Time Management Sheet (Excel)
Here are the key tips:
- God has given you enough time each day to accomplish the whole of His will.
- Do this for 4 weeks. Nothing shorter will give you enough time to learn this or to see the benefits. Trust me, it will be worth it!
- Refer to your Personal Development Plan each week and make sure your personal goals are incorporated into your week as well as your tasks. Choices/tasks come from priorities, priorities come from values, values come from core beliefs. Don’t live out other people’s agenda for your life.
- Keep this close. Mine is kept in my backpack or on my desk. I refer to it 3-5 times per day.
- Use the weekly calendar to track where your time went. I still use my phone for appointments. If you turn in a weekly update to a boss (and I do recommend you do that) here is an example for you to follow. Use this to remember your week and what you accomplished. Evaluate your week. Where did you spend your time? Did you do what you set out to do? Crazy idea: give this form to your boss(es) and share your week with them, asking for feedback. (Every boss will love this.)
- Plan your week. Take 15-20 minutes on Monday to write down your goals/tasks for the week, thinking through your roles, relationships, responsibilities, projects, and personal development plan.
- Plan your day. Ten minutes of planning each morning can be the biggest game changer. Then work your plan.
- The secret code for priority:
- A= (high) must get done today
- B= (medium) want to get done today
- C= (low) may get done but only if I have extra time. Move all A’s and B’s to next day if you do not accomplish them on the day you wanted to.
- The secret code for * ✓✗ ->: * is in process, ✓ is done, ✗ is deleted, -> is moved to another day. This way nothing is lost.
Use this to challenge yourself not to stress out more. (By taking on more than you should, or not investing your time wisely, you are stressing yourself). Use this because you want to use your time wisely and not squander it. Honest feedback and reality are friends of the humble, teachable, and broken. We all need help in this area. Accomplishing all God wants us to (no more or less) is a blessing. Use this tool with that perspective.