by Clark Campbell
As leaders, I think it’s fair to say that most of our peers recognize the need for more margin (space to breathe) in our busy lives. While many of us have begun to do something about our lack of margin, we often “lose sight of what matters the most.” Maybe we’ve built-in adequate margin in our schedules but what are we actually filling up that valuable time with? Personally, I believe that we, as ministry leaders, are vulnerable to doing unintended damage within our created margins. In our downtime, we must pay close attention to our moments of mindlessness that can easily creep in and takeover minutes and hours of our coveted time. To help prevent this, I’ve come up with five ways to maximize your down time in the context of today’s toxic schedule norms:
1. RE-THINK YOUR NEED FOR NEWS
Watching (or reading) the news all day is a non-essential time trap. It maybe informative in moderation but is rarely transformative for the churches & communities you have influence over. Ministry is about life change and living our lives to their fullest potential so why do we obsess with more news rather than more living? Sure, news can be a learning mechanism (i.e. learning about culture, current events and policy so that you can be an informed member of society) but unless you have plans to break down the countless complex issues in the news and act on those complexities systematically, you’re left with nothing more than a loosely defined and often biased opinion of each issue. Very valuable (not)!
2. RE-ASSIGN YOUR TIME
If the average American spent as much time reading books as they scroll the socials, they would read approximately 200 books a year. The average American spends 608 hours on social media and about 1642 hours on TV. (Total = 2250 hours) That’s a lot of mindless time!
3. BE VIGILANT
To re-assign your time you, try to be hyper-vigilant of your time for 30–60 days. Take inventory, find out where your time is going. I’m using a 28-day free trial of Hours (click for app). Being vigilant of your time will make it meaningful instead of mindless.
4. TAKE ACTION
Find a good book or make a list of good books. Ask a few people that you look up to and ask them what they’re reading. Using social media for good, create a new post asking your friends to comment with the best book(s) they’ve read in the last 12 months.
5. IGNITE CHANGE
Start a conversation with a small group of people in your church or community who want to learn or who want to be the change that stirs deep inside. You probably already know who they are. Using social media for good, create a new post that says something like this, “Hey friends, I’m organizing a meet-up to discuss how we can ignite change for ________ in our community. Message me privately if you’re interested.” If your post creates a thread of arguments, you can kindly private message the person(s) who initiated the argument and explain what you’re doing and that you’d like to avoid conflict on your Facebook post. In my experience, this interaction has almost always prompted the person to delete their comment. Doesn’t hurt to be kind and to privately message the crazy ones 🙂
Note: These thoughts are written as a recovering addict. Stay informed and stay connected but don’t be addicted.
Clark Campbell is the co-founder and CEO of SocialLion, Inc; a creative & event marketing agency based in Tennessee. He also has a decade of experience in vocational ministry including associate pastor, student pastor, worship pastor and media pastor.