Vision is a destination- a fixed point to which we focus all effort. Strategy is a route- an adaptable path to get us where we want to go. – Simon Sinek
What are your goals for 2017? If you are staring at this with no idea, then lets ask another question. What do you dream about? What do you think about when you don’t have anything urgent? My guess is that you think about something. You dream about something. It could be being healthier, being focused in your ministry, hanging out with students more, or just being at home more with your family. If you don’t have a plan, you will let the urgent take over the important.
Here are a few helpful ways to stay focused this, and make 2017 the best yet!
Have a vision statement.
What is your life about? What is the goal? Andy Stanley puts it wisely in his book on vision, “Pay the price. Embrace the vision. After all, everybody ends up somewhere in life. You have the opportunity to end up somewhere on purpose.” Where do you want to end up? Figure out and write down a vision statement for your life. It could be as simple as: making disciples, or love God, love people, make disciples. When you write it out, you will naturally prioritize things to accomplish it. Print it off and put it in your office on the wall.
You need to have a direction. A vision statement will help you stay focused when you are drifting.
If you want help getting an idea of what a life goal is, you can check out Micahel Hyatt’s book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. You can also get his free materials on his website here. These resources are a great start. I would suggest taking a whole day to write these out. I did this a few years ago, and I revisit my life plan every 4 months.
Write out your week on Sunday evening.
This is another helpful tool to keep you focused on what matters most for you and your ministry. Greg McKeown shows the importance of prioritizing your life, “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” When I sit back on Sunday evening and plan out my week, it’s pretty fulfilling knowing that I am prioritizing what matters.
A few years ago, I felt like every week was slipping by. I didn’t know how to do the things I was supposed to be doing. So, I wrote out a life plan and started to make my idea week. It really helped me to build habits in my work so that I could do things that I thought were the most important.
One of the best tools that I have used to organize my week is the week dominator from Neu Year. We will have a review in the next few weeks, but here is what you need to know. This is a great weekly/daily planner. It’s a little bulky, but it’s amazing. If you don’t want something so bulky, then get the Moleskine 2017 Calendar weekly notebook. This is what we used to use.
Start writing out and planning your week before someone else fills it with urgent stuff. I still have to do some urgent things, but when I have something to do it’s easier to say no to the urgent for the important.
Plan the whole year out.
I like to have the year calendar planned out. It feels good to have all the dates locked in. It feels amazing to have the missions trip info out the 12 months before we go on a trip. Parents will respect you if you have a plan. Even if you just communicate that plan.
We use calendars to share with our parents what is going on. You can see the calendars in our store here. They are really simple, but they have key events for the next 4 months. They also have event info for the next season. I don’t want to surprise anyone in my ministry, not my coworkers, volunteer leaders, parents, or my lead pastor. I want people to know what is going on, and these calendars have helped communicate that.
I also use a huge wall calendar with everything important on it. The calendar that we go to is from Nue Year and it looks great. You can check them out here.
Having one place that is a hard copy helps me focus again on the plan. The rhythm of ministry. It helps show how busy we will be in some seasons, and how much down time we will have in other seasons to really do what matters most to my team and I.
I hope these three things help you stay on point this year. I would love to meet with more youth workers this year and help you do ministry better. We are working on a course this year to help youth pastors. We look forward to sharing this with youth pastors.