These days our days are crazy!

Today’s pastors are finding their schedules packed with ever more activities and responsibilities, worthy and unworthy. As we begin a New Year, we know we need to take time to get away and plan; but the thought of being able to reclaim time for a meaningful planning retreat doesn’t look as if it’s in the cards.

So in the spirit of the one-minute manager, I’d like to suggest a 10-minute planning retreat. Feel free to fit it in during this morning’s coffee break or while you slip out of tomorrow’s staff meeting. They’ll think you’re in the restroom. Who knew you were actually planning the next year?!
Here is a quick summary of how your planning retreat might look:

Minute 1: Start by reviewing the recent past. Make a note of highlights of the past year, particularly those activities for which your congregation offered special praise. This may not take a whole minute.

Minutes 2-4: Make notes about things for which you were criticized in the past year. This is likely to use up all the allotted time plus that extra time you may have had left over from the first minute.

Minutes 5-6: Start a list of your major goals for the New Year. Be sure to include practical items such as: “Plan realignment of Sunday School space” and “Avoid being lynched by angry mob of senior adult ladies.”

Minute 7: Review that list of objectives and see what can be assigned to other staff members. Be sure to delegate ones that end with “no matter what happens.”

Minute 8: Check back in on the other staff to make sure they aren’t planning something that will get you in trouble.

Minute 9: Do a quick online search of sermon series preached by well-known preachers. Note several that might make good series in your church. Avoid series by preachers whose radio shows are popular with your members.

Minute 10: Check the calendar for some days you can set aside to do some real planning.

Once the 10 minutes are done? Hey, you’ve been working hard—time for a break!

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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