Category Archives: Time

Creating Margin … Part 1

We are thankful that one of our great friends, Kerri Weems, is going to share a two part series on something ALL of us in ministry or leadership … time and balance. If you missed Kerri’s talk about time and balance at our JustONE Online Conference last fall, you can click here to watch the whole session or skip ahead to catch Kerri’s talk. You can see all of the JustONE sessions here or click on the Media tab above.

She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].  Proverbs 31:20 (AMP)

As pastor’s wives we can tend to feel guilty about having any time for ourselves that is unproductive and not focused on people. After all, it’s for people that we are called to ministry. Yet many times, it’s the very people we are called to love that take the most out of us. As a natural part of ministry, we live in response mode much of the time. We need to (and rightfully should) respond to the needs that arise in people’s lives: marriage crises, illness, deaths, babies, weddings, job loss, accidents, job promotions…the list goes on and on. (Wow, just typing that list made me emotionally drained. I think I need a nap.) If we are not careful, we can get stuck in response mode and lose our grip on living with intentionality and purpose. That’s why we have to guard the margin in our lives and in our schedules. We need to do this, not out of selfishness, but because we are committed to finishing our race well. One big way we can navigate this aspect of ministry is to create a little margin, or extra space in every area of our lives.

Take, for instance, creating margin in our schedules. On our daily planners margin can look like empty space. We live in a culture that is so busy that an empty block of time on our weekly schedule can almost make us feel guilty. At least that was my mindset. I used to make it my goal to fill up every blank space on my calendar. I was at every class party, every birthday party, every work meeting – even when my presence wasn’t necessary. If the space was open on my calendar, I dutifully penciled in the next appointment. Open space is there to be filled, right? Not really. Those blank spaces represent margin in our lives. They represent space to think, to plan, to breathe – and it’s important.

I love how Proverbs 31:20 in the Amplified version (above) puts it. “She reaches out her filled hands to the needy…”  How silly would it be to go on an outreach to feed the poor, but only hand them empty bowls? Yet when we spend ourselves to the point of exhaustion and take no time to refill, this is exactly how we are trying to do ministry. We will be terribly ineffective, and in the end, resentful. Margin in our lives represents the space to refill.

Truth be told, there are many, many, days where I don’t have any margin at all. I am up at the crack of dawn and work until sundown. I love the feeling of working hard and getting the job done. But I’m smart enough now to realize that I can’t sustain that pace. I can’t build friendships at that pace. I can’t be spiritually, emotionally and mentally healthy at that pace. My kids can’t remember what I look like at that pace. Now I have learned to look at empty spaces on my calendar as margin in my life. I build margin into every week, and I guard it faithfully. If need be, it provides space for the unexpected. And if the unexpected doesn’t happen, well then, I’ve just got margin.

How do you build margin into your schedule and life? How do see the lack of margin affecting your ministry and life?

Personal Intervention

Posted by Tiffany Cooper

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to do this.  Nor can I recall all the reasons for needing one.  But I can tell you that I am a better wife, mom, pastor’s wife and all-around person because of them.  I’m talking about personal interventions!

My personal interventions are usually a result of some type of unsettling inside.  The majority of them are centered around the fact that I feel pulled in too many directions while trying to do too much at one time.  My most recent intervention was as follows:

  • I began to feel an unsettling about how my time was being spent.  I have 4 young children who need me more than anyone else besides my husband.  Over the last year I had slowly let my plate become full again.  (I tend to do this although I’m much better about recognizing and preventing it now.)  While I loved most everything I committed my time too, I didn’t love it more than my  kids who started to ask when I would be done.
  • I started talking to my husband about it.  Of course, he already knew because he always feels the affects of my over-committed self.  We discussed changes I could make.
  • I began to take steps to work smarter and not harder.  That meant letting go of some things and reworking others.
  • I had a much-needed chat with my dear friend Jessica Cornelius.  We discussed the “what’s your capacity” issue and lots of other things concerning living a ministry schedule life.  Thank you Jessica!
  • I currently love every moment of summer.  Lazy mornings snuggling my little ones* lots of trips to Sonic for slushes*fun evenings with my husband (we are currently watching the Prison Break series….love it!!!)

MOST OF ALL, I feel room to breathe! I’m enjoying my life and ready for my fresh start this fall when the low-key summer is over.  I will be working smarter instead of harder.

Have you ever had a personal intervention?  Why?  Advice?

Ministry Monster

Posted by Tiffany Cooper

Monsters tend to bring negative thoughts to peoples’ minds.  Children have dreams about them hiding in closets and the entertainment industry earns millions preying on society’s fears simply because we allow our minds to believe in the possibility of these evil creatures.  Unfortunately, we sometimes allow ministry to prey on us and a ministry monster is created if we’re not careful.  Ministry is all consuming and the needs are never-ending.  We could commit every hour of every day and still have more to do.

Just like a child grows to realize monsters are created in their imagination, we too can defeat the creation of the ministry monster.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • KNOW and ACCEPT that YOU can’t do it all.  You are one person and you alone will not solve all the problems in your sphere of life.  Do what you can, nothing more.
  • Set realistic boundaries.  Life in the ministry is unique from many other schedules.  STILL, I encourage you to create time to STOP and refuel yourself from all you give out each day.  BE REALISTIC about your schedule, BE PROACTIVE about carving out time and BE COMMITTED to following through!
  • Be honest and let go of things that are draining you in a negative way.   Many times there is another solution to a need if we take the time to analyze and think about it.  The solution may come immediately or through a process of transition.  You may be investing a great deal in an area of ministry because there is a need, not because you feel passionate about it.  I praise you for that!  I did the same for a number of years.   Stay faithful in your season but also search for a solution.
  • Keep your spouse accountable and vice versa.  My husband is super great at letting me know when he thinks I am doing too much.  He notices when I’ve let too many things on my plate, when I feel overwhelmed and when I fail to give myself time to refuel.  As a general rule, we try to focus on family time from 6:00pm on each weeknight.  We keep one another in check in regards to the health of our schedules.
  • Have fun!  I like to think that monsters have a hard time surviving in an atmosphere of fun.  The more you ENJOY LIFE the more you’ll ENJOY MINISTRY!!!

We want to hear from you! What are other ways we can prevent the monster of ministry from creeping into our lives?  Thoughts?

Bring On The Jolly…

Posted by Brandi Wilson

I purchased my first Christmas gift last night… don’t be jealous (and I’ve never been known as an early shopper).  Having one gift down actually made me feel quite on top of things even though it’s already November 16th. Where did August, September, and October go?

When I think about our Leading and Loving It community one of the things I love most is our ability and our openness to learn from one another.  So today let’s talk Christmas because we LOVE some Christmas at our house.  In fact I think the only person who decorates before me is Lori!

I’d love to hear any tips you all have for successfully maneuvering the Holidays.  What does the ministry side of Christmas look like to your family? What is your favorite part of the Holidays?

Cross Point really cuts out most evening meetings the month of December.  Pete and I host the board and elder Christmas party and always love attending our whole staff Christmas party (which I wish I had room to host because that’s one of my favorite groups of folks).  As far as services go, the campus I attend hosts 3 Christmas Eve services… and the boys and I meet my husband to attend one together.

There are lots of little things that change in the month of December but I think if I had to narrow it down to one thing that really works best for us it would be the strict parameters we put on our calendar.  We focus on keeping our evenings as free as possible from activities that would divide up family members and really focus on getting in some great quality time together.  We can’t accept invitations to all the parties or attend every event.  And yes, that even means sometimes we’re turning down friends!  We work on keeping very clear boundaries throughout the year, but really tighten those boundaries even more during the Holidays. Our children will be out of the house before we know it and we’ll be able to hit every Holiday function… but until then we really want to make sure Team Wilson knows the true reason we’re celebrating and allow them to have some wonderful experiences to create memories for years to come!

So that’s what works for my family… we’d love to hear what tricks and traditions work for yours!

Love God, Love People…

Posted by Brandi Wilson

The topic at JustONE this week is Time and Balance.  If I were to make a list of struggles this one would probably not make my top five.  So imagine my surprise yesterday when I felt all 3 speakers cover the topic in such a way that resignated with me.

I took a full two and a half pages of notes.  My mind was reeling when I finished as I evaluated my life.  I’ll probably drag a couple of blog posts out of yesterdays topic but I think what I’m chewing on the most today was Kerri’s thought of “Simplicity.”

I’m all about simplicity.  I’m a fan of systems.  I like life organized.  I try to keep life uncluttered both physically and emotionally.

But being reminded that Jesus was a simplifier struck such a cord.  I think because “Love God, Love People” is what the Christian life boils down to.  It’s such a simple concept… yet, I’m always trying to complicate it… even when it boils down to managing my time and maintaining balance.

Wondering how to make an impact….. Love God, Love People

Trying to make a tough decision….. Love God, Love People

Struggling with your job….. Love God, Love People

Facing a trial with your family… Love God, Love People

Searching for your purpose in life… Love God, Love People

What was your greatest take away from JustONE yesterday?

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-39