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Ministers using GTD?

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  • Ministers using GTD?

    I'm curious if there are any lurking pastors/ministers making use of GTD in their churches/parishes? If so, how are you implementing it?


  • #2
    Ministers and GTD


    Not a Rev. or a Dr., but I am on the administrative staff for our church as well as the "head worship guy" and "official geek". (Crazy sounding, I know ... and we're Baptists, so it's even nuttier than it seems!)

    How has GTD impacted my ministry?

    Well, the biggest impact has been being able to finally see all of my agreements in one system. As you know, people can be easily hurt/offended/put off by a minister who says he will do something and then never delivers.

    That doesn't happen anymore.

    Have I had to renegotiate agreements? Sure. Have I missed opportunities on some time sensitive issues? Yep. But I knew what I needed to renegotiate. I know which balls I was dropping and which I was choosing to catch. Even the simple act of asking forgiveness for not "Fill-in-the-blank" is 1000 times better than just plain forgetting.

    Additionally, GTD has helped build a framework to appropriately think about and address all of the little and big things that ministry entails. As much as we need to be high altitude thinkers, focusing on the big picture long range strategy stuff, we still have phone calls to return, announcements to make, talks to plan and so on.

    How has it worked out for you?


    • #3
      Re: Ministers using GTD?

      Just realized I never answered the "How" question...

      I tried digital, but have settled on a standard 7 ring planner system as outlined by DA. Pretty Vanilla, except some of my checklists are more "churchy" I guess. (For example, the "Plan for Communion" list. Is someone setting up? Are elders lined up to serve? Do we need special music? etc.)

      Mostly, though -- straight off of David Allen's recommendations.


      Originally posted by ChrisH
      I'm curious if there are any lurking pastors/ministers
      making use of GTD in their churches/parishes? If so, how are you implementing it?



      • #4
        re: Ministers Using GTD


        I've only recently been applying the GTD principles in my church office and home. I have one filing cabinet A-Z for all my hard-copy reference mateirals and a separate filing cabinet for sermons. In the 2nd filing cabinet with the sermons, I also have included a file for each book of the Bible so that I can include materials as I come across them for future use.

        I've started using a hard-copy tickler file - and I've been using an electronic version as well making use of Outlook and my pocket pc.

        I've implemented David's Outlook principles (from his paper) to my use of Outlook and I synch that with my pocket pc which is using Pocket Informant. So, I have an electronic version of all my NAs, projects, someday/maybes, etc. I also have several additional "lists" or categories which pertain specifically to my ministry (e.g. @worship prep, @presbytery, @Dave (our senior pastor), etc).

        One of the biggest changes I've made has been the Inbox. It is taking some time to get the other people I work with to start using it rather than laying things on my desk. But, it has helped me greatly, in clearing a workspace on my desk.

        I have decided to maintain my hardcopy week at a glance calender. On this I put day/time specific things. For some reason, I just do better when I can see the whole week layed out. In the past I have used the calender on my pocket pc/Outlook. For now, I'm keeping the hardcopy calender. One other reason for me to keep this is that I carry with me in the calender zipper case several address directories and a pad of paper for meeting notes, etc. That gives me one additional capture tool (in addition to the pocket pc).

        What I've been lax on so far in my early implementation of GTD has been the weekly review....I know....I know, I REALLY need to do this every week. I'm working on it.

        My responsibilities at our church are broad and sometimes unwieldly - so GTD is helping me greatly to keep all the plates spinning as well as giving me the chance to look out at the horizon and see what other plates need to start spinning.



        • #5
          I'm a senior pastor with a staff of four. I've been having a blast with GTD. While usually on top of my game administratively, the principles and practces of GTD have made great inroads into my being able to relax about things and know that I've captured them and will get to them every 5-7 days at the outside. I'm really thankful for what David and the people at Davidco have taught me!


          • #6
            re: Ministers Using GTD

            Pastor D,

            Tell us how you've implemented the GTD principles - how do you make it work for you?



            • #7
              I pretty much have taken alot of what I've read in GTD and Ready for Anything and implemented it. I was a die-hard paper planner guy for years, but made the swtitch to a Pocket PC and can't go back now. I use Pocket Informant as my PIM manager for the ability it gives me to have all 400+ Tasks listed and viewed by category.

              My Tasks Categories are: !Daily Disciplines, @NextActions, @Agenda, @Calls, @Emails, @Errands, @Financial, @GrahmFestival, @Home, @Council, @Pastoral Staff, @People Ministry, @Productive Procrastination, @Projects, @Waiting for, Area of Focus, Capital Campaign, Checklist, District, Reading, Someday/Maybe, Stats, Sunday, Weekly Review.

              I now only use my calendar for hard appointments. All else goes in my Task list.

              I like the Inbox teaching, too. I have four file trays on my desk now and use them to cature expense receipts, papers, magazine articles, just-preached sermons, To Be Read stuff, etc . I'm pretty faithful in doing the Weekly Review, too, and have added a category that reads:

              Pray Before You Begin
              “Is there really a time for everything, as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says? When I look at my weekly and monthly calendar of activities, I occasionally wonder. There are so many places to be, meetings to attend, jobs to do, and people to see that there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything! How, then, is it possible for me to accomplish every task that I need to do? I admit that at the beginning of each month my calendar looks doable. Many days and evenings are open to do some of my favourite things. But somehow by the end of that first week those empty spaces have filled up with all sorts of unexpected but urgent activities. Have you notice anything conspicuously missing from the two preceding paragraphs? Have I mentioned God anywhere? My problem is that I often don't include Him in my planning. I look at what I have to do, not at what God wants me to do in His power and for His glory. When God is the master of my plans, I know that there will be time for me to get things done in their "season." (Taken from God's Man © 2000 by Don M. Aycock.)

              This reminds me that it's all about HIM and not about my abilities to get it all done myself. We Type A's have to be careful with this, you all know!!!

              I used to throw all my stuff in the bottom drawer of my desk and then take 3-4 hours after everyone had gone home to sort it all out. Now it's done weekly-Sunday night or early Monday morning. It takes me about 2 hours to do a thorough review.

              There's lots more to dialogue about and I'll do so as time permits. But this is just bit of what I'm doing as I grow into the GTD system. Needless to say, it impacts eveything I'm doing in my ministry!



              • #8
                Anyone else around using GTD in your ministry?


                • #9
                  I'm not a minister, but I do volunteer extensively with a ministry.

                  GTD has been invaluable in this, in helping to keep all the balls in the air, so to speak. And also, capturing ideas and forcing myself to decide what they are and what to do with them - this has also seen great benefits.


                  • #10
                    Thinking about two questions ...

                    Pastor D,

                    I've been following this thread with interest. While I am not a pastor or minister by occupation, my wife and I are actively involved in the ministries of two churches and our local homeschool group. In addition, I mentor a homeschool robotics program.

                    I've found that principles of the GTD methodology bring clarity and focus to each of these situations. Perhaps the most important questions I have learned to ask, are "What are we trying to accomplish" or "What would that look like?" and, you guessed it, "What's the next action?" Whether planning topics at an elder meeting, planning for VBS or AWANA, or simply setting the agenda for a Sunday school class, I have found that these questions help a lot.

                    One more observation: I find that the theme of these questions can be used in Bible study as well. Take a book of the Bible and consider a promise or command. Using that as the outcome, try to identify the actions that were used or will be necessary to bring about that outcome. By the way, this same concept works in reverse, too...

                    The fun thing, for me, is to see how this type of thinking begins to "rub off" onto other people as I demonstrate it. In our home, for example, I do not "teach" GTD principles very often to my children, but I "model" them as much as I can.

                    As a senior pastor, you are in a position to do the same with your staff and your congregation.

                    In the mean time, thanks for your encouraging post.



                    • #11

                      Right on! I have introduced this to my staff and Council Elders and volunteer coordinators and have seen a marked improvement in our focus and ability to direct our energies. It works.

                      Thanks for the great ideas. I enjoy readying your blog regularly and have even emailed you under another name. Great job, Eric. God bless you and your family!



                      • #12
                        I am a Minister of Education and I find that I could not live without this system. There would be no way to handle the workload without something like this


                        • #13
                          GTD and Ministry

                          Continuing this tread: David writes about using Intuition and S.Covey writes about Connecting to Conscience. Are they talking about the same (but sensitive) subject? Asking God or seeking guidance from a divine source? Curiously seeking your thoughts


                          • #14
                            GTD and ministry

                            I've not implemented the GTD process yet, but should. I'm wavering between electronic (PDA) and paper (have for years used a Franklin system but have some dissatisfactions.

                            One of the things I am curious about for those of you in ministry is how you handle the large number of reference materials - especially theological and ministry-related - that you print out to read, see in magazines, etc. Is the reference file system that David Allen recommends working for you, and if not, what are the alternatives that you have?


                            • #15
                              I put most of my digital reference materials into my Pocket PC using Textmaker, a super program that's a lot better than the standard Pocket WORD. I file the hard copies in a system I've used since 1982 - The Baker Textual and Topical Reference System. I've been adding to this for years and find it to be easy to reference my materials when I'm researching for sermons, presentations, articles, etc.

                              I'd encourage you to go digital and enjoy the many benefits of using a PDA. You'll wonder how you did without it!