My undergrad degree is industrial engineering. So, planning is second nature for me. As a busy pastor, I’ve found that I can never get adequate long-term planning done unless I carve out regular extended times away, by myself, away from the office. Here are a few tips I suggest.
- Schedule 3-4 personal planning times each year, preferable overnight in a place with no TV. I go to a local Christian encampment and I’m usually the only one there. Schedule those times well in advance of ministry seasons (ie Aug/Sept for the coming year plans)
- Keep a list of items you want to think about on your retreats. I have a list app on my iphone where I jot down ideas and thoughts I want to pursue later but don’t have time at the moment to think about.
- On the retreat, prioritize what you want to plan, starting with the most important. I’ve discovered I never get to everything, but I do get to the priorities.
- The first thing I do when I arrive (after prayer) is schedule my next retreat 3 months later. That way I know I have a block of time to work on the items I don’t get to in this one.
- Go expecting that God will guide this process.