Yesterday, I wrote about our six-month ministry review process and how insightful it was. One of the key aspects of our process was the list of priorities my team and I created for our ministry. This entry is really a continuation of an entry I wrote about called Priorities, Priorities.
As I shared in that previous entry, I did finally sit down with some of my team to evaluate our three columns:
- Brings greatest return (need to do)
- Brings good return (do if there is time)
- Brings no return (stop doing)
After sitting down and moving items from one column to another, we decided that there were some other steps that needed to happen to help make this list of priorities practical:
1. We needed to create some symbols that would help us determine what specifically we needed to do with that program or event. The symbols we created were simple:
- ^ = spend more time on it. These were items that we named really important and we needed to spend more energy on them. For instance, one item that I marked this way was to mentor and supervise my team.
- > = delegate to someone else. We discovered that there are some very important things that needed to get done, but did not need to be done by us. These are the things that we need to try and delegate. We decided that we needed to focus most on things only I could do. An example of something that we marked this way were some events that could easily be coordinated by another individual/volunteer.
- ∨ = spend less time on it. These were items that were typically important in some way, but we spent too much energy on it. So we had to slow down our efforts in this area.
- a = attend, but not serve on the planning team. There are some important events and programs that really only require our attendance. There is no planning that we need to do. We just need to show up.
- ! = stop doing completely. Simple: just stop doing these things. These were all the items that fell in the third column.
2. The second thing we needed to do was prioritize the items in each column. Basically, for column one (brings greatest return), from all those items, we needed to put the most important of the important at the top, followed by the second most important, etc. The reason we did this was simple: when push came to shove, we needed to be able to name specifically which were most important and could not stop doing versus things that could be stopped for a short time, even though they are important. This also allows us to recognize that when new projects or ideas come into the picture, we could easily see where they might fit within our priorities, and then drop things off the list that we just don’t have time for anymore.
Here is an example of my priorities within our ministry. I hope it serves as a good template for you.
Please share your thoughts about how you prioritize your work in ministry.