Still Working on Your Sermon Saturday Night?
Many of the pastors that I interact with are frustrated that they are working on their sermons well into the weekend. If this is you, consider applying the following principles to help you recapture your Saturdays.
1. Set aside an hour on Friday to plan your schedule for the following week.
One wise practice for keeping a sane schedule is to actually plan your schedule in advance. By planning on Friday for the coming week, you are less likely to have your schedule hijacked and are more likely to accomplish your highest priorities. For most pastors, I recommend three, four-hour morning time blocks for sermon preparation. This might look something like Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 8-12. I have previously written a post that outlines the principle of thinking in the morning and talking in the afternoons.
2. Calendar specific times for meetings that work for you.
Even after carefully following the advice above, you still have people that you need to meet with. In order to keep from doing meetings around everyone’s schedule but yours, decide what meeting times best work for you and calendar them weekly. Meeting when everyone else is available without considering what works best in your schedule is a formula for sermon-prep Saturdays. Each Friday as you plan your coming week you can look at who you need to meet with and suggest times that will work for you. You don’t have to be an inflexible legalist in implementing this, but it will at least allow you to have some say-so over your schedule. For more on this, read "How to Take Control of Your Crazy Schedule."
3. Never agree on a Sunday morning to a meeting for the coming week.
Often a person will approach a pastor on a Sunday morning and say something like, “We should get together for coffee!” You happily say, “Sure, what works for you?” They say, “Tuesday morning at 10 works for me.” And in the moment you happily agree. On Monday morning you realize what a bad idea this actually was. By agreeing to this meeting you have just given away the sermon prep that you were going to do in your Tuesday morning time block. When you are asked on a Sunday morning to commit to a meeting remember:
- You are not in your right mind on Sunday morning.
- The person that approached you may not even want to meet with you, but doesn’t know what else to say when they see you.
A person approaches you on Sunday morning and says “We should get together for coffee!” Respond by saying, “That sounds like a good idea. Can you send me an email sometime this week?” What I have found is that about half of the people who say they want to get together don’t really want to get together, but don’t know what else to say when they see you. Others will never actually send you the email. If a person does send you an email, you can respond when you are sane, assess the priority of the meeting, and then plug it into one of your meeting times for next week. By following this process, you will avoid meetings that are unimportant, make sure that you keep control of your schedule, save yourself several hours per week, and avoid sermon prep Saturdays.
What would you add to this? Feel free to comment!