17 Tips for Staying Productive In Ministry

By Rick Warren

The Post-It PrankPastors, we tend to share a lot throughout the year. Some of you are preparing two or three messages and presentations every week. When you repeat that process 52 times in a year, life gets exhausting. How do you stay motivated to keep going?

Let me share with you how I’ve managed to motivate myself. Here are seventeen things you can do to keep yourself motivated.

1. Put your plans on paper.

Write out what you want to accomplish. Spell it out. Dawson Trotman said, ”Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague.

A lot of us go around with anxiety which is this free-floating, vague fear that I’m not getting it all accomplished. Just the very fact of putting it down, a lot of times, gives credence and relief to your mind and you’re able to focus on it.

2. Break big tasks into small steps.

When I’m preparing a sermon, I think, “What do I have to do? I’ve got to collect the verses, study the verses, look for illustrations, think through quotes, organize the presentation.” Think through all the steps. Sermons don’t just fall out automatically. There are some logical things you have to go through.

3. Decide how you want to start

Ask yourself what needs to be done first.

4. Establish checkpoints and check your progress.

Set some deadlines. Write a date on each of the tasks.

5. Know the difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t want to.”

It was Ben Franklin who first said, “There’s no gain without pain.” The secret of success in one sentence: Successful people have developed the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t feel like doing.

6. Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the job.

Jesus did this. The Bible says in Hebrews, that Jesus endured the cross because He looked to the joy beyond it. He looked beyond the cross and saw the result of it.

7. Do a small part of it right now.

In other words, Get started. Do a small part of it right now. Don’t stall. Take it a bite at a time and give it five minutes.

8. Be optimistic.

I have found this to be so important in accomplishing large amounts of activities and projects and programs. Optimism creates energy.

9. Establish and action environment.

Clear everything else off your desk except for the task at hand.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.