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How to Audit Your Ministry Calendar

One of the worst things I have ever gone through was an audit by the IRS. Yikes!! There is one little problem that raises a red flag, and then it is game on. You would think the IRS would simply say, “Hey, I notice there is a discrepancy here, can you explain it?” Then you say, “Totally, look here.” And that is the end of the story. Instead, the IRS notices a discrepancy and then proceeds to pull back every deep and dark corner of your finances. It’s the worst!

In a similar way, I have noticed that there is a discrepancy in my work hours. I have a job description, and I have what I actually do. The longer I am at my job, the distance between these two things has gotten further and further away. And now I am at the point where I am entrenched and very full.

Because I am entrenched, I can no longer go to my supervisor and say, “Hey, I am doing way too much and most of it is outside my job description. I am learning to say no, so from now on, NO!” That is a great way to get a lot of free time as you enjoy unemployment.

The tack that I am trying is to make a true audit of my time and my tasks at work. What tasks do I do? What ministries am I responsible for? Whom am I meeting with? What am I doing every 15 minutes while I am at work? What things have creeped in that are not even in the realm of my responsibilities?

How do you do a calendar audit:

It is actually really simple. But it requires something that is next to impossible: honesty. If you are anything like me, you think you are pretty important and everything you do is with purpose and has high value. But when you lay it all out, as I  have done, you will quickly see that this is not the case.

OK, here is what you do:

  1. Start making a list of everything you do that is part of your job. Take a look at your job description, think back to the last month, and write down meetings, programs, everything that you do for “ministry.”
  2. Then, for the next two weeks, write down everything you actually do!
  3. Include a calendar for every 15 minutes (I do every hour, because I can’t face the truth of how much time I waste), and see how you are using your time. Time for driving, meetings, Facebook, blogging, sermon prep, more Facebook, etc.

In two weeks, you will have some incredible data. You will have your idealized version of your job and what you actually do. Now, based on the reality of how you use your time, you can begin to cut waste, be more intentional with your meetings and manage your time much better.

The truth is … 

One week in and I can already see how much time I waste and how many “meetings” I have because they somehow fit into a category of “ministry.” I am responsible for too many things to simply have “meetings.” If they fit within the world of my responsibilities, then they are part of my work life. If the friendships happen to be with people from church, then those need to be on my time.

The truth is, there are plenty of hours to accomplish all that I am responsible for, I have just put too much of my own hobbies and friendships into my work calendar.

With the decks cleared, I am fired up to work harder and smarter so that I can be the youth worker and pastor God has called me to be here at Marin Covenant Church.

For the sake of your soul and for the sake of the church, are you willing to pull the curtain back and expose what you do and how you actually do it?  

weekly schedule