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image courtesy of Tatianatatiana |

Most people who work in a church setting wear several different “hats.”  Many of these hats require duties that are repeated weekly.  The more efficient we can be with these tasks, the more we can move forward to other priorities.

It may be preparing the order of service for Sunday’s music or looking through your Sunday school roster to see who you’ve missed.  It may be varied “to-do’s” over a range of several different ministry areas.  But sometimes, the thousands of necessary tasks can overwhelm us.

For instance, at my church, I oversee some office work, the music ministry, and the college and career ministry.  I love what I do!

There are parts of my responsibilities that change from week to week, but other parts that are a part of every week.

For the first years in my office duties, I tried to either accomplish my weekly tasks from memory or sporadically write them down for that day or the rest of the week.

The problem with that was:

  1. My memory is faulty
  2. This method provides no consistency.

It finally occurred to me that I could be more efficient.

What did I use to solve this problem?

Drumroll please………..

A weekly checklist.

Ok, so you were expecting something profound.

I have created one of these documents for my office duties.  It has proven to be an immense help in moving me through these duties quickly and efficiently.

Here are the benefits I’ve found from this document:

  1. It provides focus. When I have a checklist in front of me, my mind can relax from remembering what I have to do and focus on the doing of the task.  This function is one of the main points of David Allen’s system in Getting Things Done.  When we put the task on paper, our brains are freed from remembering what to do and can more effectively do the task.
  2. It provides flow. It helps me stay on track and simply move from one task to the next.  A weekly checklist is especially helpful when your weekly duties are a complex process.
  3. It functions as a holding place for thoughts.  When I am moving through the process and a task occurs to me that needs to be done later in the process, I write it down on the list so that I come to it at the proper time.  The more involved the area of ministry, the more you need a reference point for your work.
  4. It provides boundaries for my work.  It gives me the sense that the “have-to-get-dones” are done.   I can then confidently put that work away and move on to other work.
  5. It provides a training tool.  Let’s face it.  None of us are indispensable, and we never know when God may move us to another role in the church we serve.  As much as possible, we need to provide for the efficient transfer of duties to those who follow us.
  6. It allows for flexibility.  If I have to set the work aside, I can come back to it later.
  7. It provides consistency.  Every week, your list is there.  It doesn’t have to be recreated.  It doesn’t have to be re-written.  It simply has to be pulled out and the work can begin
  8. It is fool-proof (well, to an extent).  If it needs to be done, it’s on the sheet.  The paper (or device) remembers the tasks better than I can.

It may seem overly simple, but simple works.

Action: Start a checklist that you can refer to weekly and that contains the tasks you are responsible for.

In my next post, I will share the method I used for developing a simple and useful weekly ministry checklist.

How have you found checklists useful?