by Charlie Lyons
Without a doubt, something that must be maintained in an ongoing manner is the delicate task of balancing your time.
Prior to my wife and I getting married, we engaged in something called “pre-marital counseling.” This was a weekly activity (for several weeks) in which she and I met with her pastor and his wife. During each session, Pastor Steve and Christa systematically reviewed various aspects of marriage and family life.
As Lindsey and I would be diving right into full-time Christian ministry following our wedding, a major focus in these sessions was how to balance our time amid the busyness of ministry and church life. Being in full-time ministry themselves, Pastor Steve and Christa offered a formula that had been of great help to them. Regardless of full-time ministry or not, there is overwhelming Scriptural evidence pointing to the importance of rhythm in life for every individual, particularly in the pages of Proverbs.
The basic idea is to break down your week into blocks. Take a look:
• There are 21 blocks of time in any given week: 1 morning, 1 afternoon, and 1 evening for each of the 7 days (3 blocks per day x 7 days = 21 blocks)
• The average person generally has 10 blocks set aside for work or home-making (let’s say, 5 mornings and 5 afternoons)
• For people of faith, there are typically 2 blocks set aside for corporate worship, usually Sunday morning and evening church services or another evening for small group
• I add another block (to bring me to three) for church activities or meetings that I must attend by virtue of my pastoral role and try not to “work” more than 13 of the 21 blocks.
A few general rules I engage (to which, as a pastor, there are obvious exceptions):
• With a young family at home, I endeavor to never be out of the home for more than two consecutive evening blocks. As my little boy understands more and more of the life lessons his mom and I are teaching him, bedtime with him has become to me almost sacramental (small ‘s’).
There are often times I have to miss putting him to bed, and that’s to be expected, but I’ve found that missing two in a row is generally avoidable, if I plan for it.
• I attempt to limit the number of consecutive blocks away from home to five. For example, if I’m in the church office Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening and then again Wednesday morning and afternoon, I can pretty much guarantee you I’m at home on Wednesday evening. Again, with a young family, not to mention the critical importance of re-connect time with Lindsey (who is, of course, at home with our young family for those five consecutive blocks without me), any longer than this is just not conducive to overall life strategy.
• Lastly, I believe in the Biblical principle of twenty-four hour Sabbath rest so the Thursday evening block through to the Saturday morning block (inclusive) are generally set aside as family-only time. With the reality of Sunday morning pastoral/preaching ministry in my life, allowing for time on Saturday afternoon or evening to review and rehearse my sermon is of the utmost importance.
If you’ve been looking for help in making time for the important things of life, I hope this helps.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
(Adapted from “Balance Your Time by Breaking down Your Week into Blocks” originally published at www.charlielyons.ca on 5/6/13. Used with permission.)