Think Time

05 Aug

In one of his lectures on leadership, Prof Hendricks made the statement that most, if not all, leaders are behind in their think time. GUILTY AS CHARGED!

While I publicly endorse the idea, and tell others they should schedule one or two planning days a year, I am doing well if I schedule one every two or three years. If confession is good for the soul, then I have to admit my last planning day was in the fall of 2013. I plan, yes, but I do it in 15 or 30 minute increments, not a full day devoted to it.

I came to the conclusion recently that I allowed myself to get too busy during the past couple of years. I was doing good things—preaching, teaching, managing, committees, activities, visiting, counseling—but I was not leading. I wasn’t putting my feet up and dreaming about the future, asking God what he wanted to do in and through me.

In the past, I learned that for me to take a planning day, I needed to get out of the office and out of my house. If I was in the office, I was caught up in meetings, appointments, and sermon prep. If I was at home, I was still working as well as distracted by house stuff. I did more thinking when I went to a park or a mall and walked and prayed.

On Thursday, I took a planning day and went to Stanley Park in Westfield, MA. I can’t say I did much planning, but I walked and prayed and listened for 2+ hours. At this stage of my life and ministry, I have more questions than answers. So I prayed, asking God for wisdom and direction and then stayed quiet to hear him speak.


  • Are there areas where I need to grow?
  • Does my marriage need attention? How can I be a better husband? How can I encourage my wife?
  • How can I mentor and influence my kids now that they are adults and live a distance away?
  • Are there skills I need to develop or sharpen?
  • How can I be more fruitful and effective?
  • When should I consider retirement?


  • How long should I keep going and teaching?
  • How does the new law change what/how what we’re doing?
  • How can I best help equip the men and women I teach?

First Central

  • How can I mentor and encourage our staff?
  • How can I best prepare and equip Jack for full-time ministry?
  • How can I help our elders be more effective and fruitful in shepherding the congregation?
  • Who should I be investing in for the future?
  • How can I best help and encourage ____________?
  • How healthy is the congregation? What books/topics should I consider preaching to help meet their needs and help them grow?
  • How can we become more effective and fruitful in outreach and evangelism?

Since my list got longer as the day went on, I best not wait another three years to contemplate and seek the answers.



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