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How to Prioritise Tasks in Ministry


How do you ensure you have the right priorities in ministry? Use your “yes” to prioritise the most important tasks you do each week.

Competing Calls on Your Time

As a Christian leader, it is likely  you have significant and competing calls on your time. You know your priorities. Based on Ephesians 4:11-13, I believe mine to be equipping my people for the work of ministry, chiefly through preaching and discipling. But amongst your priorities are other things you are expected to do, or at least feel that you’re expected to do. These could be things like setting tables and chairs for ministry groups, opening and closing the building for each activity taking place each week, changing the air fresheners in the toilets, take the banking to the bank each week, visit every member in hospital and all the shut-ins, build PowerPoint presentations for your worship services and many other things.

Being Ineffective

Don’t mishear me. We should not be above these things. But, if you do them all, then you cannot be effective. If you try to be everywhere, you’ll end up being nowhere as far as your real priorities go. Every chunk of time you give to a non-essential task leaves less time for your essential priorities. When you say “yes” to something, you are, by extension, saying “no” to something else. When it comes to your priorities in ministry, you must prioritise by saying “yes” to the right things.

How can you do this?

Manage People’s Expectations

The first thing to do is to manage people’s expectations. Make a strong statement about your priorities and then stick to them as much as you can. In my current appointment, I have tried to prioritise preaching and discipling, leading worship and pastoral care. I have had to remind people those are my priorities on occasions. Mostly, this is by saying “no” to tasks that do not fall within those priorities. I try not to handle money, for example. Where we have ministry leaders in post, I try to leave them to make decisions concerning their area of ministry and leave them with that responsibility.

Equip Others

Part of the problem of setting the right priorities in ministry, is that the tasks you say “no” to still need doing. This is where you need to equip others to do them instead. You need to decide what can be delegated, and if necessary, support and equip people to do these tasks. This may take more time to begin with (it’s often more time-consuming to teach someone to do something than doing it yourself) but it will be worth it in the end. Ensure that your congregation know what their spiritual gifts are and encourage them to use them and then begin delegating non-essential tasks to them.

Make a Stop Doing List

To begin prioritising your yes and ensuring you are focusing on the right priorities in ministry, make a stop doing list. List everything you need to say “no” to and then start saying it!

Priorities in Ministry

By saying “yes” to the right priorities in ministry you can be even more effective as a Christian leader. It will be hard work to begin with, but soon you will be focusing on the essential tasks that only you can do as a spiritual leader.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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Rob Westwood-Payne

Hi - I'm Rob. I'm married to Gail and we have a handsome, cheeky cocker spaniel called Harley. I am a Christian leader, pastor and preacher. I am a Salvation Army officer leading a congregation in the south of England. I am a leadership and discipleship blogger and daily devotional podcast host.