All pastors have more work to do than time to do it. Until Jesus comes back, there will always be more ministry to do.
You could always do more…
- sermon prep
- phone calls
- hospital visits
- Bible studies
- plus a hundred other things.
You will always have more work to do than time to do it. But there is good news.
First, you need to rest in knowing that God will use your imperfect efforts to accomplish his perfect mission.
Second, you don’t have to recreate the wheel every week. There are awesome, ministry-minded people who create excellent resources to serve the church and free you up to do more of what matters.
So here are five resources that smart pastors use to free up more time for ministry.
1. Bible Study Tools
Whether preparing for a sermon or a Bible study, smart pastors use powerful Bible study tools to help.
They use resources like study Bibles, commentaries, multiple Bible translations, the original Greek or Hebrew text, and more.
Not long ago, a pastor needed a huge library of heavy and expensive books to get all of this done. Today, there are computer programs like Logos or Accordance to keep a library of hundreds—even thousands—of books with you at all times for easy research.
Quality research used to take hours thumbing through dozens of books to find what you needed. Today I have over 2,000 books in my pocket that I can search in seconds. Smart pastors take advantage of this technology.
2. A Preaching Calendar
Planning your sermons in advance saves time and minimizes the stress of trying to figure out what to talk about every week.
I highly recommend that all pastors have an annual preaching calendar. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but planning your topics and scripture passages ahead of time is game-changing if you have been flying by the seat of your pants.
You could spend a lot of time creating your own from scratch. You could follow a lectionary like some pastors do. Or you could easily adapt a quality sermon calendar that others have spent hours building for you.
Smart pastors save time by taking advantage of the resources that others have created to help them get ahead.
3. Sermon Graphics
We live in the digital age, which is also the visual age. When it comes to social media, the church website, projector screens, and even the bulletins, quality images to announce your sermon series have never been more critical.
These images are often the first thing potential guests see when deciding whether or not to visit your church. Like it or not, they will judge the quality of the images as a reflection of the quality of your church before they ever attend.
Like most pastors, you probably didn’t go to school for graphic design. So please don’t waste your precious time creating mediocre graphics.
The good news today is that you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to hire a graphic designer to get quality images.
Smart pastors take advantage of the many resources available to get professional quality graphics for their sermons at a fraction of the cost of hiring a designer.
No church today has an excuse for using poorly designed images.
4. Sermon Videos
Along the same lines as sermon graphics, sermon videos are also a valuable tool to provide another level of quality and excellence to your service.
These could be videos that play as an introduction to the sermon series while you get ready to preach. They could also be video illustrations that read a passage of Scripture or communicate a point in your sermon in a dramatic or humorous way.
I have found that using good videos in my preaching is an easy and powerful way to make a message more memorable and engaging.
But unless you went to film school, you shouldn’t waste hours to produce subpar videos. Smart pastors take advantage of the incredible selection of professionally created videos available to them.
More and more professionals are using their gifts to make videos for the church, and the quality of these videos continues to improve every year.
When you find the perfect video, it adds a whole new level of creativity to your sermon.
5. Sermon Illustrations
Jesus taught in parables. He told a lot of stories using the things of everyday life. You should too.
Smart pastors know that they can never have too many sermons illustrations at their disposal. They are constantly on the lookout for new illustrations to file away.
Back in the day, this often meant an elaborate paper filing system. Unfortunately, that took up more time than the average pastor could afford. But today, you can store all of your illustrations you find on your computer and even your phone.
Smart pastors use tools like Evernote, or even the standard notes app on their phone to easily collect any illustrations they find.
It could be stories they find in books, articles, magazines, listening to other pastors, their daily life, or anywhere else.
Once again, smart pastors don’t feel the need to find all of these on their own. They take advantage of the countless hours that others have spent collecting illustrations. There are a lot of great places to get sermon illustrations to help build up your database.
If you are already doing all of these, great. You are a step ahead of many pastors. But if you aren’t, the best time to get started is today.
The great news is that Ministry Pass provides many of these tools for you. You owe it to yourself and your ministry to give them a look.
So be a smart pastor. Take advantage of the great resources others have created and free up more time for more ministry.