10 steps to strategizing your week

By Eric J. Thomas

Planning your week as a church planter can feel like walking through a minefield. There are all sorts of challenges and forces pulling you in multiple directions. It can feel like one misstep will lead to disaster. Family, work, friendships, and denominational commitments are just a few of the factors that contribute to this. As a former church planter, I know what it’s like to navigate this minefield.

Here are three landmines I identified and three questions that helped me strategize my week to navigate the minefield of church planting. These questions can be reviewed regularly to help you to plan your days, weeks, months, years.

Landmine #1: Identity

Strategy question: Who am I?

I once asked a successful church planter / pastor, “If you could go back and change one thing about your approach to church planting and your schedule, what would it be?” He said, “I would operate from a place of a secure identity in Christ. If I would have done that, I think I would have been a better son, husband, father, pastor, and friend.” Answering the question of “Who am I?” will help you to monitor if you are operating from a secure or insecure identity.

What will this secure identity enable you to do?

  • To say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.
  • To prioritize, rather than neglect, your relationship with God.
  • To love your wife and children well, even in the midst of planting a church.
  • To properly balance your work in ministry.
  • To maintain healthy relationships outside your home.
  • To know you are not more loved or less loved because of what you do.

Answering this question will set you up for success as you seek to strategize your week to please the Lord and love the people in your life that God has called you to lead.

Landmine #2: Schedule

Strategy question: What would make today’s schedule a win?

Several years ago, I began using a journal fairly regularly to help me to schedule out my day, week, month, and year. Each day, I ask myself three questions that help me answer this second strategy question more clearly.

  • What am I thankful for this morning? Starting out my day in the Word of God and in a posture of gratitude dramatically changed my perspective on my schedule.
  • What are today’s targets? This question is all about defining the win. What would make today a win? I try to limit my targets to no more than three things for a specific day. I have found that I step on the landmine of schedule by over-committing. This leads to over-commitment weekly. Try picking no more than three major targets in a given day. You will find your day becomes more strategic.
  • What are the lessons learned? This question is about identifying the areas needing improvement. Often we can go day-to-day and week-to-week doing the same things that don’t work. This question helps to define the win more effectively.

Answering these questions will help you to navigate the landmine field of schedule by prioritizing wins, planning with intentionality, and tracking your progress for improvement.

Landmine #3: Lone Ranger

Strategy question: Who can help me?

Early in our church planting journey, I did too much on my own. It’s very easy to step on the Lone Ranger landmine because we think we can get tasks/projects done faster and more effectively if we do them ourselves. Over time, the task list gets longer. Eventually you can’t keep up.

By answering the question about who can help you, you can avoid the Lone Ranger landmine, as well as the other two landmines. Think about the tasks/projects only you can do. Write a list of tasks/projects others could help you with, and begin delegating to help you avoid the Lone Ranger landmine.

Church planting can feel like navigating a minefield. With some intention and tenacity, you too can navigate the landmines of strategizing your week. Remember the goal isn’t simply survival, but thriving on the other side of the minefield.

Take some time to answer these three questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What would make today’s schedule a win?
  • Who can help me?

Published June 5, 2018

Eric J. Thomas