Category Archives: Time Management

WHAT WORKS FOR ME IN… Choosing A GPS Navigational Device and Using It in Soul Winning & Ministry

WHAT WORKS FOR ME IN… Choosing A GPS Navigational Device and Using It in Soul Winning & Ministry 

I use a Garmin 320 GPS in my daily ministry.  People are very scattered in rural areas comprising my two church district.  Countless hours of fruitless searching are saved monthly with this practical device.  In town it takes me directly to homes without calling for directions and further loading up the prospective householder with time spent giving directions that could be used for other more productive activity.  It is also an indispensable tool especially when the church is engaged in public evangelism visitation.


UCC Pastor Daniel D. Knapp

Colville & Ione District Pastor

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME IN… Managing Email So It Doesn’t Take Over Your Life

Heidi Martella, WA Conf Communications Intern

“I’m not an expert in email management as I currently have 1,001 e-mails in my inbox (although I know it’s important). The best e-mail management tips I’ve heard are:

1)       Read it

2)       Reply to it

3)       File it (fast fact: 80 percent of what you file you will never look at again)

4)       Delete it

Here are three article links from discussing strategies for e-mail management and productivity.

Cleaning & Maintaining:

E-mail productivity: 

E-mail netiquette:

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Why Not Try This? …Outline Your 2007 Calendar Soon

There are far too many years in my life when I can’t really remember doing anything of significance. Those are usually the years I didn’t plan anything of significance!

Now is a great time to outline our plans for 2007. This includes putting dates in the calendar for major items.

Here is a visual picture someone shared with me that helps me tremendously as I plan each year- If you had a jar you wanted to fill with rocks, gravel, sand and water, your success would depend on which items you put in the jar first. If you started with the sand or gravel, you would never have room for the rocks later. But if you started with the rocks first and then added in the gravel, sand and water in that order you would have a great chance for success.

In the same way, as we outline our calendar for 2007, it is important to first put in the dates of the major events (“the rocks“), the ones that are integral to our identity and mission as Seventh-day Adventist pastors. For me this will include two harvest cycles, including reaping meetings and/or Global Mission trips (spring- Seattle area, fall- Boise or Vancouver area) and family vacations (two weeks in summer and two at Christmastime). I also include an intensive class or two from Andrews University Seminary to challenge me to keep on learning (Five days in May and/or November).

Next I put in other important events (“the gravel“) such as Pastors Meetings, other meetings I’m expected to attend, weeks of prayer, and, while pastoring a district, communion services and sermon series. Often my sermon series were one to three months long, and shared with elders or associate pastors, so I could schedule the entire year at once, whether I would be there every Sabbath or not.

Finally I add in the regular routines and planning (“the sand“) such as church board and business meetings and other committees, family days, personal & church outreach events, small groups I’m a part of, etc. The miscellaneous things in life (“the water“) just fill in the empty spaces and margins of my life as I enjoy each day.

Then as I live the year God has given me I look forward to the mountain top experiences as well as the simple memories with family, church family and those God is bringing into this great Adventist movement.

When we put the most important things in the calendar first, we are more likely to avoid distractions to our life purpose and mission. We also can avoid the human tendencies of over planning or under planning our lives.

Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.” {Education p. 262.1}

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME… In Organizing My Weekly Schedule

Roger Hernandez (, Senior Pastor, Hillsboro Spanish District (OR Conf) writes:

1. I give a copy of my schedule to my church and ask them to sign up to be visited. This shows them what I am doing when.

2. I divide my day into 3 parts– 8am-12noon, 1-4pm and 5-9pm. Two of those are for work and one for me (family etc). It may vary day to day, but it helps keep the day flowing.

3. I ask for input from my board concerning my weekly schedule.

Steve Leddy, Lead Pastor, 24-Seven Seventh-day Adventist Ministry Center (WA Conf) writes:

To say that I am not a naturally gifted organized person would be a gross understatement. Yet, to be effective as a pastor and to try to build each piece of a new church with a predominately untrained (at least in church leadership) laity like we have at 24-Seven Ministry Center, I had to overcome my disorganized nature.

I tried several techniques over the years but seemed to get frustrated and eventually gave up on each. I did the time tracking method but that took so much time doing the tracking it would interfere with what I supposed to be tracking. I tried listing everything I could think of that needed to be done each week but again it took a great deal of time listing the items, the list continually grew throughout the week, I caught myself gravitating to the tasks that were easier to complete, and I became discouraged because it seemed impossible to get all the items done.

Finally, I came up with a simple idea that really seems to work well. It consists of two parts: first, our leadership team determines quarterly what our two highest strategic initiatives (goals) are for the quarter. We then meet bi-monthly to tactically work through each initiative (create action plans). Second, each week both my Teaching Pastor, Matthew Gamble, and I create a “Top 3” list. This is a list of our three highest priorities for the week including a brief description of why this a top 3 priority, the steps needed and the estimated time it will take to complete the goal, and who will be my accountability partner to ensure I stay on task. At least one of these “Top 3” will be addressing a current strategic initiative. I never schedule more than 30 hours for these priorities because there are always other details demanding my attention as well as unforeseen issues to deal with. I can send you one if you e-mail me at

Then, each Monday Matthew and I get together to review how we did the previous week and to go over our new “Top 3s”. This has been a tremendous help in getting this disorganized pastor truly organized.

Matthew Gamble, Teaching Pastor, 24-Seven Seventh-day Adventist Ministry Center (WA Conf) adds:

Every week since January of this year, Pastor Steve Leddy (Lead Pastor @ 24-SEVEN Ministry Center) and I fill out a form that he created called our Top Three. On the form are three sections labeled Priority One, Priority Two and Priority Three. As we sit down individually to prepare the form, we consider what are the most urgent needs of this week? We filter this question by asking an additional one: “And how does this priority fit in with our churches priorities that have been identified by our leadership team (we call these strategic initiatives)?”

After discovering each top priority, the next line on the form asks “Why am I doing this?” This statement reminds us of the importance of the task at hand. Lastly we write down the steps that are required to complete the task and the estimated hours that it will take to complete it. Upon getting a rough estimate of how much time each priority is going to take, we then move to our calendars and schedule the time in.Every Monday when we meet we review our last weeks Top Three and share this weeks Top Three. This has proven to be a great way to keep each other accountable and more effective in the field as we are setting out each week with a clear cut plan of intentionality. I will be happy to send anyone the template that I use. Just shoot me an email to

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME…. Having special time with my wife or husband

Matthew Gamble, Teaching Pastor | Life Coach at 24/SEVEN Ministry Center Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Seattle metro area (WA Conf) wrote—

I know that it may seem cliché, but having a weekly date night has proven to be a rich blessing for my wife and me. Don’t think that this comes easy for us. My wife is a second year medical school student at the University of Washington, and I am working at a church plant. Sometimes the date night consists of a meal together and then we will go to study together, but at least we are together. Additionally we try to get away for a night or two for a retreat time together about twice a year. In November we went away to a friend’s cabin on Anderson Island for a night. While there we worked through a questionnaire to help us establish five year goals together. Just getting away from the rat race of the city for 24 hours and discussing life goals was a time that drew us closer. I LOVE SUSAN!!!!!”

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What’s your soul winning plan for 2006? Here’s a menu of ten ideas.

It’s still true- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Every paid pastor (in the field, the office or the classroom) needs a simple written soul winning plan every year, showing how he/she plans to be involved in the greatest work on earth- brining people to Jesus and active participation in the Seventh-day Adventist message, mission & fellowship. Every church, school & institution also needs a simple written soul winning plan. Reaping is an essential part of this plan. What’s your plan? What is the plan for your churches, your school, your institution? Here are some reaping options you might consider as you prayerfully plan with your church and school boards—

  1. Satellite Reaping. Many churches were involved in The Appearing last September and are having weekly Bible studies in preparation for the Shawn Boonstra satellite meetings March 10-April 8, 2006. See
  2. Pastor/Teacher. Preach your own series of meetings or teach a Revelation Seminar. Many pastors have preached a series or two every year of their ministry. Bill McClendon, pastor of the fastest growing English-speaking Seventh-day Adventist church in North America (Tulsa, OK) preaches at least five three-week evangelistic series in his church each year, in addition to lay evangelism and a guest evangelist. If you want to update your graphics check out It Is Written resources at or other Adventist artwork at
  3. Youth Preacher(s). Work with your youth leaders or academy Bible teachers to have young people preach a series of meetings. Pastor Skip Johnson ( (ID Conf) baptized ten this year from a youth-led evangelistic series that cost the church only $700!
  4. Lay Preacher. Recruit a lay person to preach a series of meetings. (See New Beginnings resources at
  5. Lay Preacher Team. Involve a team of your elders & other church leaders in preaching a series. Pastor John Wesslen at the Orchard church (OR Conf) did this.
  6. Baptismal Class for Students. Organize a weekly baptismal class for young people that begins right after the school week of prayer. Aaron Payne ( at Meadow Glade Adventist School (OR Conf) has done this. Pastor Troy Fitzgerald at the Walla Walla College church (Upper Columbia Conf) has written baptismal manuals for three age levels that are great for this. (See ChristWise Discipleship Guides available from Advent Source at
  7. Guest Evangelist. Work with you conference ministerial director to invite one of our NPUC evangelists (schedule-, an Amazing Facts evangelist or another evangelist.
  8. Pastor/evangelist. Invite one of your pastor friends to come stay with you and preach a series of meetings in your district.
  9. Conference/Union office staff member. Invite a staff member from your conference or union office to hold a series of meetings in your district. Sometimes they alternate preaching with the local pastor. Last year most conference staff in both the Washington & Montana Conference held evangelistic series and/or Revelation Seminars.
  10. Walla Walla College Professor or Ministerial Student. Those near our college might invite one of the professors or a ministerial student to have a short series of reaping meetings in their district.

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME… In Planning a Preaching Calendar

Dave Livermore, Pastor, Kelso-Longview, WA Adventist Church (Oregon Conf).

“I take a calendar that contains the whole year that I am scheduling. I mark in all the holidays first, those days such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day, our Church Anniversary Date, September 11th, etc, and of course the big ones, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Once those are marked down, then I plan series around those dates allowing one to two weeks in between the series. I find it helpful for myself to name the series before I’ve listed out the sermons.

I am currently in a series on the parables of Jesus, with summer vacations and Campmeeting our guest speakers are very happy to participate in the series too. In the Fall I am planning a series I’m calling “The Last Eye Witness.” I will be covering the epistles of John. A few series that I’ve found helpful in the past was a 12 week series on the Minor Prophets, called “Minor Prophets, Major Gripes.” A ten week series on the Ten Commandments. Doug has done a series on “Joshua” Biographical series are always interesting and many applications that can be drawn. Elijah, Moses, Samson, David are just a few that have been well received. I hope this is helpful.”

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Why Not Try This? …Fast From Something So You Can Do God’s Work More Effectively?

A few weeks ago all of us at the Oasis Christian Center Seventh-day Adventist Church (Vancouver, WA in the OR Conf.) were challenged to go without something for a week in spiritual preparation for evangelistic meetings in May. One of the church leaders invited us to ask God what we should give up so we could intensify our prayer and outreach.

I thought and prayed a lot about it. I love reading and keeping up on the news. So I was impressed to make a vow to the Lord for the week that went like this- “Before reading or watching any recreational media (books, magazines, TV, video, etc.) any day  

  1. Read 10 Bible chapters &   
  2. Exercise 2+ miles &  
  3. Spend one hour w/family (if in town)”

I must admit it wasn’t an easy thing to carry out but the rewards were tremendous. I had time to read magazines or watch the news only two nights out of the seven but every day I got a good dose of Bible, exercise and family.

Another part of the vow went like this- “Pray daily for the May reaping meetings, with another person if possible.” Early in the week our oldest son, Jacob, a freshman at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, TX, told me he was so busy at college he would often forget to read the Bible. He asked me if I would call him every day for the next few weeks to pray together and remind him to study the Bible. I jumped at the opportunity and saw this as God affirming my decision to find a prayer partner during the week.    

The following Sabbath there was a testimony time at church where people shared what God had done in their lives during the week of fasting and prayer. I was inspired by stories of prayer partnering, breaking free from caffeine and other addictions, a renewed focus on Bible study, and a new purpose in life, etc. Many said that they had started some habit patterns they wanted to continue.    

The true fast is no mere formal service. The Scripture describes the fast that God has chosen,–“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke;” to “draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul.” Isaiah 58:6, 10. Here is set forth the very spirit and character of the work of Christ. His whole life was a sacrifice of Himself for the saving of the world. Whether fasting in the wilderness of temptation or eating with the publicans at Matthew’s feast, He was giving His life for the redemption of the lost. Not in idle mourning, in mere bodily humiliation and multitudinous sacrifices, is the true spirit of devotion manifested, but it is shown in the surrender of self in willing service to God and man.” {Desire of Ages p. 278.2}

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Why Not Try This? …Make a Yearly Personal Growth Plan

A few days ago I typed out my yearly personal growth plan for 2005. It includes things I want to study during my quiet time with God every day (e.g. “Re-read the Old Testament in a new version”). It also includes a plan so I’m sure to have regular family time (e.g. “Family Day each week- Rotate who’s in charge” and “Vacations with family”). And last but not least are some “stretching experiences” (e.g. “Take an Andrews University extension course” and “Start Adventist work in our zip code with lay leadership”) Will I accomplish all my goals for 2005? Maybe not. But at least I know where I’m headed. If I plan for time with God, with family, and time in starting work in a new place I find I am far more likely to reflect the values I want in my life, my home and my ministry.

“It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help we are to form our opinions for ourselves as we are to answer for ourselves before God.” {The Great Controversy p. 598.2}

“Our question is to be, How can I best glorify Him whose I am by creation and redemption? With anxious solicitude the truly converted soul seeks to rescue those who are still in Satan’s power. The one aim and object of his life is the saving of souls. He refuses to do anything that would hinder him in this work. If he has children, he realizes that his work must begin in his own family. The souls of his children are exceedingly precious to Him. Remembering that they are the younger members of the Lord’s family, he strives with all his power to place them where they will stand on the Lord’s side. He has pledged himself to serve, honor, and obey Christ, and he puts forth patient, untiring efforts so to train his children that they will never be hostile to the Saviour.” {Pacific Union Recorder, October 9, 1902 par. 4}

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME… in Developing a Yearly Soul Winning Plan

Dave Livermore, Kelso-Longview, WA District (OR Conf.)

[In September Dave held a Pastors’ Leadership Retreat at his church. He and many of his church leaders shared what role they playing in ministry and soul winning. Here is a summary of some of the highlights. If you would like to take part in a future Leadership Retreat contact]

Each January I have a public evangelistic series in the church. All of our year round activities focus toward this reaping series. During the year we have “Big Events” (Christmas, Easter, 4th of July) to meet people, “Free Market Small Groups” to meet the needs of the members and community, and Worship Services (using inspiring music, drama, and PowerPoint) that touch the hearts of visitors and members.Recently (October 2004) we have hosted a Spanish reaping meeting with Ramon Canals from the NPUC. In advance we had Spanish classes for our members so we could welcome them into our congregation. But the interest is so large a new Spanish congregation will probably be planted as a result.

Donavan Kack, Libby, MT District (MT Conf.)[The town of Libby, MT has less than 2,500 people and a church that hadn’t grown noticeably for years. But during the last 12 months over 20 have been baptized. In October Pastor Donavon Kack was asked by Montana Conference President John Loor to present his experience to the Montana pastors. Here is a summary. Donavan’s e-mail address is

I cannot thank the Lord enough for what He has done here. I know that it was nothing short of His blessing that has brought such a bountiful harvest. I am desperate for the blessing of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In reality everything we did was to place ourselves where nothing would hinder God from pouring out such blessing that there would not be room enough to receive it. Anyhow, here is a brief outline of what happened. But to be honest … I didn’t have this outline until it had happened. It has been an exciting learning experience for me as well.

1) I realized my own desperate need for a wholehearted continual surrendera. It is always easier to see the churches need instead of my own.b. Got serious about a personal prayer life.

2) Set the house in ordera. “There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, to that the Lord can pour out His Spirit on a languishing church” 1SM p.124b. So I asked what things have come to my attention as being potential hindrances?1- Unfaithfulness in tithing?2- An unforgiving spirit? There were some difficult things that I had to address my leadership with. They responded very positively…much to my joy. And immediately I could sense the Lord begin to do something special.

3) The Word of God was made supremePreaching it, making it the answer to all our difficulties. Made Bible studies the major focus and priority. The focus was how can we find more people to study with. Obviously prayer drove that point deeper and as we prayed the Lord convicted two of our member to start a Discover Bible School. Others began giving Bible studies to their friends. Every service had testimonies from members about how their Bible studies were going…the enthusiasm grew. I began to hear more and more, “It can be done.”

4) We set some Big GoalsWe wanted to have over 30 Bible studies going every week. That goal caused us to work harder. Within a couple of months we had well over 30 Bible Studies. By this time the enthusiasm had become contagious… Between the Discover School and the Personal in-home Bible studies we had over 140 bible studies going.

5) We didn’t try to get the whole church working at the start [start small it will grow]It began with one member who wanted to learn how to give bible studies. He was willing to introduce me to his patients who had shown an interest in spiritual things. In a little over a week we had 12 bible studies going. I decided to use that approach with other of my members, they would introduce me to their friends and I would see how open they were to bible studies, amazingly the majority were. When the bible study started I had no problem with finding someone to commit to coming with me on the study. The member who introduced me became my Bible study partner and I used the opportunity to mentor them so that they could take over a successful study. (One that was going to advance to baptism) Before long there were over 10 members actively doing bible studies.

6) Be persistent, never give up. Psalm 126:5-6 “If we have the interest that John Knox had when he pleaded before God for Scotland, we will have success. He cried, “Give me Scotland, Lord, or I die.” And when we take hold of the work and wrestle with God, saying, “I must have souls; I will never give up the struggle,” we will find that God will look upon our efforts with favor.” Manuscript 14, 1887 [Also in the Great Controversy]

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