We all live in a time crunch. In the church world, we have to finish on time, every time. I want to respect people’s time, so my ability to finish when I say I’m going to finish is a reflection on me. And I know that ultimately if I cannot end when I’m supposed to end, people will stop participating.
I’m still not a master of program and event time management, but I’ve found two things that have helped me be more mindful of our end time.
- Prepare before. One of the places where I find it easiest to lose track of time is while I’m teaching/preaching. I love teaching, so time flies for me. But at some point a 75 minute message just isn’t going to cut it. So that’s where my preparation plays the most significant role. The more time I put into preparing and arranging my thoughts, planning illustrations and examples, the more I’m able to manage the time crunch. The same is true of games. If I prepare/practice a game or activity beforehand, I have a better sense of how it will go. Again, I’m not as good at this as I should be, but I’m working on it.
- Start on time. This may seem like a “no duh” statement, but is it really? If I have 60 minutes with a group of kids and start 5 minutes late, guess what? I no longer have 60 minutes, I have 55. Starting on time literally saves time.
Why does this matter? Because ultimately, how we start matters. I hosted a meeting a few weeks back and I totally fumbled the beginning, starting late, not being prepared. The result was an okay meeting, but one that went too long. When we reign in the start, we allow ourselves to set the pace for what our time together is going to look like.
What about you, in your experience, what’s the biggest cause of perpetual tardiness? What area do you have to intentionally reign in to help you build credibility with your word? What struggles do you face in this area?