Timing Isn’t Everything–But It’s Important

Timing is one of the most underestimated factors in whether or not a leadership objective is successful–and how much energy it takes. Doing something when we have optimal energy may be more important than doing it quickly or when it’s most convenient for everyone.

Let me explain using this example…

For the first 15 years of ministry, I attended a weekly elders meeting on Wednesday evenings. Those meetings were on Wednesday night because the church already gathered for prayer, study and worship on those nights. We gathered after the church left that evening.

Some believed it was more convenient for our families to meet then. I never understood how. It forced families to travel in separate cars. Others didn’t want it to cut into the weekends. I understand that. But, if we’d met less often, I would guess most families would prefer one Saturday morning a month to four weeknights a month–and never traveling together to midweek services. The timing of our meetings wasn’t good.

In short, we met because we were already there. We didn’t meet because the matters of the church actually required our meeting every week. Once a month or every two weeks would have been sufficient. We certainly didn’t meet Wednesday nights at 8:30pm because we were all at the zenith of our energy and mental dexterity. We met then because we thought it was convenient.

It wasn’t.

Not only did we make poorer decisions from fatigue or the desire to get home because it was getting late, it set us back in our work weeks (we often wouldn’t get home until after 11pm), and heightened conflict because of fatigue.

I might also say the frequency of the meetings heightened our conflict. Why? Well, if you and your spouse decide to review the finances every night, you’re going to fight more. If you sit down once a month instead, you’ll likely have less conflict, and still be able to handle the finances quite well. We argued more because of the combination of fatigue and because we simply gave ourselves more opportunities to fight.

Timing isn’t just about when we do something, it’s about how often we do something. Does your weekly gathering need to be weekly? Perhaps so. Perhaps not. In most church systems, there is a lot of wasted energy–a lot of competing events and ministries–a lot of duplicated efforts.

Ask hard questions about the benefit of what it going on, when it’s going on, and how often it’s going on. Ask yourself questions about the timing of:

  • Your church gatherings.
  • Your staff meetings.
  • Your elders/board meetings.
  • Your service projects and outreach efforts.
  • Your small group gatherings.

Are they too frequent? Not frequent enough? How about the time slot? In our culture, timing may not be everything–but it’s important.

It’s vitally important for the effectiveness of your ministry.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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