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Where the Time Went

November 9, 2012

This is a different kind of post: a brief look at my week. Why, you ask? Well, I was thinking, it’s already November. Where does the time go? Here’s where mine went this week.


We successfully hosted our second ever church conference; as noted about 150 people, including our own ministry leaders and others from 31 different churches. I presented in the morning, and very briefly again at the end of the conference, but otherwise I spent the day in message preparation for the weekend.  That evening I spoke at the 5pm Mass. Afterwards I did something I rarely do at all, and never do on a Saturday: I went out to dinner. We are making remote preparations for a capital campaign program sometime in 2013 and have engaged a consultant to lead us through it. Anyway, he (George) was in town for the conference and to observe the weekend, so Tom, Maria, Chris and I took George out for Maryland Crab Cakes and a good discussion about the parish.


We got an extra hours sleep, and it could not have come on a better weekend. Mostly my Sunday mornings are all the same, speaking at Mass or waiting to speak at Mass as well as say Mass of course. I try and carefully guard my energy as it can be a very long day: most of us get here around 8am and most of us don’t leave until 7pm.  Plus, just being in large crowds, while energizing, can be draining eventually too. This particular weekend saw quite large crowds, not sure why. With many of the schools having Monday and Tuesday off, we actually expected numbers to dip, but they did not. I really enjoyed the message of “Rich” Week III, which seemed to be well received. Chris, my weekend nemesis, was particularly funny too. Usually on Sunday after Mass, Maria or someone from staff will take me on pastoral calls to visit the sick. But it didn’t happen this Sunday, ran out of time and energy.


We call Monday “Holy Hangover Day”…on Mondays my head hurts, my body aches, and I can’t believe I said what I said. I don’t do anything on Monday mornings. Really. I don’t even think. Monday lunch our staff gathers to share wins and celebrate the weekend that was. There was a lot to celebrate from the past weekend, that was for sure.

Also on Mondays, I have meetings with:

  • our creative team to review the weekend in a more critical and comprehensive way
  • my direct reports: Maria, Chris and Lucas
  • my own team: Tom and Kellie


Tuesday first thing I try and take care of any administrative stuff sitting on my desk. But as we have a director of operations, Sue, there is often not a lot of that to do. That being the case today, I got an opportunity to start digging into next Sunday’s message. I have lunch on Tuesday’s with our senior leadership team, which we call our Strategic Oval. This is where direction is set and decisions are made.  The group is simply comprised of the people who have been with me, full time, the longest (Tom 15 years, Maria 9, Chris 8, Lucas 7).

The rest of the day was devoted to message prep, until I left to go home and indulge my insatiable thirst for politics.


This is the day (if all goes according to plan) devoted to message study and prep. Since I had already gotten a start on Tuesday, it was easier going than usual. On Wednesday I always have lunch with one or more members of our full time staff.  This allows me to spend time with them in a more personal way and catch up on what they’re doing and how they’re doing, even though they are not necessarily direct reports. It also serves as a nice break for a day that is otherwise a long solitary exercise.


This is the day when our message team (Tom, Chris and I) meet. We view the previous week’s message, and critique it together. Then I present the coming week’s message and we critique that too.  We also spend some time in learning and study about the craft itself, as we try and continue to grow as speakers.  Thursday afternoon is going back to the coming weekend’s message, perhaps rewriting, depending on the morning’s comments, and generally trying to finish it off.  On Thursday, Tom and I try and have lunch with one or another of our parish leaders, to continue to hear from them, and allow them to provide counsel and wisdom to us. This Thursday evening I checked in with our Strategic Planning Team, who are trying to figure out what to do about our space needs. Some weeks Thursday evening might be other parish leadership teams meeting. Our high school ministry program also meets on Thursday evenings and from time to time I like to check in there too.


If I get done all that is needed by Friday, I usually try and treat this day as Sabbath. As I’ve already admitted, I am not good at taking time off. So for me the key is structure: a well-structured Sabbath would be: work-out, Starbucks and quiet time/prayer time (they go together nicely), time for writing and maybe lunch with a friend or family members.

That’s it. That’s where my time went this week.

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  1. I was at the Matters Conference…now I understand why the message is so strong and so consistent…many hours go into writing, re-writing, and writing some more. Looking forward to “Rebuilt”…

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