Three Items for the Most Important List You Will Make This Year

The second law of thermodynamics revolves around entropy, the principle that things move to disorder and chaos over time. Left alone, things do not become more orderly or more effective. Your once well-ordered garage digresses to clutter. No matter how much you attempt to wish it into existence, your garage will not get more clean and organized without your intervention.

In the same way, our calendars and organizations become more cluttered without intervention. Organizational entropy is currently happening unless you are actively fighting against it. For this reason, leaders are often encouraged to develop “stop doing” lists so they may transfer time and energy and resources to what is more important. Without a “stop doing” list, unnecessary tasks will remain on job profiles and unfruitful meetings will remain on calendars.

So what items should make a “stop doing” list? Here are three:

1. The Unnecessary (no one should be doing)

An unnecessary task is something no one should be doing. Not anymore. Think of scaffolding that is used to build a building. The scaffolding, though extremely important at one point in time, does not always remain. Sadly, some unnecessary work and systems can remain if leaders don’t regularly remove the unnecessary. Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” When you eliminate unnecessary work, you are able to reallocate energy and resources to what is most important.

2. The Redundant (someone else is doing)

A redundant task is a task someone else is already doing. There are necessary tasks that are often redundant, meaning, someone else is already handling them. Instead of two people doing the same thing, two people can focus on two different important actions and add more value to the mission of the team.

3. The Less Important (other things should be done instead)

The most difficult task to stop is the less important one so that something more important can receive more resources and time and thinking and organizational focus. It takes great focus and discipline to steal energy from the less important and devote it to the most important. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wisely said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

Because of entropy, a “stop doing” list is not a one-time exercise.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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