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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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has 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, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
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