I use a lot of templates. I use them for meeting agendas, personal notes, email, and a number of other things.

Admitting my use of templates means that I likely just received a nod of approval from productivity geeks and a scornful stare from the priestly bunch (Yep, I know you are there.). I get that, but want to explain.

I use templates because a number of items come up again and again in my ministry. We are not a large church, but I still see a lot of repetition. Among these items are:

  • Requests for mission funding
  • Thank you notes for volunteers
  • Thank you notes for donors

From a productivity standpoint, it doesn’t make sense that each of these items be dealt with as a standalone task. Spending the time to write one solid message that can then be flexed to each instance just makes sense.

Yet from a personal and spiritual standpoint, there is something lacking if I’m simply throwing a name into a form letter. I would hate for this to be the feel of my life of loving and serving people.

I want people to know that I love them and am for them as they pursue holiness and happiness in Christ.

Productive or Pastoral?

By answering the question of whether I’ll be productive or pastoral with Both!, I have managed to increase my use of templates and also how and when I pray for people. Here’s how:

  • I pray every time I use a template for a task that has a pastoral element. I pray for the person I’m writing to.
  • My templates communicate that I am praying. I’ll write, “I am praying for you as I write, that your joy would be full in Christ.”

With this, my templates have not taken life from my communication. They have added it. Now I’m more prayerful than ever and those I’m serving are being prayed for more than ever.

Templates are helping me to be a more productive pastor and a more priestly one.