Practical Help, part 6 – my Free Time (Told you I’d get to that)

Some of you who are ministers will immediately ask, “What is Free Time?” That’s a very good question, but honestly, free time is, for me, something I almost have to plan into my schedule. If I don’t plan some free time in to my normal schedule, some things would never get done.

First of all, here are some of the things I do with free time. I subscribe to a plethora of music services. These services are mostly for choir anthems, but some are for other ensembles, and some are for new worship music. These “preview packs” normally come in this big packet about the size of a small to medium pizza box. Included in those packets are numerous individual anthems, song books, collections, and various sundry of fliers about special promotions and sales. I usually get one or two of those every other month or so.

The problem with this is that it’s like using a shotgun to kill a flea. I have to wade through all of those pieces to find, on average, one or two usable things in each box. That just simply is time consuming and there is no way around it.

I will also use free time to dream big. I think about projects that are a year or more away. For example, I usually know by June or so what we’re going to be doing for Christmas (the staff joke about that all the time). I don’t come to that by accident. It is several months of peering through all those preview packs and thinking about the possibilities, hindrances, and alternatives. The big picture is usually gotten to at least 6 months before a production takes place…on average. Dreaming takes time. You’ve got to find time to do this.

I use free time to talk with people about various things. I’ll chat with other staff pastors about ideas of ministry. I might have a phone conversation with a former associate about different things. I’ll sometimes call people within my ministry to catch up (a little more personal than the more often email).

Sometimes I’ll just sit at the piano or grab my guitar and start playing a few chords to see if God blesses me with a new song. This is a great use of time. What better way for God to speak to a musician than through music? I came to my version of Psalm 63 and the rewriting of “I Surrender All” by taking these times to just sit and listen.

You can see the plethora of possibilities that free time can encompass.

Secondly, why free time is important. These things aren’t a part of normal, every day music ministry. But they are things that are a part of the overall job. Whenever you run across even just a few moments, take them, enjoy them, use them to bring glory to God.

God Bless.

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