Close the Gap

The previous exercises helped you evaluate your time, identify your objectives and identify who you need on your dream discipleship team. In the process, you also identified additional activities you’d like to engage in or spend more time on to impact effective child discipleship. But with a schedule that is already full, how can you take on or increase your time doing one more thing? The answer is to increase your “relational compound interest.”

In this exercise we’ll help you make tweaks in your weekly schedule to compound the relational impact you have on your team and the children in your ministry. In other words, just like making small tweaks in your financial investments can help you compound interest, making small tweaks in the way you manage your time can help you compound the impact of your relational investments. And we all like getting more return for our effort, don’t we?

Relational Compound Interest: Incremental Growth Strategy

Step 1: Building Routine

Pull out the Gap Analysis Report you filled out in the second exercise and look at your notes that indicate areas of effective time spent. Then walk through the following questions, jotting down your observations.

-In which activities were you effective? Are there any routines you engage in at the start of those activities that lead to success and time well spent?
-Are there tweaks you could make to be even more effective?

For example, before you begin to engage in an activity, set a time limit to clear your desk and mind of anything that could distract you from achieving your objective. Even if you don’t think you have time to do this, set aside just five minutes. You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish in so little time and how much more focused you will be.

In the five minutes (or whatever amount of time you’ve set aside), take care of any emails, texts, notes left on your office desk or other things that are vying for your attention. After doing that, turn off all your notifications. Shut your office door, silence your phone and only let your emergency contacts or kids’ school contact you. Now set a timer for an hour, and get to work on your activity!

Step 2: Calendar Blocking

There’s an adage, “Own your schedule or it will own you.” Do you believe it? Are you a victim of the busyness or are you owning the time you have? If you find yourself in the former category (and we all find ourselves there depending on the season of life we are in), there’s hope — and it’s by intentionally blocking out your calendar on a week-to-week basis.

Do you pick your kids up from school every day? Block that time out on your calendar or schedule. Do you want to spend 30 minutes every morning catching up on email? Block it out.

Are you looking for 90 uninterrupted minutes to take inventory in the craft closet? Block it out.

So that you don’t have to think about blocking out the same activities week after week, go into your calendar app and set a recurring event for these activities that shows you are busy. By blocking out this time for your most important activities, not only will it help keep your mind focused on what you want to accomplish that day it will also let other people know when and whether you have time available for anything else.

If you want to create space in your calendar, let your calendar show you what space you have, and keep yourself on task. You’ve got this!

Step 3: Administrative Support

The question here is simple; Can someone else buy the goldish? 

When you worked through the exercise on building your dream team, you identified people who directly influence the discipleship of a child. You also named people who help you influence the discipleship of a child. Those are the people you can leverage to help you make the most of your time — and the very people who can provide you with margin to take on the activities only you can do.

While most of us don’t have budgets to hire an admin, it just means a bit of creative efficiency is needed. For example, is someone else in the church running to the store? Can they grab the list of supplies you need? Is there a family looking for a service project who would be willing to organize the craft closet? Could you ask someone to wipe down all the furniture on the next church cleanup day? While these are all tasks you manage, they don’t have to be tasks you execute yourself.


Small Tweaks = % Increase in Relational Investment
Once you’ve initiated these three tweaks and freed up space in your weekly routine, you’ll have the opportunity to implement the activities that compound the relational impact you’ve been desiring. Bottom line: small tweaks made incrementally over time = a greater return on effort. But what does that look like practically?

Step 4: Putting Relational Compound Interest to Work for You

In the Gap Analysis Exercise, you identified a specific amount of time you wish to spend each week on the four categories of impact that lead to lasting faith — building relationships, prayer, discipleship/mentoring, equipping parents. Copy that amount of time into the space below.


Now, consider how much you could increase that amount of time. Let’s assume you want to spend 3 hours per week in activities that equip parents. How much more time per week could you invest in your activity if you made a few tweaks to open up space on your schedule? Could you increase that time by 5% (9 minutes) or more?

Answer this question for each category of impact and write it in the allotted space, below. Ask yourself this same question every day. I mean it; EVERY DAY.

Over time, the results of increasing your time by 1% on a daily basis will add up, and you’ll see a significant difference in how you were spending your time versus how you are spending your time now.