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Using Digital Tools to Improve Productivity for Leaders


digital productivity

This article originally appeared on Digging into Digital on Notion.

The challenges of having less time

I think that one of the significant issues that church and ministry leaders have is making the best use of time. As a leader myself, it may seem like there's not enough time to do all the things that that we are passionate about or that we believe are God-given initiatives. In our current climate, we are being confronted with so much uncertainty, which often requires more from us in terms of leadership, and how we work to be an answer to varying needs. Therefore, we’re applying more effort and energy, and yet having to manage the same 24 hours in a day. Obviously, as Spirit-led leaders, we want, and should want to operate supernaturally. However, on a daily basis, the common experience may be that things become quite blurry, so we may not know where we may actually just be overreaching, doing too much, or pressuring ourselves to get things done in an unreasonable fashion.

Assessing ministry activity

Let’s talk about unreasonable functioning in leadership that we can all end up sliding into.

Many of us are using technology to our advantage, which I think is a good thing. What can be counter productive is if we are not learning how to use it effectively, or if we continue in unreasonable patterns of functioning. Sometimes tech can have us multitasking unsuccessfully because our mindset about how to lead may not have changed with the tech upgrade. We do need to take the time to stop and to ask ourselves if our current form of leadership is still effective or even if it is applicable for the times that we're in. It is good to be able to pause (just for 30 mins in your day!) to assess church or ministry activities. If we find that there are more significant things that need attention, or areas to maximise capacity, it may mean that the current method of ministry operations needs to be reviewed.

As a Ieader, I absolutely love exploring digital tools, and have my own ‘tech stack’ to help me work more effectively, and to be more strategic with my time. One thing I do enjoy, although it is sometimes very confronting, is setting up digital tools to help me to see clearly the different things I’m doing or involved in. This causes me to be more scrutinous about my schedule, and if I’m being realistic about what I want to accomplish. Using digital tools as a productivity aid allows me to see the level of energy or time that certain tasks require before I can think about taking on anything else. I think this approach contributes to the quality of being an effective leader. The world around us is relying more on the digital space for accessing essential services such as banking, paying bills and ordering food. I’d like to suggest that for us as church and ministry leaders, that we should also be looking to utilise digital tools so that we can make better use of our time. It will help us to be more mindful of when we may be taking on too much, even to the point of being able to identify the onset of potential burnout.

Using Notion to save time

One of my favourite digital tools is Notion. One main area that it works well for our church leadership is when we are having leadership meetings. It saves so much time! If I'm having a team meeting, we no longer type up notes into a Word document, to then attach to an email so that all can review and see their actions. With Notion, our leaders all have access to the same Notion space so that we can see the meeting notes and actions straightaway. So there is no wait time for someone to type up everything and then having to email. We like it because we can see straight away what's going on, and we can communicate more efficiently by commenting and managing an action table to show progress with assigned tasks. Sweet! 👌🏾

I have also used it for tracking progress for one-to-one discipleship sessions. It’s been a good solution for engaging with believers who are new to the faith or to create content for those who need encouragement about specific matters. Notion is a note-taking app, but it is quite versatile and has lots of design options. I’ve used it to create a discipleship template about biblical topics that are being explored. I can then provide access to the person being discipled to participate on Notion by adding their thoughts or comments in real time. It’s also been good for other ‘life areas’ such as goal setting and and storing useful Christian resources. I find it an invaluable tool to use for ministry purposes. I also love the fact that when using it, I'm not only imparting spiritual principles, but I’m also helping the disciple learn a new skill and become more digitally literate. Notion is used by some major companies across the globe, which means that it can be useful in the areas of work and business. A few years ago, I even developed and facilitated a 3-month business program all within Notion!

The value of digital tools for leadership

Psalm 90:12 is a great base to apply to our lives about the importance of taking stock of time, and how we spend it. There are also numerous places in the Bible that refer to the importance of being good stewards of our resources. As leaders, we must bear in mind that one of our most precious resources is time. I’d like to suggest that it is well worth Christian leaders to make room to evaluate if time is being spent well within ministry endeavours, and if there are options to do things differently. This could be a simple exercise of exploration around ideas to do things in a more time-efficient manner. In some faith corners, Christians are known to say that ‘God is doing a new thing’, but we can often miss the practical application. Perhaps God may be leading some of us to become more familiar with digital tools that will aid ministry activity, develop engaging discipleship and more. There are many other digital tools besides Notion that can be useful. It’s just a matter of being open to explore and learn.

As leaders, I don't think that we ever stop growing. We are subject to so many experiences and insights on our leadership journey, especially as we seek to serve those that we work alongside with and those that we are leading. From my own experience, taking the opportunity to review how ministry activities can become more time effective does lead to maximised energy and even the restoration of focus and drive in ministry. Digital tools like Notion are just an productivity aid but can also prove to be a good and viable solution for effective Christian leadership.


What do you think?  Share your ideas below or on social media.

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About Author

Vernette John-Joiles
Vernette John-Joiles

Vernette John-Joiles is a digital consultant and business owner. She is married to her husband, Darren. They are based in the UK, and established Kingdom Life Movement (KLM), a church with a strong discipleship focus. Vernette serves at KLM as Pastor and Tech Admin, and has over 17 years of ministry and leadership experience in various church settings. She has been recognised for her work and expertise, including being named as a Digital Women Award Finalist 2023 and winner of the Baton 'Services to Education' Award Winner 2021. Vernette enjoys teaching and training about digital and tech. When she’s not behind her laptop, she’s working on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through weightlifting and strength training. Vernette was once called a ‘digitally-enhanced female’… and she proudly wears the moniker!

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