What is a Template?
A template is in its essence a structure that is used time and again to accomplish a specific purpose. You may have a template for your bulletin at church. Contained in the bulletin is a word from the pastor, events, important information, prayer requests, etc. This information is always in the same order, but the information changes. You may even call a schedule a template. It is a structure that you place in the 168 hours that God has given to make the greatest use of your time.
Whether you are a pastor, student or volunteer using templates intentionally will help you make better use of your time and energy to make a greater impact for Christ.
Why a template?
- Templates reduce the friction of your work – When you have a template there is already a framework that you can pick up and run with. Instead of rebuilding the structure every time, you can simply get to the important work. It allows you to move more quickly towards the finished product, whether it is your completed outline for a sermon or your finalized budget.
- Templates focus your energy on the important task – Instead of wasting energy on menial work setting up the framework, writing the headings, filling in the labels, all of your energy can be moved to the important task. I find this so helpful with my sermon preparation. I know that in every final outline there will be headers for the various parts of the outline. There will be a date, a page count, an introduction, and outline, and a conclusion. By making a template that includes all of these elements, I focus my energy on the important part of writing the actual message.
- Templates provide momentum – When you sit down to work on any task, it can be difficult to get moving. Simply the thought of writing your message for the week can cause you to look for something easier to do. You know the work that is ahead of you and instead of embracing it and getting to work, we are tempted to avoid work and do less than essential tasks. When you open your template, you already have the ground prepared for what you are going to do. You have gotten over the hump of starting and the ball has already started rolling. From there it becomes much easier to get going and build momentum with what you are trying to do.
The Templates I use on a Regular Basis
- Sermon Outline Template – This is a document that I prepared months ago that I open every time I begin working on a message. It has a header with the page numbers in place and formatted correctly. It has a line for the title, introduction, text, observations, outline, conclusion, points of application, and commentaries all formatted just the way I like it. This makes sermon preparation very easy to start. I copy and paste the text I will be preaching on its line, then I continue through the template filling in each heading as I study. You can download my template here! (OpenDocument Text Template)
- Budget Template – This is a spreadsheet that is prepared to allow me to record income and expenses, plan for the month, and record savings. It has all of the formulas in place so that when I enter the numbers, it calculates everything I need to know to make the decisions to best use the money that God has given me.
- Schedule Template – While you may not be able to have an ideal schedule every week, you can put together a template of what you want to do! Personally, I have a plan of what I will be specifically working on throughout the week. Monday I work on websites and blogs. Tuesday and Thursday are the primary days I prepare messages. Saturday is mainly devoted to outreach. You get the picture! Sometimes unexpected needs arise and things are adjusted, but starting with a plan allows me to be more effective with the time I have been given!
Basically, this is a matter of stewardship. God has given you a certain amount of time, money, and energy. Templates will help you be the best steward of what you have been given!
I want to hear from you!
- Have you had any experience using templates that you found helpful?
- What ways do you manage the resources you have been given?