5 powerful ways to leverage Trello for church

Trello, the digital Kanban and project management software, is all the rage for personal productivity and collaborative project management. Its simple and intuitive interface combined with clever features and powerful integrations with other services have rightly caused it to ascend to the upper echelon of similar tools. The more I use Trello for church, the more excited I get about the possibilities.

If you’ve never checked out Trello, now’s the time. Before you go on with these tips, you might want to read my brief primer.

Here’s how you can leverage the power the Trello for church:

1) Collaborative task management. I’ve set up a simple shared board  between me (the rector of my church) and my administrative assistant with the following lists:

  • Todo
  • Doing
  • Done
  • Resources

All of those are pretty self-explanatory. I add stuff to the Todo list and my assistant moves it to the appropriate list. I clear out the done list after reviewing every week or so.

The Resources list has links to some of the other systems we use and attachments for quick reference.

2) Leadership onboarding. I am in the process of working through exactly what this should look like for us, but you can easily put together a Trello board with essential information for new leaders. Possible lists could be:

  • Team/Staff – with a card/photo for each person on staff
  • HR Docs
  • Policies
  • Church docs – constitution, bylaws, etc.

3) Internal calendar planning/brainstorming. Make a board for the year and list for each month. Add events as cards and drag them around as needed during your brainstorming sessions.

4) Worship set planning. Worship leaders can make a Trello board with a list for each Sunday and card for each song. Drag and drop makes it easy move stuff around as needed in the set, and you can also attach chord sheets, etc to the cards for band members or other leaders.

5) Sermon series planning. Create a board for your series with lists for each week/sermon/talk, and add cards for things like:

  • Preacher
  • Main passage
  • Theme
  • Title
  • Song ideas
  • Graphics

You’ll have everything in one place and can easily share and collaborate with your team as needed. Here’s a pic of a sermon series I planned out with Trello:

Trello for church: sermon series planning

The flexibility and power of using Trello for church means that you’re only limited by your own creativity when it comes to streamlining your church’s processes and communication.

The best part about using Trello for church?

You can do everything I’ve outlined above absolutely free. Upgrading will get you a some extra perks when it comes to backgrounds and integrations, but it’s not at all necessary to get started with this amazing tool for ministry.

Did I mention their mobile apps are free and awesome, too? You’ll have all this stuff at your fingertips when on the go.

I hope this post has been helpful in giving you some ideas on how to use Trello to level up your planning, organization, and collaboration in your own church context.

How I’m Getting Things Done with Field Notes

For context, you’ll want to read Getting Things Done: Tools, Practices, & Principles 

Field Notes are the clever, collectible (and thus, a bit addictive), design-focused notebooks that all the bloggers rave about. They really are fun, fairly affordable, and quite useful.

I use my Field Notes as my pocket notebook. It goes where I go to capture thoughts and ideas while out-and-about. I also use them to plan out my day.

When I’m disciplined, it goes like this:

  • At night, I’ll prepare the page for the next day by writing the day of the week, month, date, and liturgical feast if applicable at the top of the page.
  • Right below that I will write down the readings for Morning and Evening Prayer for the Daily Office.
  • On the left side of the page, I will list the most important things I’d like to get done for the day (no more than six usually). As the day goes on I just capture item below that to make a running list.
  • On the right side of the page I’ve started making a simple daily agenda from 9-5 with any hard commitments I’ve made so I can see my day at a glance and add to it as necessary.

I’ve used Patrick Rhone’s Dash/Plus system (similar to Bullet Journal) as a quick way to indicate meta info on each list item.

Here’s what a typical daily page looks like:

 

I use a Pilot G2 .07 mechanical pencil to write in my FN, which I love, because the metal tip retracts when not in use, making this a pocket-friendly pencil.

If you want, you can get tons of nice covers for your Field Notes, but they’re fine without, as long as you are okay with your notebook developing some character. I like having a bit of extra protection for my notes, so I had a cover custom made from this Etsy shop.

 

How I’m Getting Things Done with Trello

For context, you’ll want to read Getting Things Done: Tools, Practices, & Principles and Say hello to Trello, a new tool to organize your life and ministry

I have a “team” in Trello called Trusted System. Within that team I have six boards:

  • Next
  • Projects
  • Tickler
  • Someday/Maybe
  • Reference Lists
  • Horizons & Areas of Focus

Next

My Next board has four lists of cards:

  • Inbox – for throwing stuff in as go throughout my day
  • Waiting for  – anything that needs to get done ASAP but I’m still waiting on someone else’s action (reply to an email, etc)
  • Next – Stand alone physical next actions ( for example “move bookshelf from living room to hall nook”)
  • Agendas – One card containing a list of things to talk about, per person need. There’s always agenda cards for my wife, bishop, associate pastor, administrative assistant, plus a few others as needed.

I use Trello color-coded “labels” for contexts. My contexts are:

  • Home
  • DMAC (the church I pastor)
  • Read
  • Phone
  • Errands
  • Anywhere
  • Laptop

Projects

My Projects board contains anything that that requires more than one physical next action. As I review this board every week, I add physical next actions to my next board. I have two lists on this one:

  • Current – Projects that are active
  • Pending/Delegated – Similar to “Waiting for” on my Next board.

Reference Lists

This is a pretty flexible board that just contains any lists I need on regular basis for reference. Mostly just packing lists as this point.

Someday Maybe

My Someday Maybe board has six boards, each with stuff I’d like to do eventually, but are not at all pressing. As I review this I move these things to the appropriate places on my Projects or Next boards. My lists are:

  • Personal Projects
  • DMAC (the church I pastor)
  • Writing
  • Stuff to buy
  • Home & Family

Tickler

This functions as a complement to my physical tickler file and my digital calendar. It is made of four lists:

  • January – March
  • April – June
  • July – September
  • October – December

As I go through the year I drag the current quarter to the left so it’s always the first one I see. I use this to put date-specific reminders, files/confirmation numbers I’ll need etc.  This is for stuff that needs to happen around a certain date/month, but is not set in stone. So “schedule eye exam – January” I’ll just throw in January-March. When I review this board, I’ll move stuff to the appropriate place as needed: Projects, Next, or my calendar.

Horizons & Areas of Focus

This board is made up five lists. The first list is Mission and Core Values. The first card contains my personal mission statement:

“Help others discover and grow in the great love of God.”

Below that I have a card for each of my core values:

  • Spirituality
  • Family
  • Fellowship
  • Fun
  • Service
  • Stewardship
  • Creativity
  • Rest

In each of those cards I have a list of core habits I try to cultivate. So in the “Stewardship” card I have:

  • Spend less than I make
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week
  • Review calendar weekly

The other lists are “areas of focus” or “spheres of life.”

  • Husband
  • Father
  • Parish Priest
  • Musician

Each of those lists has four cards:

  • Desires – Specific ideas of what I want to be like in these areas
  • Actions – Concrete ways to move toward the vision (no more than 3 at a time)
  • Challenges – Thinking ahead to possible obstacles
  • Vision – A description of  the big-picture “end result” in each of these areas

Why I observe Lent

I had been in an emotional and spiritual struggle for years, processing how the Body of Christ could be so defined, so marked, by division, quarrels, and willful ignorance of each other. My spiritual journey had led me right into the middle of some of those painful internal wars, and I hadn’t escaped without getting hurt. (more…)

What I learned about the Holy Spirit from my wife’s life-threatening blood clot

About two weeks ago now, my wife Amber noticed some swelling in her left leg. She was experiencing some pain and discomfort, but (being the strong woman that she is) wasn’t sure about getting it checked out. After a call with our midwife, however, she decided to go in for an ultrasound.

Now, when you go in for an ultrasound, they usually send whatever results you get to your primary care physician. The ultrasound technicians themselves aren’t doctors, so they’re really not supposed to give you any information, because they very well could be wrong.

Nevertheless, Amber knew something was up when the tech kept looking at her mid-ultrasound and asking, “do you still feel okay?” and then about 10 seconds later “how about now? You okay?”

And then a little later, “you really need to see your doctor, like…right now.” (more…)