What is Your TOP 5?

Jason Hatley

I’m not talking about your Top 5 80’s love songs (though I do love power ballads). No – I have something a little more important in mind.

Here’s what I mean: If I were to ask you to write down on a sheet of paper the TOP 5 MOST CRUCIAL activities that you do as a leader in your church, could you name them?

This is a question we asked in a Journey staff meeting years ago and one that I oftentimes ask to the Worship Leaders in my coaching networks.

The question is simple on the surface, but powerfully clarifying when you take time to answer.

The truth is many pastors and worship leaders are more likely to be busy than effective. There’s a distinct difference. As Peter Drucker says, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

And not because they don’t want to make the biggest impact for the kingdom possible, but because in ministry it is so easy to be distracted by the urgent and allow the important slide by.

So back to this powerful little question – “What are your TOP 5 PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES that make the biggest impact in your church?”

Here are 3 reasons why answering this question (along with your pastor – VERY IMPORTANT) are worth your time and effort, and after this I’ll share a few of mine.

Knowing your Top 5 . . .

#1 – Keeps you focused on what’s most important. Rather than working on whatever comes across your desk, use your Top 5 to set your daily and weekly task priorities. If a task isn’t connected to the Top 5 then ask, “Can it may be delegated, delayed, or dumped?”

#2 – Creates a concrete list of your primary responsibilities. If you don’t have a Top 5 then you may never be clear on “exactly what am I responsible for here”. You may stay busy, but you will never know if what you’re working on is the most important thing you could be doing at that moment. Rather than having your primary responsibilities float around unaccounted for, you can see it clearly and that clarity alone immediately increases your effectiveness.

#3 – Gives you categories to file tasks under. The problem with most task lists is that they are long, disorganized, un-prioritiezed, and ultimately don’t help you do the most important thing at every given moment (a personal goal of mine).

So when you start working on the list of things you need to get done this week or this month, knowing your Top 5 helps you easily decide what things are most important and begin creating some routine out of your week.

In my current To Do list I can easily look at the tasks and tell you which of the Top 5 it falls under and what days I need to be working on those specific tasks (after all not everything has to be done today). By creating routine, you establish anchors to hang your week on and are able to look and see if you’re making progress toward the goal. (More on this next week).
Here are a few of the items on my TOP 5 (in no particular order):

Responsible for the Leadership and Growth of the Worship Arts Team – The leadership and development of our team members and leaders from the personal growth of individuals to the addition of new people to the team. This is a BIGGIE!

Lead Worship Planning Process – Including writing worship orders, leading worship planning meetings, keeping our team on track with our Worship Planning System (click here to learn more about this), you get the picture.

Produce the Sunday service – Oh yeah . . . there’s much more to a Sunday service than just the music. I produce the entire service. Every staff and volunteer connected with what happens on stage at a Journey worship service reports to me on Sunday and every element is overseen and approved by me.

I’ll keep the other 2 a secret for now . . . after all – my TOP 5 aren’t necessarily your TOP 5.
So – what are your TOP 5? Take 15 minutes (right now) to make a list. You will probably come up with 15-20 things that you do – probably more – but I’m not asking for your task list. Narrow it down to the TOP 5 MOST IMPORTANT AREAS THAT YOU LEAD which help your church succeed in fulfilling it’s mission.

Once you have your list, make sure your pastor would agree that those are your TOP 5, and then start organizing your task list to do the most important things possible at every given moment.

Oh, and one more thing – once you have your TOP 5, share it with me at http://www.jasonhatley.wordpress.com. I’d love to see your list!
Your partner in ministry,


PS – I hope you and your family had a wonderful Independence Day! We celebrated by taking our Abigail and Charlie (our awesome kids age 5 and 2) to see fireworks at a park near our house.

Even though July 4th was yesterday, you still have time to celebrate the BIG 4th of July sale going on through 11:59pm tonight!

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TUESDAY MORNING INSIGHTS is Jason Hatley’s free weekly training resource specifically designed to provide you as a worship leader with proven principles, tips and practices to help you lead a healthy and thriving Worship Arts Team.

About Jason Hatley and Worship Leader Insights

Jason HatleyIn 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts and built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services. The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference, The Purpose Drive Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason and his family currently live in Boca Raton, FL where he serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest campus in South Florida.

1 reply
  1. Leah
    Leah says:

    Love these Tuesday insights, Jason! Thanks so much!

    This one really inspired me because it’s something I struggle with personally…goes back to my discipline struggle. I realized today that I do more “busy-work” than Kingdom work. YIKES! So here’s my list…
    1. Sunday Service (game day!)
    2. Discipleship (new and current members of our team)
    3. First Impressions (administration)
    4. Youth Ministries (creative arts)
    5. Orphan Outreach Program (missions and evangelism)

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