LUP012 – Jerry Sivnksty: 60 Seconds From Quitting

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Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 12:

  • Update: What’s left before Edify Hub’s missionary website builder becomes publicly available? And who are we looking to hire to help?
  • Encouragement: Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty was 60 seconds from quitting. Hear what God did to keep him in the game.
  • Tech. Tip: We share a free tool that will help you focus on your most productive computer work – without having to track your activities by hand.

Resources mentioned in this episode

* See Affiliate Disclosure

Update

It’s really been a pendulum of emotions with the progress – or not progress – and progress again – with the Edify Hub missionary website builder. One of my goals was to be able to make it publicly available by July of this year. There are two pieces to that. First – I need the software to be complete. One thing I’ve learned from the missionaries I’ve talked with is that I’ll need to have a way for them to get their own domain names sooner than I thought. Getting the systems in place to collect payment and actually register real .com, .org, or .net domains in an automated way was part of the “completeness” I hadn’t anticipated quite so soon. But that’s done now. With the information we know about a missionary’s name and field of ministry, we even automatically make suggestions for possible domain names from those that haven’t been taken already to help ease the pain of finding an available domain name.

What’s left for software completeness? We’re getting the final graphic design work done for the account maintenance page, and we’re working on getting a database of churches pulled into the system so we can automatically find a missionary’s sending church without needing to manually update the information every time.

Besides software completeness, I also need to push forward getting more feedback from missionaries. It has been my intent for the past three weeks to reach out to more of the missionaries who have applied for a website. My day job has had me working late evenings and weekends far more than before, and I just haven’t been able to get to that like I wanted to. I also need to produce a lot of instructional videos and articles to explain how to personalize a missionary’s website after it’s created.

I’ve also started looking for some long-term development help for some additional Edify Hub software projects. This may sound a bit odd to you, but I’m specifically looking for a developer from the Philippines. Edify Hub is a ministry that I intend to make a difference around the world, so having an international team just makes sense. From the studying I’ve done, all indications are that – all else being equal – developers in the Philippines tend to have the kind of experience and pricing structure I’m looking for with a culture that is compatible with the way Edify Hub wants to do business. I don’t want to turn this into a defense of off-shore hiring or an entrepreneurial business course, but there are a number of reasons I’m looking specifically in the Philippines for software development help. And, because of the kinds of software we’re developing, I’m also looking for someone who is in good standing with their church, and ideally, one who has regular contact with a church planting missionary.

If you know a missionary in the Philippines who may have a church member with software development skills, send them to edifyhub.com/hiring to see a full job description. And if you’re listening to this episode from the future, well first of all, welcome! I’ve never met anyone from the future before. Second, I will try to keep that page up-to-date with current hiring needs, but it may not actually reflect the job I just described by the time you get there.

If you’re listening closer to the present – that is, in mid 2015, please visit edifyhub.com/hiring to see what kind of Filipino developer we’re looking for. If you’re the one who sends me a resume, Edify Hub is offering a $20 finder’s fee if we hire someone for a single project, and a $200 finder’s fee if we eventually hire them full-time. That finder’s fee will be available only to the person who actually sends me the resume. If you have a resume or CV for a person in the Philippines that you believe fits the job description, send it to steve@edifyhub.com.

And that’s what’s happening with Edify Hub.

Encouragement

And now, here’s the part where I contradict myself. Well, sorta.

You’re about to hear a conversation I recorded back in late February with Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty, who I’ll introduce better in the beginning of our recorded conversation. He had shared a story during some recent meetings at our church, and I was inspired by that story. I thought you would enjoy hearing it and be encouraged as well, so I asked him if I could call him some time and have him share it again to be recorded for this podcast. He graciously agreed.

Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty
Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty

About a month and a half later after that conversation, I began to realize that my most important work with Edify Hub was being taken over by things that, well, weren’t helping accomplish the key goals I had set. I’ve discovered that there’s a lot more work ahead of me to make those goals a reality, and as long as I was still creating podcast episodes and general Christian life articles, I wasn’t going to be able to finish everything I needed to do to help missionaries get useful websites set up.

I had a pattern of content production set up, and I’ve already set goals to try to increase that content production, with more podcasts, more video tips, more articles. And now I’m actually planning on putting the brakes on some of that? And right after Brother Sivnksty’s encouragement that it’s always too soon to quit? How could I do that?

Well, I think there’s a difference between adjusting the kind of work you’re doing in a ministry and in quitting. If you want to read more about my thoughts on when it’s time to stop something, (notice how I didn’t say “quit”) check out an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to get all this out up front here, before you hear my conversation with Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty. I don’t want my justification for shifting gears to take away anything from his message.

Listen to my conversation with Brother Jerry Sivnksty.

Are you feeling insufficient for your task? Or are you maybe facing negative feedback – maybe even painful, insulting comments – from the very people you’re trying to serve? Are you discovering some risks to your service that you hadn’t expected?

Or maybe, like Brother Sivnksty, you’re just not seeing the results you expected to see – even after what should have been plenty of time.

If you’re feeling discouraged in your ministry for any of these reasons, let me echo Jerry Sivnksty’s conclusion. Don’t let those disappointments make you give in. Be encouraged. “It’s always too soon to quit.”

Contact Jerry Sivnksty

Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty
P.O. Box 141
Starr, SC 29684

864-367-7055

Tech. Tip

As I’m finding more and more on my plate, putting a stop to some of my tasks is one way to find time for the things that are most important. One thing that I’ve noticed is that even when I’m trying to be focused and working on important tasks, I can find myself wandering off, chasing rabbit trails of research. Or maybe, I’m being sucked into the black hole that is Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people, but oh, my. It can also become quite a time waster. “What happened next is shocking!” – Oh, I’ve got to find out what it was!

Next thing I know, I’ve spent more time on Facebook than I have actually writing the article or letter or video script that I intended to finish that evening. I’ve heard of some people who use applications like Cold Turkey for Windows or SelfControl for Mac to completely block nonproductive websites when they’re trying to work. I haven’t actually used any of those yet, though I will include links in the show notes page for this episode. Instead, I’ve started using a different approach, much like the approach I have toward personal accountability software.

I’ve found that trying to use technology too aggressively to block things that aren’t inherently wrong can create a distaste for the technology, eventually leading us to abandon it entirely. You can read more about my philosophy on that in my article about Safe Internet For Smartphones. In that article, I explain why I use Accountable2You software for personal internet accountability.

But this technical tip is not about internet accountability, it’s about productivity.

The tool I want to share with you is called RescueTime. What RescueTime does is to keep track of how much time you spend with each application or website. It has a customizable database that measures each application or website on a scale of productivity. At the end of the week, you’ll get an email report showing you how productive your computer time was that week. Or you can go to your dashboard at any time to see how you’re doing so far, or customize the productivity ratings for different applications or websites.

According to RescueTime, my average evenings and weekends are 69% productive. But this week, I’ve only been 62% productive. With the reports, I can find out where I was spending my time this week.  Looking more closely at the report, I see that I spent several minutes at patreon.com, supporting the Ministry Connection Podcast with Pastor Bryan Ries. But after completing my pledge, I did poke around quite a bit just to see who else was supporting, updating my profile, and a bunch of other wasting of time. It also captured the time I spent researching passport requirements on travel.state.gov. We’re planning a trip to Uganda soon to see my brother, and we just discovered that my passport has expired.

Now, if I wanted to argue that I wasn’t wasting time, I could go in and change the productivity settings for these two websites and make my report seem more productive. Or, I could recognize that neither of those two activities is helping me move toward the goals I have set, and I could accept the productivity rating it was given. I also see shopping activity, chasing down the source of some weird call claiming to be the IRS who was going to take our family to court… (Don’t get me started on that scam…) Lots of things that really were time wasters.

Now that I can look back on my week and find the kinds of things that use up my time on the computer and distract me from my real work, I am armed with the information I need to make changes.

Everything I’ve talked about I get with their free plan. They do have a paid plan that gives more detailed reports, keeps longer history, temporarily block websites that you call “very distracting”, lets you keep track of off-computer activity, and a lot more. So far, I haven’t needed any of that so I’m still on the free plan. But it’s nice to know it’s there if I need to upgrade.

RescueTime works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices.

If you’re interested, check out edifyhub.com/rescuetime. That’s an affiliate link, which means if you sign up through that link and you do end up upgrading to the premium features, Edify Hub will get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything extra to go through that link, but it will be an encouragement to me.

So, to find out how you can make your computer time even more productive, use the free version of RescueTime.

Closing

So today, you heard how you can use RescueTime to ramp up your productivity and get more important things done in the time that you have.

You also heard how God worked in Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty’s ministry to show him that it is always too soon to quit.

We talked about quitting, and changing directions.

We talked about the intense focus I’m now putting on readying the missionary website builder for wider use.

And we mentioned an opportunity to earn a finder’s fee if you can send me the resume or CV of a software developer from the Philippines that ends up being hired for the job described at edifyhub.com/hiring.

Finally, I want to thank you for coming on this journey with me these past 12 months. Even though I won’t be publishing for a while, please don’t unsubscribe just yet. Stick around, and I do plan to pick up the podcast again once these software projects are under control.

Until then, I’d like to end with my standard question.  From Hebrews 12:12, who will you lift up today?

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