Do They Fit the Box: Gift Wrap & Time Management

Do They Fit the Box: Gift Wrap & Time Management

December 17, 2014 by

It was an easy job. I needed to wrap a Christmas present. Famous last words.

I rummaged through some boxes and tried to find one that could handle the couple items that made up the gift. I placed the items, they didn’t fit. I rearranged, they didn’t fit. Once more and it’s close enough. I squeezed the box’s flaps down. Tight fit.

Just as I let go of the bulging taped ends of the box to unfurl the wrapping paper roll, the package broke open. I dumped it out and tried again. The same bursting scenario played out. Again. And again.

As a church communicator do you ever feel like that poor box? Constantly exploding as more and more is crammed into your weekly tasks?

No one does it maliciously. Your pastor, ministry team leaders or business administrators don’t set out to watch you burst at the seams. They simply need “just the right container” to get their project packaged. Too bad everything couldn’t arrive on time (direction/materials) so you could professionally arrange the weekly content in order for the “flaps” of the week to actually close.

At Christmas many of you find that you need to jam one more thing into your already full week. The strips of tape (the spontaneous rules and stopgap measures that try to keep you sane) are stretching, the flaps are bulging and you’re ready to explode!

Something needs to change. You have three choices:

  1. Change the box. Get a bigger box that can fit everything. Expand your week and work more hours. If only it were that easy. You’ll burn yourself out and no one succeeds with that. The church loses, the ministry becomes burdened and you (and your family) fail. This is easy to do but it’s not the solution.
  2. Change the contents. Not everything will fit, so it’s time to cut back. You can manage the process, the projects and the expectations clamoring for your limited time. Great idea, but how do you possibly do that? Well, it’s not easy, but it has been done. Try talking to others who are in your shoes. People who’ve been there, done that. And now are incredibly successful. They can organize the figurative gift box, wrap it and deliver it successfully—every time. They have a plan and a process.
  3. Change the tape. You can use stronger, longer tape. Maybe try the duct tape? Imposing more and more rules and attempting to take back control of everything that’s falling apart. We’ve all received the package that’s no longer square but is bulging on all sides. The sadly wrapped present that no one compliments and people wonder if the gift inside even survived the process. This approach is often met with rebellion and anarchy. The wrapper relies too heavily on the tape! It’s not a successful long-term solution.

It seems clear. The second choice is the best solution—change the contents.

Church communicators can only accomplish so much. There simply have to be limits, boundaries, ways to say no. Setting up those boundaries can be difficult. Saying no to ministries and senior pastors might not be acceptable. But it’s for the greater good. There are ways to get through. Connecting with other communicators who have gone through this before is the best way forward.

Learn to wrap better. Find those mentors and experts who can help you set boundaries and manage the demands.


We do important work—sharing the gospel—but that doesn’t mean we can work ourselves to death. Learn more about how to fight church communicator burnout.

Photo by Amanda Tipton.
Post By:

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is an author, speaker, and strategic communication catalyst with the Florida Baptist Convention. He’s also the author of Be Known For Something. Mark is also the executive director of our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

One Response to “Do They Fit the Box: Gift Wrap & Time Management”

  • Will Rice
    December 19, 2014

    I love the analogy. This is so timely given where we are on the calendar: still handling final prep for Christmas and preparing to kick off 2015, end-of-year giving push, plus 2015 stewardship campaign. I need more tape!

     | Permalink