Expert Columns

My work desk – the one in my home office – is cluttered. It's covered in old books, Moleskine journals,  a telegraph key, speakers, an M-Audio interface for recording, loose change, action figures … and rocks. Cool-looking rocks. A fossilized ammonite shell takes up a one corner of the desktop. Two chunks of feldspar crystals sit atop the hutch. A couple more chunks of calcite crystals sit to the right – just under the desk lamp. Add in some glass jars full of polished brown jasper, tumbled quartz and  a thumb-sized piece of a meteorite, and, well, that's my work environment.
Why all the rocks? I've collected since I was a kid. But lately, it comes down to a couple of reasons: First, one of my close friends is a former geologist. He knows where to find all the cool stuff. Secondly, because I've been challenged – more like convicted – to add margin into my life.
I think it all started when I came across a quote by Jimmy Mellado, the President of Compassion International: “Don't let doing the work of God destroy the work God is doing in you.”
Seems counter-intuitive. After all, doesn't God call us to do His work? Yes. But He also calls us to “Come apart and rest.” To be honest, while I can do the work part of the equation … I struggle to do the “rest” part. And while it's taken a long time to realize, resting is just as important as working. Because when I rest, what I'm really saying is, “God, I trust you to take care of things.”
There's another reason that rest and margin are so important. Here's Dr. Richard A. Swenson from his book, “Margin” - “We must have some room to breathe. We need freedom to think and permission to heal. Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity. No one has the time to listen, let alone love. Our children lay wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions. Is God now pro-exhaustion? Doesn’t He lead people beside the still waters anymore? Who plundered those wide-open spaces of the past, and how can we get them back? There are no fallow lands for our emotions to lie down and rest in.”
That brings me back to my work desk and all the rocks that clutter it. For me, this is a tangible way to follow God's command to rest. To add margin and space. To get away from things for a few hours so that I can be rested enough to tackle God's work in a fresh, creative way. It's only a first step. I have a long way to go. And I'm challenging you to ask God to show you where – and how – you can add rest and margin into your life. How's that for a goal in 2018?
Need some encouragement to start? How about Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 (from The Message):
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Get some rest. See how it makes a difference in your life and ministry.

Are you looking forward to 2018? What opportunities await you in the coming year? Where do you want to take your station and your social media channels?

Last week I asked you to pick one thing that you want to accomplish in 2018. What is your “one thing?”

Now that you've selected it, here's the next step to accomplishing your goal: make a road map to help you get to your “one thing.”

Sound easy? Maybe. But it's not as simple as you'd think. Because making a road map means you have to chose where you'd go … and where you won't go. Or, in the case of planning for the year ahead, it means choosing what you will do … and what you won't do.

And here's where it gets tough: choosing what you won't do means that you'll have to say no. A lot. It means you'll have to turn down opportunities. You'll have to choose between what's “good” and what's “great.”

How do you make those decisions? Here's a couple of things to remember:

1) Choose your “one thing.” Be very specific with whatever it is you want to accomplish. Don't be content to say, “I'm growing my audience,” instead, say, “My current audience size is (X). By December, 2018, my goal is to increase listenership by five percent.”

2) Set “mile markers” so that you can measure your success or course correct along the way. If audience growth is your goal, check your ratings. Or count the number of new donors. Your “mile markers” may look different than these examples, but make sure you're measuring your success.

3) Determine (in advance) what things will help you reach your goal. Likewise, determine what things will distract you from your goal. Base your decisions on past performance. What events or promotions have been successful in the past? Which ones took too much time and effort and didn't offer much in return? Choose the events and promotions that will help you reach your goal.

4) Add enough margin to your plan so that you can try new things. It's important to stay focused on your goal. It's also important keep your eyes open to new opportunities. Choose the ones that get you toward your goal … and measure your results.

As you work toward success in the new year, make sure you've chosen “one thing” - a solid goal to work toward -  and then determine the events, activities and promotions you need to do to achieve your goal. Measure your efforts, make course corrections as needed … and always keep your eyes on the goal.

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What's on your schedule this week? Let me guess … you've got a lot of things going on this time of year. Here's a bit of Thanksgiving-themed show prep and some conversation starters to make your week a bit easier.

Thanksgiving and Kids

How do you make the Thanksgiving something more than a turkey dinner and a nap? ModernMom.com says make thankfulness a lifestyle by teaching your kids to do these five things:

1) Say your gratitude out loud.

2) Make time for thanks.

3) Help the thank-you note make a comeback.

4) Write down what you're thankful for.

5) Encourage teamwork and community involvement.



Need more ideas? Andrea Reiser writes this on HuffPost:

1) Be a grateful parent

2) Don't shower your kids with too much “stuff.”

3) Have 'em pitch in when they want something.

Andrea shares eight more ideas that are worth following. Check out her article here.

 SecondChanceToDream.com offers a few conversation starters, including:

1) _____ means so much to be because... (Name the person)

2) Say one thing you are thankful for, for the person next to you.

3) What is one thing that happened this year that you are thankful for?

Download additional ideas here:

 Need some conversation starters for on-air or online posts? Try these ideas:

1) What's the one family tradition (if your family has Thanksgiving traditions) that you look forward to most?

2) Does your family have a “family game” that everyone plays when you get together each year?

3) What's your number one tip for surviving holiday travel?

4) How do you keep your kids occupied during long trips?

5) If you could invite one person (past or present) to Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be and why?

6) How to you budget or save money when shopping for Thanksgiving dinners?

Thanksgiving Scriptures

Colossians 3:15-17:

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

As you plan for the holidays – and help your listeners celebrate – don't forget to set some time aside for yourself so that you, too, can give thanks!

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Are you looking forward to 2018? What opportunities await you in the coming year? Where do you want to take your station and your social media channels?

Here's a simple question I use to help clients plan and prepare for the year ahead. But before I ask it, I want you to know that while the question is simple, it might take a while to get to the answer. Ready?

At this time next year (December 2018) what is the one thing that you want to say you've accomplished over the course of the year?

A note: It's important to select one thing. Just one. That's why the answer is so challenging. You only get to choose one thing.

So, what's your one thing?

• Is it growing an audience?

• Engaging social media users?

• Launching a new show, blog or social media channel?

• Becoming the trusted source for news and information?

Name your “one thing.” Write it out. And now let me explain why you only get to pick one thing: because this “one thing” is what gets all of your energy, creative juices and inspiration. In order to make your “one thing” succeed, it needs your focus.

In next week's column, we'll talk about what to do with that one thing and how it relates to all of your ctivities in the coming year. But in the meantime, let me ask you again:

What's your “one thing?”

Choose wisely.

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pray for the families of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

And then check to make sure your station has everything it needs to help your community should a crisis arise.

One thing you can do to help your station today is to build a contacts base so that your team knows who to call or reach out to during a crisis. Here's where to start:

1) Team Contacts: Make sure everyone on your team knows how to contact you, your engineer and each other during a crisis. If possible, add a “preferred contact method” - text, email, phone.

2) Police and First Responders: Get the names and contact number of your local police information officer (PIO) or firefighter information officer, spokespersons for local leaders and key contacts within local chapters of the Red Cross or emergency agencies. Take five minutes and contact these office to introduce yourself and let leaders know you want to work with them during an emergency situation.

3) Local Hospitals, Blood Banks and Food Banks: Get accurate, up-to-date info so that you can announce blood drives or relief distribution drop-off points.

4) Local Clergy and Counselors: Choose a few trusted pastors and Christian counselors who can talk to your audience about the crisis and help listeners/readers find the spiritual and emotional resources they need as they deal with crises.

Be pro-active. Make key connections and regularly update those contacts. Help your team be ready to reach out and provide the tools your local audience needs – when they need it most.

And pray for the families of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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