Have you ever walked into your office or “youth closet” and had no idea where to find something? Well, I say this kindly, it is time to get organized! An unorganized space often leads to a wasteful use of time. You can’t find things) or end up creating more documents because you lost the originals in a pile somewhere. Get organized. Here are a few suggestions for organizing the most common youth ministry spaces.
Office Space. Your office should be both inviting and evokes trust. Yes, youth ministers have the coolest offices, but you need to be organized. Remember, your office space reflects you.
- Files. There is no end to the type of filing systems you could develop. You may totally go “cyberspace” and keep your files on your computer or hard drive (be sure to back up). There will always be a need to keep a file of real, paper documents and information. You can file alphabetical, category and special grouping (like your church’s mission statement). But being able to recall a file for reference, reproduction or refinement is a great asset to your ministry organization.
- Piles. If you have been in ministry for any length of time, you may have begun to notice the desk phenomenon of the pile. Piles are made of a loose collection of mail, old lessons, ideas written on napkins, notes and cards, sermon notes, books, journals and pictures drawn by your kids. Organize your piles into categories. I typically have three piles in my office space. Urgent (I have to get to this within the week), Important (to be used within the next few months), Go through (things that I have collected that need to be filed away or thrown away).
- Cabinets and Boxes. I do not know the dimensions of your particular space. Regardless, make use of your cabinets and boxes to organize. Paper, envelopes, pens, staplers, tape (Duct Tape of course) and other “ministry resources” can be tucked away and easily accessible. Some of the larger piles (like the Go Through Pile) can be tucked away in a box or cabinet until needed. Do not be tempted to gather your inner elementary school kid and stuff all of your belongings in a box or cabinet so you can say you “cleaned your room.” Even though less visible, be organized.
Closets and Youth Spaces. Very simple suggestions here. Clean, organize and throw away items in these spaces.
- Clean. Like your office, closets and youth spaces reflect your ministry. It has been a tradition in each of my youth ministries to have a cleaning day, typically more than one, for Closets and Youth Spaces.
- Organize. Shelving and plastic tubs are your friends for closets. Keep your youth spaces organized for flow and function.
- Throw away. Confession, I tend to keep too many things in Closets and Youth Spaces. I believe it was when a mouse ran out of the free couch I put in the youth room, I was done with that tendency. It may be difficult, but throw away stuff you don’t use, have not used in a while or is broken.
Okay, the reading is over, get to organizing your office, closets and youth spaces.
This is an adapted post from David Fraze’s Practical Wisdom For Youth Ministry. Check out David’s book here for timeless wisdom and helpful next steps to establish and grow your youth ministry!