Personal Organization For The Sake Of Fruitful Ministry -- By: Derek J. Brown

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 04:2 (Fall 2014)
Article: Personal Organization For The Sake Of Fruitful Ministry
Author: Derek J. Brown

Personal Organization For The Sake Of Fruitful Ministry1

Derek J. Brown

Derek J. Brown (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is pastoral assistant at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and adjunct professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He resides with his wife and two boys in San Jose, California, and blogs occasionally at When not spending time with his family, Derek can be found cycling or running around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Some people may think it weird or merely the sign of an obsessive personality, but I get butterflies when I walk into an Office Depot. Even the thought of notebooks, filing cabinets, planners, and binders gets me excited. Oh for more sticky notes and file-folders with reinforced tabs! And, for those who think I am stuck in a bygone era of space-devouring paper goods: yes, I love Evernote and Pocket and Dropbox. I’ve even been known to block out serious chunks of time (like, on the calendar) to organize my MacBook’s files and de-clutter the desktop.

I have a passion for organization.

But not everyone shares my enthusiasm for drawer dividers and label makers. Through conversation and general observation over the years it has become clear that there are people who find an overly-organized work environment stifling when it comes to their creativity and productivity. Others have concluded that setting aside time to index their notes, catalog their books, assemble all their files according to appropriate categories,

and establish a system of “productivity processes” actually takes away from time in which they can be creative and productive.

While I do not want to quarrel with those whose personality seems to require a certain amount of, shall we say, workspace flexibility, I do want to challenge the assumption that careful attention to organization kills creativity and productivity.

In fact, I would contend that organization is an indispensable key to both.

Ministry And Organization

When it comes to ministry, then, Christians should give some serious thought to organization. If we are called to be fruitful and rich in good works—a calling that involves both creativity and productivity—then we should gladly embrace any means that enable us to abound in these things.

Take, for example, a well-organized desk. The effort it takes to plan and maintain an orderly desk may be significant, but the payoff far outweighs the time and energy required to set up your workspace and routinely return...

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