Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How To Reduce Desk Clutter

[By Bill Reichart]

One of the best practices in ministry is trying to stay organized.

I have never seen your office, but if it is anything like mine - you are constantly fighting against the clutter.

Crown Financial Ministries has some thoughts on the high cost of clutter. Here are some highlights:
  • National studies have shown that the typical executive spends four and one-half hours a week looking for lost papers. At a salary of $30,000, the cost of searching for important papers, measured in lost time, is $3,376 per year. At $60,000, the cost is $6,752 per year. At $100,000, the annual cost jumps to $11,250.

As staggering as these costs are, the majority of managers and business owners with whom I've worked report that they lose even more. I have found that the cost often jumps to 15 percent of their yearly income.

Just think—at this rate, nearly two years of each life is lost looking through clutter.

Penelope Trunk thinks that simply having a messy desk alone can undermine your career.

Clutter isn't just paper. It is also electronic. The History Channel show "Modern Marvels" recently aired a show about 90s technology that proved this startling statistic:

  • In 2007, over 170 billion email messages were sent per day. That's almost 2 million messages every second. 70% of them were spam and viruses.

Our lives are filled with clutter and information overload!

I don't presume to have this issue fixed and settled, but here are some ways that I help reduce clutter:

  • Limit paper - I tell everybody, don't send me paper. I don't want to have to file it and then try to find it later. I am pushing most of my information online. Google Docs and Google Notebook are my big "go-to's." It is easier to store and find my documents on Google Docs rather than search email attachments or my hard drive. Also, with Google Notebook I clip and save any interesting fact or illustration for a future sermon/save online receipts/store important information etc. I believe that Google Notebook is one of the more underrated tools within the Google stable of online apps.
  • Use a good email client - Gmail is the king. I use labels and filters to make sure only the email I need to read reaches me. Also they have an awesome spam filter that significantly reduces the clutter in my life..

Wife of Former AG General Superintendent Passes Away

Wife of former AG general superintendent passes away Elizabeth H. (Price) Zimmerman, wife of former General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman, passed away March 18 at Maranatha Village, Springfield, Missouri, after short illness. She was 93.

Visitation to be held 4-8 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Maranatha Village chapel. Funeral services to be held 10 a.m. Friday at Central Assembly of God, Springfield. Arrangements are under direction of Greenlawn North.

COGOP Releases Year End Review

To download PDF document, CLICK HERE.

Or, download from "Downloadable Documents" in the right column of this Blog.


Benchmarking (also "best practice benchmarking" or "process benchmarking") is a process used in management and particularly strategic management, in which organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice, usually within their own sector. This then allows organizations to develop plans on how to adopt such best practice, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to challenge their practices.

Benchmarking is a powerful tool because it overcomes "paradigm blindness." Paradigm Blindness can be summed up as the mode of thinking, "The way we do it is the best because this is the way we've always done it." Benchmarking opens organizations to new methods, ideas and tools to improve their effectiveness. It helps crack through resistance to change by demonstrating other methods of solving problems than the one currently employed, and demonstrating that they work, because they are being used by others.

Churches and ministry organizations can benchmark and track many things:
  • Attendance
  • Offerings
  • Tithes
  • Reports
  • Outreach
  • Evangelism
  • Growth
  • New Births
  • Baptism
  • Membership
  • Volunteers
  • Web Hits
  • News Articles
Each of these can be tracked in many ways. Whatever the specifics, benchmark the things that reflect your goals, objectives, and priorities.


Metrics are used in business models, CMMI, ISM3, Balanced scorecard and knowledge management. These measurements or metrics can be used to track trends, productivity, resources etc. Typically, the metrics tracked are key performance indicators, also known as KPIs. For example, metrics are used to better understand how an organization is performing compared to other similar organizations.

Most methodologies define hierarchies to guide organizations in achieving their strategic or tactical goals. An example can be:
The intention is to identify future-state objectives, relate them to specific goals that can be achieved through critical success factors or performance drivers which are then monitored and measured by key performance indicators. Through this hierarchy, organizations can define and communicate relationships between metrics and how they contribute to the achievement of organizational goals and objectives.

Metrics are important in IT Service Management including ITIL; the intention is to measure the effectiveness of the various processes at delivering services to customers. Some suggest that data from different organizations can be gathered together, against an agreed set of metrics, to form a benchmark, which would allow organizations to evaluate their performance against others to establish, objectively, how well they are performing.

Church goals and objectives that cannot be measured, are not effective.

An example of a church metric is the show-up-rate of volunteers. This number can give insight into the leadership and vision-buy-in at a church.

It is important to know how many serving spots are necessary for a church. One measurement is the percentage of people who show up. (This number is rarely 100% because of sickness, conflicts, etc.)

If the show-up-rate is 90% at one church and 68% at another, this probably indicates a problem at the second location.

  • You may not be placing the right people in the right roles.
  • You may not be adequately training volunteers.
  • You may not be appreciating volunteers.
  • You may not be communicating well.
  • You might consider tracking the show up rate over time to see if you are improving or slipping in helping your volunteers make a difference by serving.

Former COG General Overseer Passes Away

Former Church of God General Overseer Dr. Charles Conn, 88, died Tuesday in a Chattanooga hospital.

He served the denomination in several capacities, including pastor, editor in chief of the Church of God Publications, member of the Executive Council and president of Lee College.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., he has lived in Cleveland since 1948. He served the Church of God as general overseer from 1966 to 1970.
For 12 years, Conn served as president of Lee College, now Lee University, from 1970 to 1982. He has been serving as president emeritus of Lee University.

In 1955, Conn published his acclaimed history of the Church of God movement, “Like A Mighty Army.” The book was the first printed by the Church of God’s publishing arm, which emerged as Pathway Press.

He has edited and written 23 books.

Under Conn’s leadership at Lee College, Carroll Courts, a married student apartment complex was constructed and a new auditorium, which later was named the Charles W. Conn Center by the board of directors.

“Dr. Charles W. Conn served as a statesman for the Church of God for many decades. Currently president emeritus at Lee University, he also served as general overseer, president of Lee University, church historian, and in many other leadership positions. Dr. Conn strategically impacted the church and the Pentecostal world. His influence and legacy will endure for generations to come,” noted G. Dennis McGuire, general overseer, this morning.

Raymond F. Culpepper, assistant general overseer, said, “Dr. Charles W. Conn not only touched the minds of hundreds of thousands of people through his writing and historical research, he brought profound influence to me personally. Charles W. Conn has exemplified holiness, dignity, respect and love for his family and church.”

“Dr. Charles W. Conn was a minister of the gospel whose faith was founded in the Word of God and translated into a life of committed discipleship which is reflected in the legacy he leaves to the Church of God,” said Dr. Paul L Walker, secretary general for the Church of God.

“Few times in life do we realize that a giant has come our way. Such a person was Dr. Charles W. Conn. A talented writer and author of Like a Mighty Army, the story of the development of the Church of God, his leadership – including service as general overseer of the denomination and president of Lee University – established significant milestones in the church’s ministry and worldwide growth,” noted Beecher Hunter. “Not only did he write about the history of the church, but he helped make it. While editor of The Cleveland Daily Banner during some of those important years, it was my privilege to help chronicle his decisions and achievements. Despite the important roles that he played, Dr. Conn remained humble, filled with a vibrant faith in his Lord and passionate about the work of the church. I have lost a dear friend.”

Conn was married to Edna Minor Conn. They had 12 children.

Complete survivors and funeral arrangements will be coming from Ralph Buckner Funeral Homes.Church of God officials, members, and friends are mourning the passing of Dr Charles W Conn, who was promoted to glory last night!