I feel like I just did this…but I didn’t save it so now I have to start from scratch.

Oops, I forgot to do that…again!

I should really set up a system for this.

Are these thoughts ringing bells for you? As a women’s ministry leader, there are plenty of things you need to do in a repetitive way—reminder emails to send, monthly meetings to hold, and yearly events to plan. When you complete these reoccurring tasks without an effective plan, you can clutter your spirit with frustrated thoughts about your inefficiency or lack of memory.

I’d love to help you use a little organization to clear out the clutter in your spirit. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” When you create order for your ministry, you clear the frustration out of your spirit and make room for God’s peace. Try one or more of these helpful systems to get your ministry running smoothly.

  • Forms. Is there an email you find yourself typing over and over to different people? Keep a computer file folder of form letters that you can copy and paste, then quickly personalize for each recipient. What other ministry work are you doing in a similarly repetitive way? Take the time to thoughtfully create forms or templates that you can use again and again. A little work now will save you a lot of time in the long run!
  • Records. In women’s ministry it’s likely you’ll do similar events and gatherings each year. Keep a record of what you do along the way, so you can refer to it the next time. For example, if you host the same Christmas brunch every year, make this the year that you keep a wonderfully detailed account of how you prepared for it. Make a list of the items you needed to buy or have on hand for the event. Start a list of contact information for the people and companies you worked with to make the event a success. You may also want to use your records to remind yourself what not to do next time!

Take clear, specific minutes in your meetings this year to help you plan for next year. Make notes on your budget when you run into an area in which you wished for more funds (or didn’t need the amount you had!). When decorating a space or setting a great table for a holiday, take a quick picture so you can remember just how you did it. When it comes to records, ask yourself: How can I make this easier on myself the next time?

  • Checklists. Along those same lines, make yourself effective checklists. For a monthly women’s gathering, take the time to clearly think through all of the things you do to make your meetings a success. Then make a general “Meeting To-Do List” with sections for “Two Weeks Before,” “One Week Before,” “Right Before,” and “Follow-Up.” You can use it every month to make sure you’re not forgetting anything. You can also make a checklist for the first of every month to make sure you’re keeping up with your ministry’s “housekeeping” duties. Your monthly list may include items like turning in your receipts for reimbursement, checking in with your volunteers and leaders to see how things are going, restocking your supply closet, and anything else you’d like to do on a monthly basis. You can write a similar weekly or even daily checklist of ministry work that you want to accomplish on a regular basis.
  • Calendars. Use a calendar to make a similar list for yearly tasks. Find a simple calendar and write on it the tasks you’d like to complete during each month of the year. For example, maybe you’d like to host a volunteer appreciation dinner every May, complete an inventory every July, plan a leader’s retreat every October, and set aside some time to write your budget every January. Don’t let those things sneak up on you! Create a calendar to remind yourself what tasks you’d like to accomplish during the different months of the year. Schedule time this week to prayerfully assess the things you do for your ministry on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis. Don’t let those things get away from you, filling your spirit with “Oops, I should have…” thoughts. Instead, create practical systems that will help you to serve the women of your ministry with a happy, peaceful heart. With a little organization, you won’t be overwhelmed with your ministry tasks; you’ll be doing your work for the Lord with joy!

Shannon Upton is a Christian speaker and the author of Organizing You: Finding Your Spiritual Clutter and Using Organization to Clear It Out. You can find out more about her ministry at OrganizingJesusMoms.com.