One of the best posi­tions I ever had in my church was when I was called as the clerk for my con­gre­ga­tion. I was respon­si­ble for man­ag­ing all the congregation’s records and super­vis­ing three oth­er clerks (finance, mem­ber­ship, his­to­ry).

It’s not too often they extend a posi­tion like that to some­one who has good organ­i­sa­tion­al skills. I was excit­ed, and knew that based on the last few indi­vid­u­als who had been in the posi­tion, there would be lots to do.

One of the first things I noticed was wrong was there was no dis­tri­b­u­tion mech­a­nism set up for cor­re­spon­dence. If a let­ter came in from the head­quar­ters that need­ed to be dis­trib­uted to all the con­gre­ga­tion­al lead­ers or if we need­ed to get our cur­ricu­lum orders made, I had to do it all by hand with each per­son indi­vid­u­al­ly. It was the same thing if some­one asked me to print off a report (such as a year-to-date bud­get sum­ma­ry): I would have to track them down to give them the report.

Iron­i­cal­ly, in my office, there was a pigeon­hole attached to the wall. Despite that a few of the slots were labelled, it was used most­ly as a clos­et; peo­ple used it for stor­ing things they didn’t want to bring home.

The first thing I did was clear out the pigeon­hole. I put every­thing into a pile on my desk, and then labelled every mail­slot for each cler­i­cal posi­tion and aux­il­iary in the con­gre­ga­tion.

Fol­low­ing that, I sort­ed through all the mate­r­i­al in the pile on my desk. I shred­ded any­thing over a year old (one item was the min­utes from a meet­ing held ten years pre­vi­ous). I rein­sert­ed the remain­ing items into the pigeon­hole accord­ing to who should own it.

Once I got that out of the way, the next step was to change the process that was used to that point for dis­trib­ut­ing cor­re­spon­dence.

From that point, every time I had to print out a report, I would tell the per­son, “I will print it out and put it in your mail­slot”, point­ing out which mail­slot was his/hers. When I need­ed to copy cor­re­spon­dence for every­one of dis­trib­ute things like cur­ricu­lum order forms, I would put them in all the mail­slots and inform recip­i­ents where they were at our next exec­u­tive meet­ing.

Occa­sion­al­ly, I need­ed to men­tion reminders in the exec­u­tive meet­ing that some mail box­es need­ed emp­ty­ing.

Even­tu­al­ly, how­ev­er, the sys­tem became quite suc­cess­ful and every­one came to rely on it.

I am no longer the clerk, but the sys­tem still oper­ates today. I often see peo­ple come into the clerk’s office to check if any­thing in their mail­slotes.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing and social media tips.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!

Pin It on Pinterest