Dear Deacons,

As you all know we’re getting close to having our own Church building, which is very exciting! Before we get to regularly pray in the new Church it is very important for us deacons to be organized and stay organized. This brings us to our fourth Deacon Core Value: Organization.

 

Being organized takes planning and hard work. Staying organized takes discipline and dedication. But before talking about organization, what to organize and how to be organized we will first talk about why it is even important to be organized.

Why is it Important to be Organized?

The Holy Spirit stresses the importance of being organized by saying through St. Paul “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). St. Paul also says earlier in the same chapter “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). In Genesis, we saw that God created the heavens and the earth in order. He also created and ordered the different seasons, hours, days, months and years. We also learned a bit about the organization in heaven, and how there are different ranks, orders, principalities and authorities. Even Pope Kyrillos VI reiterates this by saying “Everything of yours must be orderly and neat, because our God is a God of order, and a God of regularity.”

In order to realize the importance of organization, we can try to imagine a world without organization, all chaotic and messy. In fact it is very hard to imagine a world without organization because nothing will ever function and nothing will ever get done!

Can you imagine traffic without organized lanes? Without traffic lights, speed limits and without bike lanes? Do you think anyone can get anywhere safely and on time?! Can you imagine an airport runway without Air Traffic Control? Without a flight schedule? Without organized gates? Can you imagine a construction site without a Project Manager to organize all the contractors? The painter would show up before foundation is laid, the electrician would start working after all the walls are up, the roofer would be ready before the structure is up, etc..! Can you imagine a surgeon without having an organized procedure? Can you imagine a farmer not organizing the planting schedule by seasons? Can you imagine a deli store without organized aisles?

As you can imagine, there will be chaos, confusion, danger and at least just a complete waste of time.

What to Organize?

So now that we understand the importance of organization, the question is what should we organize? The answer is: Everything that you care about!

If you care about your time, then you need an organized schedule. If you care about your books, then you need an organized shelf. If you care about your clothes, then you need an organized closet. If you care about your work, then you need to organize your tasks. If you care about your lecture, then you need to organize your thoughts. If you care about your spiritual growth, then you need an organized spiritual routine.

 

You’ll notice that in our Church rites, everything is organized. There’s a role for everyone, a time for everything and a place for everything. And this is what provides stability to our Church.

How to be Organized?

Have you heard the saying “Getting to the top is easy. Staying on top is hard.”? The same thing could be applied to organization where getting organized is easy, but staying organized is hard.

To be organized you need to:

  1. Plan ahead: Take organizing a closet for example… You need to plan where your things will go in it. What are the different compartments, where things could fit best, what do you need easy access to and what you need to access often. Planning ahead is key to organization. In the miracle of the feeding of the multitudes, Christ ordered everyone to set in groups of 50 and 100 (Mark 6:40).
  2. Set Priorities: Take organizing your day’s schedule for example… You need to set priorities for all the tasks that you need to accomplish. Figure out what’s important and what’s not so important, what’s urgent and what’s not, as well as figuring out what takes time verses what can be done quickly and in between other tasks. Here’s an example of setting priorities for urgent vs. important tasks:
  Urgent Not Urgent
Important Crying Baby

Kitchen fire

Some calls

1

Exercise

Vocation

Planning

2

Not Important 3

Interruptions

Distractions

Other calls

4

Trivia

Busy work

Time wasters

 

See this article for more details: http://dooster.tenderapp.com/kb/tasks-basics/priority-levels-urgent-vs-important

 

  1. Set a Process: Once you decide to organize something then you’ll need to set a process for accomplishing it. For example when investigating a particular problem then one can imagine the process to be:
    1. Understand the problem and its impact
    2. Understand the goal of what needs to be achieved
    3. Find out what solutions were attempted and why they didn’t succeed
    4. Come up with a set of potential solutions
    5. Conduct a trade-off analysis for the proposed solutions
    6. Pick the best solution
    7. Have the solution reviewed by domain experts
    8. Apply the solution
    9. Compare the actual result vs. the expected result
    10. Make necessary adjustments
    11. In the miracle of feeding the multitudes, can you identify the process that our Lord used? How did He prepare the people? Did He give them the food directly, or did He have others? Who gathered the leftovers and how were they gathered?

 

We just talked about being organized. Next we’ll discuss how to stay organized.

To stay organized you need to:

  1. Have Discipline: Now that everything is organized, you need to have discipline to keep it that way. What good is a process if you don’t have the discipline to follow it? And what’s the point of setting priorities if you don’t have the discipline to observe it?
  2. Commitment: You need to be committed to staying organized. Know that it’s not ok for just this one time that you don’t put the book back in its place. Commitment means that you do it every single time. Commitment will be easy once we realize the value of being organized and the impact of slackness. We’ve all seen our Church closet go from being very organized to a complete disaster in a matter of just a couple of weeks. Is it obvious why now?

 

Unhealthy Extremes

Like anything in life, taking something to the extreme is almost always unhealthy. Food is beneficial, but too much food is unhealthy. Water is essential, but too much water could lead to water intoxication. The same thing applies to organization where an unhealthy extreme is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). We need to be organized because of what organization can do for us, not for the sake of organization itself. In other words, organization is not the goal, but it is means to an end. For example, it might be important to organize all your pencils together, but it might not be important to order them by length and color. Another example is that you might want to put all the plastic bags together in one place, but your might not want to organize them by color and size. If this extra organization doesn’t add any tangible benefits then it’s just a waste of time.

 

Before moving to our new Church building, let’s plan to be organized, and commit to it. This should be the way that our unit will function because as we said earlier without it we can’t even function.