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Refresh Your Space

03.16.2015 posted by Chris Marchand

Refresh Your Space

I have this strange belief that the space we occupy can influence and impact what we do. In a strange way, I’m very particular about my coffee mugs because I believe that the mug impacts the taste of the coffee. A well-insulated mug will retain heat longer and thus allowing the flavor of the coffee and the oils to keep from breaking down. This leads to a stronger coffee with a bolder flavor or something like that. If I’m going to drink my coffee quickly I’ll go for my vintage Dunkin Donuts milk glass mug. Okay, so maybe you’re not a coffee drinker. Ever been to a restaurant?

Yeah, at a restaurant the food is kind of important. If you have bad food on a menu then most likely your restaurant will not stay open for long. However, the second reason why people don’t return or try a new restaurant is because the management got the space or atmosphere terribly wrong. I drive past a now since closed Egyptian fast food restaurant every day on my way to Awana Headquarters. I’d love to try Egyptian food. I’m game for trying most anything when it comes to food. However, if I showed you a picture of this place I’m sure you wouldn’t say to yourself… pull over! The space is completely wrong, even if the food was amazing. Okay, so maybe you’re not a foodie and restaurants are not really your thing. Ever been to a youth pastor’s office?

I’ve seen my fair share of youth pastor offices over my years of ministry. They usually look the same. There are empty pizza boxes and Nerf guns (usually mounted on the wall). A wall totally devoted to your stacks of Mountain Dew. Piles of paper scattered everywhere. A bookcase with books that you haven’t touched since your last day of seminary and your first day when you placed them on the shelf. There’s a strange and sticky residue on your desk. Which is either from your dinner last night before small group or from the teens or youth leaders who used your desk when you were not there. There is a pile of clothes in the corner that you’ve been meaning to take home and wash from messy game night. The carpet is old and has that old church smell ground into it because at one point your office was probably the 2’s and 3’s Sunday school classroom. Every day you come in and walk on years of snack crumbs, boogers, and spilled juice. Okay, so what do coffee mugs, restaurants, and youth pastor’s offices have to do with anything?

The truth is that the space we occupy can have a huge impact on how we do ministry. When was the last time you refreshed your space? Or, maybe an even better question is when was the last time you cleaned your space? Now, some of you might totally be against order and structure and your office will remain looking like a page from a Where’s Waldo book and that’s fine. However, here are four things you might want to consider as we are approaching springtime and a little spring-cleaning never hurt anyone.

  1. Can you see the floor? Yep, you heard me right. Can you see the floor of your office? Clutter on the floor of an office can have a huge impact on our ability to tackle problems. When a floor space is cluttered it makes the room appear smaller. In turn, our eyes tell our brains that we have very little room to maneuver with and if you look at the labs at NASA they are not coming up with great solutions and innovative ideas in closets. Clean up your floor space and maximize the size of your room. And to be quite honest if you’re a youth pastor you probably don’t extra square footage to anyhow. Cleaning up your space can have a great impact during meetings with frustrated parents or emotionally distraught students. Working out problems in a bigger room tells our brains to think bigger and not smaller.
  1. Don’t let your students paint your office. Let them paint the youth room or find a space for them to leave their mark. However, the color of your space and what’s on the walls plays an important part as well. Surround yourself with positive influences. Bring in pictures of your family. I love Star Wars so my entire cube is plastered with Star Wars because it sends me back to a time and place where I am a kid all over again. Pick a color that isn’t going to drive you nuts. A good restaurant manager and Chef will tell you that we eat with our eyes first!
  1. Bring life and light into the space. Get a fish tank. Or, if you’re a plant person then bring in the green. Fill your space with some kind of life. If you like hermit crabs then go for it. Honestly, I’d think it was pretty cool if my youth pastor had a lizard or pet spider in his or her office. Our offices can become dead space very quickly. Bring some life and light into the room. My last office had zero windows and was literally the size of a handicap bathroom stall. Bring in a lamp. Get some light and life into your space.
  1. Change something every month. Our spaces can become mundane. Pick something you plan on changing out every month. It could be posters or seasonal decorations. Our brains get tired at looking at the same stuff over and over again. Change out your family pictures. Now, I’m not talking about redecorating your space every month. That would wear me out. However, changing one or two things can really improve your space and give your brain something different to munch on.

Your space should be a place where you feel refreshed. Ministry has enough stress of it’s own. It doesn’t need any help from your space. Take some time over the next week and consider some changes you could make to refresh your space. Clean it up, get some pleasing color on the wall, decorate with stuff your brain can feed on, and reinforce a positive environment. Bring in the “mugs” that help make the coffee taste better.




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