Growing As a Leader: Filing

photo by Daveybot

Continuing to share about personal growth, this week, we’re going to talk about filing. I know what you’re thinking. “Great. Filing. Just what I need is to file more stuff.” Well, it’s not what you think.

If you’re like me, you have a terrible time retaining all the great stuff that you learned while reading. I highlight and highlight, and all too often, the book goes back on the shelf never to be opened again. Did a magically memorize everything I read or highlighted? No.

I created a filing system to help me remember the good stuff I’m learning. My system is quite simple: I create simple word documents by subject, like equipping, success, personal growth, youth ministry, etc… As I read more and more good stuff, I create more and more files. I wait until I have something to file under a certain category before I create a file. For instance, I didn’t create a “theology” file until I had some good content to put in that file.

Then whatever I highlight (or whatever I learn), I “file” away into the appropriate word document on the subject. Basically, I re-type stuff I’ve read or experiences I’ve had into the appropriate word document.

This does two things for me:

1. I’m forced to write out what I am learning, which helps me remember it.

2. I have great information filed away for when I need to go do research on the subject. For instance, when I’m asked to give a workshop on how best to recruit volunteers, I not only use my experience, but I go into my “recruit” file and my “volunteer” file to see what type of good content I can find that will help me build on my ideas and develop my workshop. It’s the same when I write on a certain subject.

What types of things do I file? Quotes, stories, strategies and processes, experiences I’ve had, etc… Almost anything!

A perfect example: the other day I was flying to an out of town meeting. I picked up the airlines magazine to browse through it. I found two great articles about Al Roker (the weatherman on the “Today” show), and Tom Shaw (a former NFL coach who runs some sports camps). As I read those articles, I immediately found value in the lessons they were talking about which I could apply to ministry. (Look for those blog posts later.) So what did I do? I took the magazine home and “filed “ those articles.

It’s a great way to retain great information that can help me in my leadership roles and in ministry. It works for me. Maybe it can work for you.

How do you retain lessons learned from books and other experiences you’ve had?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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