Four Reasons I Keep a Notebook


I just finished filling my notebook.  For a year and a half, I've lugged it around and filled it.  It's not a journal or a diary.  There's little self-revelation there (that's part of what YoSteve is for).  But my notebook is very important.  Here're four reasons I keep a notebook ...

1) Notes

I know right, shock, notes in a notebook.

Leaders should take notes because they should expect to teach.  We should expect to need to know this stuff.  In one ear and out the other isn't an option for us.

Every sermon.  Every seminar.  Every good book.  These all deserve our best attention.  For me, this means taking notes (and occassionally reviewing them).


2) Prayer reminders

Since my notebook travels all over the place, it great for keeping track of my prayers.  I like tracking my prayers and I need lots of help being grateful.

On top of this, I use visual reminders to pray.  The Post-Its on the right are a reminder to pray for W&L students who aren't connected to God.  All year, these Post-Its in my notebook had me praying.

Any object that goes with you everywhere works for this purpose.


3) Theological reflection

Writing can make complex theological ideas more understandable.

The Trinity is a classic example.  Check out this picture of the Trinity.

In my notebook, I try to capture moments of theological insight.  They're precious because they're so rare, so I don't want them to disappear.

It can be scary to write down your theology.  We live in a culture where changing your mind is seen as a weakness, rather than a strength.  But it's hard to replace the clarity that comes from writing something down.

4) Preaching outlines

The last things you'll find, if you flip through my notebooks, are preaching outlines. I love to preach out of my notebook.  It communicates that the idea from this sermon is something I think is worth remembering and is something I've been processing myself.

I put the main idea at the top of the page, in big letters and surrounded by squiggly lines, reminding myself that this is the main thing I want people to hear.

Beneath, I have a classic point-by-point outline, occassional pictures and drawings, Bible references.  (The picture to the right was from a talk I did on Building a support team for short-term missions) Simple.  Useful.  That's what I'm looking for in my notebook.

Do you keep a notebook?  If so, what's in it?

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