Over the past few days we have been rearranging bedrooms in our house. This has meant that I have a new study. What a blessing! It also means I have been thinking about the kind of space needed for preachers. Some thoughts:
1. Space does not have to be literal. Over the past few years I have worked in the corner of our bedroom, in a tiny room, in a larger room, on my netbook in my car parked in the Surrey hills (think Gladiator opening scene, only without the war raging), in a cold church room with a fire pumping out heat, and so on. Often we don’t have the physical space we need, but it is still worth thinking through the space we need to create for different aspects of ministry.
2. There is a difference between an office and a study. A while back I read the comment that pastor’s have replaced their study with an office. This weekend a good friend of mine noted the difference between a study in the home and an office in the church – largely in terms of interruptions that tend to come in the church, but can be avoided at home (people there understand the need for space!) He told me how he’d put his phone in a cupboard. It can ring, but it doesn’t always feel immediate and urgent. Nice approach. Anyway, the fact remains that there is a difference between an office and a study. Whether they are in the same space or not, they serve different functions. My experience of combining the two is that the office tends to win. I’ve had to leave the office to get to the study, if you see what I mean?
3. Don’t let the business of life and ministry drown out the eternal work that occurs in the study. Emails and phone calls and administration and distractions abound in the office. If we aren’t careful, the prayer and reading and thinking and study that takes place in a study can be forfeited. I now have a bigger study. Solution? I’d pondered a separate desk for study purposes. Instead I’ve gone with a huge leather chair from a second-hand store. I love it. At least, I will, once I get the room organized enough to reach it! And if I don’t? Then it will be a daily reminder that the office work at this computer and filing cabinet are stealing me away from what I claim to be most important.