Filing Sermon Materials

Please suggest a method of keeping notes, clippings, ideas for sermons, etc., in orderly arrangement so that they are available at a moment's notice.

W. A. Spicer, General Conference Field Secretary

Please suggest a method of keeping notes, clippings, ideas for sermons, etc., in orderly arrangement so that they are available at a moment's notice.

My way would hardly be dignified by the word "method." It is just a way of putting things where I can find them. Fifty years ago, back in 1887, as I found myself evidently settling down into editorial work, I began to keep useful extracts in marked envelopes. That is all I have ever done. Doubtless many have a more systematic method of filing, for I see all kinds of im­proved office filing devices.

But as for me, I have a number of these open-end, clasp envelopes, size 5 x 7%, piled up on several shelves in my cupboard, filled with notes I may want someday. A brief note I came across last month may lie next to one I secured fifty years ago on the same topic. In dealing with historical prophecy, I may find in an old excerpt a phrase that comes closer to the Scriptural language than any­thing I have of recent times. The main search, it seems to me, is for statements by secular writers who redraw the very picture of the prophecy. So, on my shelves I have these oblong envelopes awaiting call to service. I will list a few of the classifications under which I have brought my material, the names of which appear on the outside of the respec­tive envelopes.

On Daniel: Daniel 2, Daniel 7 (empires), Daniel 7 (Papacy), Daniel 8, Daniel 9, Daniel 12:4, etc., with an envelope for each chapter.

On Revelation: Revelation 2, Revelation 3, Revelation 9 (Saracens), Revelation 9 (Turks), Revelation 12, etc.

Miscellaneous Topics: History, Chro­nology, Prophecy, Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, Palestine, Petra and Moab, Primitive Tradi­tions, Gnosticism, Spiritualism, Modernism, the Bible, Textual Notes, Health and Temper­ance, Matthew 24, Signs of the Times, Refor­mation, Religious Liberty, Early Advent Times, Our People, What Others Say, Selec­tions on Missions, Spirit of Prophecy, etc.

There are many other topics, but I have tried to avoid gathering a mass of general extracts. I preserve only short 'notes—a few sentences or paragraphs. I try to have note paper in my pocket all the time, and read anything that might be useful someday. If I hear some one tell something of special in­terest in a meeting or conversation, I make a note of it. From most of my trips I come home with an envelope marked, "For Distribution," and when time permits, these notes are filed in the proper envelopes on my shelves. One practice I follow is never to trust my memory. I try to get accurate information from peri­odical, book, or speaker. If I take a note from a speaker, I write it down quickly at the time. My early stenographic experience has often helped here.

I do not present this as a system or method, but it is a way. It has not taken any time to speak of, and has enabled me to lay my hands on many an item that otherwise would have been lost.                                

W. A. Spicer

[General Conference Field Secretary}


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W. A. Spicer, General Conference Field Secretary

January 1938

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