Most people don't see how administration impacts Sunday morning services or what happens at the altar. However, what they don't realize is that the functions of the back office can have a direct impact on ministry. Here are a few examples:

Example 1: Guest follow-up

You likely have a card for visitors to fill out during service. If you don't also have a proper process for collecting, recording and following up on those cards, then you may miss an opportunity to minister to those individuals.

Also, visitors will wonder why they bothered filling out the card if the church they visited didn't take the time to contact them afterward.

Example 2: Salvation decisions

When someone comes to the altar to give his/her life to Christ, that's a significant decision and moment in that individual's life. That's definitely not the end of their journey as a believer, and they'll need encouragement and guidance to continue along the path of following Christ.

When you gather their contact information, let them know about your "next steps" or discipleship classes and follow up with them within a week, you communicate how much you care about their decision and that you want to help them grow in their faith.

Example 3: Volunteer signup

You need volunteers for weekly services and special events. When you communicate with your volunteers, provide them with appropriate training and information, and ask them well advance to serve at special events, you demonstrate that you value their time and service. This builds trust and mutual respect between you and your volunteers.

Since these back-office processes are important to ministry, how do you know if your processes are working well? Here are a few tips:

Tip 1: Talk with your team

Find out if they're following the process as documented. If there isn't documentation for a process, then have them create it based on what they do now. Then review the documentation with them and determine if you need to make any adjustments.

Ask if they think the process is working well. If not, find out what improvements they recommend.

Tip 2: Talk with volunteers

Ask volunteers who recently started serving (within the last 3-6 months) if the training they received was sufficient. If not, find out what additional information would have been helpful for them.

Talk with those who have served at an event in the last few months and find out when a staff member asked them to help at the event. Did they get that request two days before the event or two weeks prior to the event? If the answer is less than two weeks, that's a process you may want to improve.

Tip 3: Survey recent guests

Either send out an online survey or have individual discussions with people who started coming to your church within the last year.

Did they fill out the contact card when they visited? If so, did anyone from the church contact them within a week of their visit? If they made a decision to follow Christ recently, did anyone from the church follow up with them shortly thereafter?

Based on what you learn, you might have a few processes that need attention.

Improving these processes probably won't require months of effort or a large budget. However, making appropriate changes can have a significant impact. People are at the other end of your administrative processes, and they will feel cared for and respected when you ensure they don't fall through the cracks of a broken system.

Remember these examples the next time someone wonders why you insist on following or improving a procedure. What happens behind the scenes truly makes a difference in the lives of those who attend your church.