As we begin to wrap up 2020 (and there was much rejoicing), it’s time to consider how we can start the new year off right. For church administrators, there are a handful of areas to review and address to set our churches up for a great year of ministry.

Here are several ideas for making the administrative aspect of your church run even more effectively in the upcoming year:

No. 1: Scrub the Church Database

With the need to send out donation receipts soon, this is an excellent time to ensure you have accurate addresses and contact information in the church database (or ChMS). Consider sending an email to everyone who’s donated within the last year asking them to confirm their mailing address. Check with any administrative volunteers to see if they can sort through the replies and update the database accordingly.

If your church management software allows members to log into and update their profile data, that’s even better. Send out an email asking members to update their mailing address and other profile information. Using the motivator of making sure they get their tax donation receipt on-time makes January a great time for this effort.

No. 2: Update the Church Calendar

If your church doesn’t have a central calendar of all events and services, now’s the time to create one. If you do, then it’s merely a matter of making sure it’s current.

Check with each ministry leader to get a list of events and dates for each. Put those on the calendar along with regular services. Talk with the facilities manager about any scheduled maintenance coming up (if you’re having the roof repaired, you probably don't want any significant events happening at the church during that time so putting those instances on the calendar is helpful).

A central calendar helps keep the entire team on the same page and prevents confusion down the road. Of course, we know that external circumstances can cause us to have to change plans on a dime, so putting this calendar in electronic format makes it easy to update when needed.

No. 3: Review/Update Policies and Procedures

When was the last time anyone read (in detail) your church’s employee handbook? If there’s no mention of social media usage guidelines, it might be due for an update.

What about the procedure for counting and depositing the offering each week? If that procedure doesn’t reference how to account for debit card donations in the week’s total, a review is overdue.

There’s no point in having policies and procedures if we don’t keep them current and relevant. This is also a good time to consider if you need to document any new policies or procedures. Work with church leadership to review these documents and update as needed.

No. 4: Develop an Administrative Volunteer Team

Do you spend hours each week mailing out postcards to last week’s first-time guests or adding people from the new membership class into the church database? If so, why not invite a few detail-oriented volunteers to handle some of these tasks for you?

Decide what you can delegate to them, document how you want them to perform those tasks, invite detail-oriented people to volunteer, provide training, and get them started.

No. 5: Review Church Technology Setup

Hard drive crashes, malware infections, and securing your church’s electronic files are potential issues to address regularly.

Consider the following:

  • Do you have a regular backup scheduled for all church computers and the church’s network? Is that data backed up to the cloud or an off-site location?
  • Are all church computers up-to-date on the latest antivirus software?
  • Do you need to upgrade any software programs?

No. 6: Take Time to Refresh Yourself

The Christmas season is both a wonderful and hectic time of year for those on church staff. You’ll likely put in extra hours to prepare for special Christmas church services along with getting ready for your family’s Christmas celebrations.

Hopefully, your church gives you a few days (or more) off after Christmas. Enjoy that time and relax.

No. 7: Schedule Update Tasks

Since your to-do list from now through the end of January is probably a mile long, don’t worry if you can’t get to much of this list during that time. Review your calendar, decide on the best month to handle each of these items, and block off time to make it happen.

There’s so much behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a church. It’s been a challenging year. As you look forward to closing the door on 2020, hopefully, this list sparks a few ideas to make 2021 better for you and your church.