Do you realize how much administrative work impacts ministry?
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
When we think of ministry, we envision worship, a powerful sermon or prayer at the altar. Those are the central focus of Sunday mornings and rightfully so. However, the careful planning and watchful eyes of church administrators help make those ministry moments possible. Administration is even specifically listed as a spiritual gift (see 1 Corinthians 12:28). While it may not be as visible as what happens on stage, it is vital to reaching hurting people with the Gospel.
Here are just a few examples of how administration impacts ministry:
1. Planning: It brings peace, order and excellence to each service.
From announcements, to the worship set, to the sermon, each aspect of the service is important and deserves careful thought. Advanced planning and communication enables church staff to communicate effectively to their volunteers and frees them up to minister.
If you’re distracted by whether you’ll have enough volunteers, you’ll miss noticing that a volunteer leader seems upset. When you’re worried about whether you ordered enough visitor cards, you may miss seeing the new family that walks in and isn't sure of where to check-in their children.
Also, last-minute chaos will frustrate your volunteers. If you’re not confident about the plan for that morning and give vague directions, they’ll wonder if you know what you’re doing and may lose confidence in your leadership (especially if this is a reoccurring issue).
2. Follow-through is a must: A consistent follow-up process prevents people from falling through the cracks.
The word “process” isn’t often associated with ministry, but a clear, consistent process can ensure that your team doesn’t miss anyone who requests help. When you have a clear process for scheduling ministry appointments, people receive a quick response and feel valued.
However, if people fall through the cracks, most won’t bother asking again. They’ll try to deal with whatever they’re going through alone, will look for another church, or worse may give up on God based on how His church treated them.
Now, I realize that’s not really fair to church staff. After all, fallible people staff a church and mistakes happen. However, when someone is hurting they’re rarely reasonable. When you have a clear process in place and immediately schedule each person for an appointment or call-back within 24 hours, they’ll feel like the church truly cares.
3. Processes and systems prevent risks: They protect your congregation and the church as an organization.
When your accounting team has specific processes for handling the offering that includes multiple people counting it and confirming deposits, that brings order and decreases the chance of even perceived impropriety.
When your children’s ministry staff members have a clear process for prescreening volunteers including a background check; that builds trust with parents, protects children and reduces risk for the church.
When everyone on staff is aware of basic security protocols and knows what to do in case of an emergency, they’ll be a calm and unified voice in what could be a chaotic situation.
Documenting these processes and ensuring compliance doesn't sound very pastoral or ministry-like. However, they enable ministry to happen while protecting your congregation and the church.
This list will make sense to church administrators, but perhaps you’re getting some pushback on these from other staff members. Remember: They don’t process information the same way you do. God gave each of us different gifts — it’s our responsibility to use them for His Kingdom and to leverage them together.
The next time you face resistance to a planning meeting or reviewing a process, tell two stories: One story should illustrate the consequences of not doing this work; the other should help the team understand how this effort benefits them and the congregation.
When possible, use real-life scenarios that you've experienced at your church or that you've read about another church. That can help you make the case by helping everyone understand how it supports ministry.
The work you do is important. Your efforts bring peace to pastors and ministry leaders, as they are confident you have the details covered. When we recognize each other’s gifts and use them together as the Body of Christ, we’re more effective in what we all want to accomplish — reaching people with the Gospel.
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