More than a Secretary
At the heart of me, I am an administrator. I love the behind the scenes of ministry. I love being supportive and since becoming a senior pastor I have learned how to be supported. Making the list and checking it twice is a habit that I have grown to appreciate and value. Watching ideas manifest, visions appear and dreams dance make me glow. Glow like the glow of the night light. Not too bright to overshadow the work, but brilliant enough to show the way in darkness. I love to see the finished product when all there was were skeletal outlines with abbreviated definition. When the correct pieces connect and the preparation aligns with the design, I am ecstatic. I love going above and beyond the call of duty. Making the extra seem easy and the difficult arrested by conquer. When rubber meets the road is where you will find a great administrator and generally they are wearing a smile. Ah, but behind that smile is generally a pain or disappointment that onlookers never even dare to consider.
To the core of me, I believe administration is an undervalued and underappreciated gift in the Body of Christ. An anointed administrator is no mere secretary who offers 80wpm typing assistance. They are more than a file clerk and a key turner. A kingdom administrator is far more than your spreadsheet and or word document preparer, calendar maintainer, appointment maker, coffee cup deliverer, and in some cases family chauffeur. Their skill set includes but requires more than typing, filing, book keeping and proper telephone etiquette. Although oftentimes treated as unimportant, administration is the backbone of any successful agency, organization or organism (as the church prides herself on being). Allow me to share a quick story that may assist with making the Body of Christ and those in Christian leadership more aware of the value of this ministry that is the heartbeat of church positioning.
It is Easter Sunday and the church is expecting an influx of visitors. Handbills were distributed in neighborhoods, radio announcements were purchased and aired, families were given special invitations to request the attendance of their friends, coworkers, and extended family. The church has been beautifully decorated with nicely scented Easter lilies. The drama ministry was hustling backstage preparing for its biggest ministry rendition of the year. The regular church members were excited and the pastor was in his study anxiously waiting to mount the platform to deliver his sermon to his annual standing room only crowd. It’s 9:55am and the service begins at 10am. Suddenly, he hears a knock on his door and immediately upon his positive reply deacons enter his office in an uproar. The church is only partially filled and there were no guests to be found in the crowd. This was highly unusual because Easter Sunday has always been THE Sunday when the sanctuary is filled to capacity. The deacons reported there is no normal traffic jam and the parking ministry is not needed. By now, it’s 10:10am and the pastor finally decided to start the service without the crowd. As service is nearing its end, hundreds of people begin to show up. The parking lot is in a state of confusion as the attendants rush out of the building to try to bring order and give direction to drivers who appear to be confused on where to park. As the new crowd begins to enter the building one of the deacons approached a family and said, “Good to see you, but we are almost done.” The perplexed look on the husband’s face made the deacon step back a moment. The deacon then asked, “Is this your first time visiting with us?” The husband responded, “Yes. We are new to the area and we have not found a church yet. We received this nice flyer in our door and we decided to come here; but I guess maybe next time.” Reaching for the flyer, the deacon instantly saw the problem. The start time on the flyer was 11am and not 10am! Apologizing to the family, the deacon ran to the front of the church as the pastor had just offered benediction and handed the pastor the flyer.
When the pastor saw the mistake, he went to his office and called the church administrator to the office. He asked her to compile all of the Easter Sunday marketing materials and all of the materials read 11am. Not only was the time wrong, but on several documents, the church’s address was incorrect, the website was not mentioned on some and to his surprise his name had also been misspelled! How did this happen? The only explanation the administrator could give through her tears was, “Pastor, I have been overwhelmed by requests from every ministry in the church. I tried my best to complete each one as everyone said how important their needs were. I picked up repaired instruments from the music store for the band. Helps and Hospitality needed more coffee for the breakroom. The ushers needed more offering envelopes and the trustees had forgotten to order them so I ran around town until I found a copy store that could reproduce immediately. The dancers needed new uniform tights and the bank needed a signature on our new account for petty cash. We didn’t have enough cones for the parking lot and I had to pick those up. When the florists couldn’t deliver our lilies I had to borrow Bro. Smith’s truck and pick them up myself. Pastor, I’m sorry. I wish I would’ve paid more attention to my job.” Of course, the secretary was apologetic and deeply saddened by these mistakes. However sorrowful, however saddened, Easter Sunday flopped on the dotted line.
Seems like too much? Absolutely, but this can be the scenario for any church. Too whom much is given is not appropriate for this situation. The church administrator was apparently overworked and possibly overlooked until the holiday faux pas. Administration can be a make it or break it part of any church and can be either a blessing or a burden to a church leader. Don’t forget they are human and if spread too thin, holes will begin to appear that may ruin the most important planned events. Will you do me and yourself a favor today? Hug your church administrator. They may need it!