6 Things I Learnt About Admin While Working For a Church
Lessons in admin, leadership and doing it well.
I worked as part of the leadership team in a medium sized church for eight years. During those eight years, I learnt a lot about church admin — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are six lessons I learnt.
- Admin can make or break your church.
Perhaps you think that is an exaggeration. And perhaps I am being somewhat emotive here. But the truth is I have watched many church teams expend great deals of energy only to miss out on the fruits of their hard work simply because they had poor systems in place. If a church is like a vine, then good systems are like the scaffolding upon which the vine grows. A vine can still grow without structure, but it will never reach its full potential, and its fruit will get trampled into the ground. Your church needs good admin systems to fulfil its full potential.
- Think strategically.
A good admin system needs to be married to a well thought-out church strategy. You need to figure out exactly what you are doing, and then you need to ask “How can we use our admin system to serve these goals?”. Once you are clear on that, get the team together, and get everyone on the same page.
- Everyone needs to get involved.
Having good systems means more than hiring a talented administrator. Everyone on your team needs to understand what systems are in place, and how to use them. There needs to be 100% buy-in from everyone on the team.
The right way to get buy-in is to talk about how these systems can help your church fulfil its mission. The wrong way is to simply announce or decree that “things are going to change around here!”.
- Build a strong admin culture.
Buy-in doesn’t come from a once-off conversation. It’s a process. Prove you are committed to making it work by dedicating 10 minutes in each of your staff meetings to fine-tuning the processes and building a strong administrative culture. If you don’t, things will just atrophy. I promise.
- Everything rises and falls on leadership.
While it’s important that the team buys-in 100%, the senior leader needs to be the champion. Everything rises and falls on leadership. If the senior leader is disorganised and doesn’t value good systems, then the rest of the team will follow suit.
If you are a leader who struggles administratively, face up to it. Deal with it. Confess it to your team, and get people alongside you who can help and coach you. Too much hangs in the balance for you to neglect this critical responsibility.
- Technology is your friend.
If you are thinking of using paper and pen, or Excel, please don’t (unless your context demands it, of course). These systems can work, but it’s the 21 century, and we have come a long way. There are free, or really well-priced church admin systems out there that can truly benefit your church. Stop putting it off. Go find them.
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