The first 5 things you need to do church admin well
When setting up your admin, here are a few tips that will go a long way to ensuring future success & simplicity
1. A central location
I’m not talking about a building or a place for your church, but a place for files so all staff and appropriate volunteers can easily access it. Have you asked (or been asked by) a pastor for a piece of information and they have no idea where to find it? They might list a few names of people who might have the document/powerpoint/password details to something with little idea how to access it them self. This is a huge waste of time and efficiency!
I can not encourage this enough - you need one location where all the appropriate people can access the necessary information they need quickly and easily.
I personally love Dropbox for its ease of use and the way you can access everything even when offline. You can download Dropbox onto your computer so it sits as a file in your Finder (on a Mac) and whenever you are online it will update any changes to files automatically and is very simple to use. It is absolutely worth the small monthly cost for 1 whole terabyte of stored information! Some other good ones to consider are Google Suite and OneDrive (Microsoft).
2. Management of Church Finances
This one may seem really obvious but you really need a person (or team of people) who will manage the tasks associated with church finances.
You may have a treasurer and a leadership team who are helping make decisions and doing a great job wisely allocating funds, however you need people who are able to manage the practical tasks that come with managing finances. For example, who’s is keeping track of and paying invoices (on time!)? Is there a system in place for reimbursements and keeping an eye on the budget? Is there someone on top of your staff’s MEA accounts?
A highly capable administrator may be able to do all of the above but it’s likely you need a well-functioning team including a bookkeeper, administrator and your treasurer. If you can get this happening, it will be a huge burden removed from your shoulders and will allow you so much freedom to get on with what needs doing.
At this point, I really want to recommend Exdia Bookkeeping Services whose expertise in church and ministry finances is second to none!
3. Sunday Service Prep
Are you, as the Minister, able to turn up to church on Sunday not having to worry if the powerpoint is going to be correct and that the bulletins or service outlines you may utilise have been printed?
If the answer is no, then I want to encourage you to work towards that goal. It can be possible!
If you’re unable to hire an administrator to do this then it is worth finding people in your congregation who have the skills to do so. Show them that you value admin as a ministry and that putting together a powerpoint (as simple and boring as it may seem!) is a way to serve the body of Christ.
Once you’ve found the right people, work together with them to get a smooth system going from rostering to emailing those serving, to creating resources for Sunday (bulletins, powerpoint, orders of service etc.) and making sure it gets put into your central location for future access and use.
Of course, there will be weeks where things have been forgotten or something will have gone wrong. But just imagine, turning up to church most Sunday’s and it’s all sorted!
How do you communicate with your people? Are you relying on church announcements to get details across to your congregation? If so, it’s not enough!
In 2018, there is more information being thrown at people per second than in any other time in history. For your people, church info and details is lodged in their minds somewhere between the latest Netflix series they're watching, the last podcast they listened to and the latest meme they saw! It’s becoming increasingly more important for churches to communicate wisely.
What I mean by that is by using the best platforms to reach your people, using numerous (and the correct) platforms and choosing your words wisely.
If you’re sending an email out; make sure it is clear, looks good, easy to read and contains no more than 3 different points of information. Please avoid wasting your time sending out an email with overly wordy recaps and reminders or events that are more than 2-3 months ahead. Your people just will not bother reading it. Consider capping your email at 250 words max and be smart about how you’re going to use those words. This article has some really helpful tips on writing a great email to your church.
If you’re using social media; make sure it looks good, it’s really clear and succinct. Feel free to use an extra interesting graphic that might grab their attention or give them a giggle. Again, keep it short and simple - to the point!
If you’re doing announcements up the front; consider having only 3 announcements max and keep it to two mins. Your slides should also not be overly wordy, only have the necessary details and make sure people can read them from where they are sitting. People will switch off very quickly as soon as there’s an announcement that doesn’t involve them. Be confident that your other platforms will reach the people the announcement is relevant to and don’t feel the need to give every little detail up the front.
If you’re picking up the telephone to personally engage someone; I applaud you! And encourage you to continue to do so. Nothing beats the personal invite.
Rostering can be a huge, tiresome and frustrating task. Over and again we (at Virtual Church Assist) are engaged by churches who are tired of spending hours on creating rosters and dealing with swaps, confusion and missing information. If I’m honest, I don’t think anyone has completely solved the rostering issue for churches but there are ways to make it a little simpler for you.
Online software such as Planning Centre & Elvanto can be excellent tools to help with rostering.
Minimise the number of emails and spreadsheets you’re using, do your best to consolidate it all into one place and if you can, create rosters on a 3 month basis.
Expect more from your people - make it clear when you are asking people to serve what level of commitment is expected. Often the more you ask of them, the more ownership they feel of the area of service and will be empowered to perform their role well. If they can’t be there when they’re expected to, make it clear that they are the ones who will need to find a replacement.
Make sure there is only one roster - not multiple versions floating around creating confusion!
Avoid double-handling at all costs! See my first point above.
If you can, don’t use a member of pastoral staff to do your rostering. It’s a huge waste of their time and can be done by a volunteer or paid administrator.
In saying all of that, I’d love to encourage you to consider moving to teams instead of rosters. Here’s a great chat on The Pastor’s Heart that contradicts what I’ve just said, but definitely worth a listen!
One final thought worth mentioning:
Have contact details for your people in one central, easily accessible location. Whether that’s an online database such as Planning Centre, Elvanto, Church Community Builder or a Google Sheet that can be shared (to the appropriate people only). If you can, create segments or groups of people so you can contact the correct people each time and you don’t have to clutter people’s inboxes with unnecessary info. In the long term, this will save you so much time!
Taking the time to get these 5 things running well will create efficiency and freedom in the long term. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts on the above or if you’d like further help with setting up your systems.