Establishing Structure in the Church Office

Developing an Organized Church Office—Part 1

If you serve on the support staff of your church, you play a critical role in the daily success of the ministry! Don’t forget as you are daily mired in details, questions, problems, lists and the needs of people, that you are helping your pastor do the work of the ministry.

The Bible has much to say about organization and order:

  • Titus 1:5: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:40: “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Foundationally, I want to remind you that YOU can be organized. Some people think being organized is something you are born with—either you are or you aren’t. I don’t believe that. I believe some people are more prone to be organized than others, but I strongly believe that anyone can learn to be more organized.

How should your office be structured?

The People in Your Office

I encourage you to establish consistent hours. Choose what your office hours will be, put them in print, and stick to them. During those hours, have the offices open and someone answering the phone. Your church family and community need to be able to reach a live person. There are ladies in your church who are willing to volunteer to answer your phones one morning or afternoon each week—it doesn’t have to be you!

If you are the leader of the support staff in the office, then you need to know everyone’s schedule. This shouldn’t fall on the pastor—he has enough to do. Keep a spreadsheet of each person’s schedule. I know this takes time and consistency, but please don’t neglect it. Have a “big picture” view of the office by knowing what is going on and who is doing it. You also need to provide consistent oversight to those supporting your pastor. You need to inspect what you expect and regulate what you delegate. These aren’t just trite sayings—they should govern how we spend our time.

Make sure certain tasks are done daily like: 1) checking the church email and voice mail and returning messages; 2) posting the outgoing mail and getting it to the appropriate place for the postal carrier to pick up; 3) sorting and distributing the incoming mail; 4) keeping the events calendar up to date. You can probably add others. Don’t let these daily tasks build up. Make sure someone is doing them each day.

Ask the Lord to help you see strengths and weaknesses amongst your support staff, and strive to move people’s responsibilities toward their strengths and away from their weaknesses.

The Resources in Your Office

The resources in your office also need to be structured. We need to be wise stewards of the resources God has provided us. Office supplies should be stored in a location where people can get to them—not locked in one person’s drawer to which no one else has the key. Develop a checklist of needed office supplies and take regular inventory of what you have. If the shelf is empty, it is time to order!

Also make cleaning a priority. Encourage everyone to clear off their desks and take out the trash at the end of each day, and schedule weekly time to dust and vacuum. I also encourage you to plan an annual time to clean every closet and drawer, shampoo carpets, paint, and make needed repairs.

Develop a system for storing annual supplies. After the holidays, put Christmas lights in a labeled bin and store it in an out-of-the-way, but accessible location. If you tend to forget where you put things, turn to November 1 on your calendar and write yourself a note: “Christmas lights are in blue bin at the top of the closet in Room A.”

This is part one of this article, click here to read part two.

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