Thom Rainer wrote a blog June 29, 2016, entitled Seven Reasons the Church Secretary Position Is Disappearing. In that blog, he stated, “Many of the responsibilities of Church Secretaries are being replaced with technology. For the traditional church secretary, it means dealing with telephone calls, letters, dictation, and filing in an appropriate and confidential manner. But look at those items I just listed. They have been, or they are being, replaced with technology. There are not many letters these days, but there are a lot of emails. Assistants are replacing the role of a secretary. Church leaders are desiring assistants who can navigate the world of blogs and social media strategically. Some church secretaries can make the transition; many cannot.”
I have to agree with Mr. Rainer when he says, “Many of the responsibilities of church secretaries have changed because of technology.”
Even the small church we are ministering, we use two virtual assistants. One of our assistants uses an online church management system to record membership, visitors, and giving data from her home. The other assistant prepares our church bulletins from her home.
I agree with Thom Rainer concerning times are changing, but I still think there is a definite need for Church Secretaries.
In the beginning of our ministry in Rhode Island, my husband used volunteers. These women were not computer “savvy”, but my husband took time to train them on the computer to do church business.
As these women gained basic computing skills, the church began to pay them small salaries. When their skills developed, two of his secretaries left working in the church office to work for secular employers who could pay them higher wages.
Although it is hard to find those who truly understand about sacrificing their time for the Lord’s service, I have known of smaller churches where the Pastor and Church Secretary remained in their churches for many years without large financial compensations. They considered the Lord’s work more of a ministry than a job.
In smaller churches, many pastors’ wives usually end up being the church secretary. Sometimes this is not an easy task being secretary to a pastor who is also her husband. I remember many years ago when I was working for my husband, and he didn’t see things exactly the way I wanted him to see them…I would say, “But honey.” One day he was getting tired of my…”But honeys” and said, “OUT!” Don’t, “But honey, me!”
For any Pastor or his secretary, Satan will always look for ways to defeat the work of the Lord, especially if the pastor is working with his wife as his secretary. Satan will do anything he can to get you to divide your loyalty and question your husband’s actions and motives. The following are some tips to help you if you are the church secretary in your church.
• Be spirit- filled.
• Be loyal to Christ and your pastor.
• Complete the jobs your pastor assigns you.
• Be an example of godliness in your attitude and dress.
• Make your pastor appear successful. Never try to make him look ignorant through your actions or remarks.
• Don’t give personal opinions about your pastor’s judgment unless he asks you for them.
• Don’t assume too much authority or make decisions that only the pastor should make.
Since people make first impressions with the first things they see, your dress is important. How you dress sends a message to others of how well you take care of details. If you dress sloppy, people will assume that you’re not qualified and that you have a poor intellect. Not only does your dress show others that you can be trusted, but it also shows them that you know what you are doing.
A few tips about your dress:
• Avoid wearing wrinkled clothes.
• Avoid wearing dresses that are low cut, tight fitting, or too short.
• Avoid wearing big jewelry that might be distracting.
• Avoid wearing strong perfume that could be offensive.
• Avoid wearing so much eye makeup that it draws too much attention.
Depending on the size of your church, your responsibilities might be different than a larger church.
• If your church does not have a receptionist, you must be able to greet and assist visitors and members as they enter the building during the week.
• Answer the phone, check voice mail, and communicate messages to pastor and staff.
• Keep a current list of missionaries the church supports and send monthly support. (Some churches have a mission’s secretary that handles this responsibility)
• Post members’ weekly contributions and send out yearly individual giving records.
• Maintain office equipment by cleaning equipment regularly and recommending needs for the office.
• In smaller churches, the church secretary must also perform legal functions of the church clerk.
• The church clerk usually maintains church membership records, sends for church letters, records received letters, takes minutes at business meetings, writes out different certificates such as baptism, baby dedication, and wedding.
• Maintain a weekly list of the addresses and phone numbers of first-time visitors.
• Send letters to first-time visitors.
• Prepare weekly visitation lists for hospital calls, deaths, absentees, and first-time visitors. Since members appreciate phone calls and cards as much as visits, be sure to include phone numbers on the lists.
• Prepare weekly bulletins or newsletters.
• Keep an up-to-date master calendar of events and gather information about members for weekly bulletins. This includes information such as hospital stays, recent deaths, bridal showers, and weddings.
• Keep an up-to-date master list of address labels for special mailings.
• Supervise all computer-related procedures by updating software and anti-virus programs and backing up church data on a regular basis.
• Pay bills
• Generate reports for pastor and other staff as needed.
• Keep updates for church website current. Although most churches have someone in the church that does the website, the church secretary must supply him with current data.
• Maintain office files by filing them in an orderly system, so that others can locate files quickly.
• Organize key box, supply keys to personnel, maintain a master list of person, key, and issue date of the key.
• Maintain a petty cash fund, replenishing in a timely manner to ensure that funds are available when needed.
• Pick up, sort, and deliver mail daily to staff.
• Maintain an inventory of office supplies and make materials available to staff and members as needed.
• Maintain church calendars with current events.
One church secretary shared these ideas with me about her responsibilities in her local church.
• I assist in counting offerings. I always follow two safe accounting principles. 1st two people take the money (ushers) to the office. 2nd two people count the money.
• I do the quarterly payroll taxes using Form 941. Our church accountant cuts the 1099’s and W-2’s.
• I do monthly auditing and reconciling of church books. I compare church paid receipts and deposits against bank statements to ensure that church books are correct with bank records.
• I prepare the prophet’s chamber and prepare baskets for guests.
If a pastor wants the church secretary to assist with bookkeeping, it would be helpful for her to take a basic course of accounting or church bookkeeping.