The church secretary is an essential element in the smooth functioning of a church. She typically runs the church office, handles the administrative responsibilities and provides a wide range of support to the pastor and his staff. She is often the first person visitors and newcomers come across at the church, whether by phone or in person, and is therefore an important part of the church's public image and outreach. Discretion, a positive attitude, strong problem-solving abilities and excellent interpersonal skills are critical qualifications for anyone occupying this position. The church secretary is most often a member of the church where she works.
Secretarial and clerical duties are the primary function for most church secretaries in the fulfillment of their duties. The typical church secretary needs strong skills in word processing and related computer knowledge, excellent communications skills and familiarity with office equipment such as copiers. She should also have the ability to effectively perform a range of office-related duties, such as ordering supplies, managing the church schedule, maintaining files and handling church correspondence, as well as scheduling maintenance personnel and deliveries. In smaller churches, she may also help with bookkeeping and accounting duties.
Much as a corporate secretary provides support to her boss or a group of managers, the church secretary takes care of the administrative and support requirements of the pastor, assistant pastor and other church staff members. This includes handling phone calls and messages for the church staff, assisting them with correspondence and scheduling issues, taking minutes at church staff meetings and working with senior staff to advertise and fill staff vacancies.
Church-Specific Administrative Duties
The specific duties of a church secretary vary depending on the size and location of the church, the church's denomination and the congregation and local area served by the church. In most cases, however, she handles the production of the weekly church bulletin or order of service, helps with church notices and newsletters and helps maintain the church's website. She may be responsible for ordering religious materials, producing a church directory and overseeing who has access to the church facilities and resources. The church secretary typically also handles ordering flowers for weekly church services.
The Personal Touch
The church secretary is responsible for dealing with frequently sensitive personal information about church and community members. Empathy and discretion are key qualities for a church secretary, since she is often privy to congregation members' marital, financial or health concerns. She handles requests from people both within and outside the church for financial, counseling and emergency support, and must therefore remain current about locally available resources.
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