Every church of sufficient size needs a great church secretary. Here are 7 traits to look for.
Every church secretary needs to hold to strict confidentiality. When someone calls in to speak with the pastor about a sensitive subject that they want to keep private, a church secretary must treat this in the strictest confidence. They are accountable for the messages that he or she has been entrusted with. There is nothing more destructive to a church than sharing with others those things spoken in private. The secretary is often privy to most of the things that are happening in the church and he or she must keep in the strictest confidence those things that are only between the pastor or church leader and the person asking for help or leaving the message.
Too often, prayer requests turn into gossip. This is the reason that many of our prayer requests are given as “unspoken needs.” There have been instances where prayer requests sent into the secretary have been passed along a prayer chain but quickly became bits of gossip that spread throughout the entire church. How sinful it is to have someone send in a prayer request over something that’s very serious to them and then people use that prayer request as gossip. I am sure there have been instances where prayer requests were sent in to the church secretary and by the time the last person on the prayer chain got it, it had morphed into something entirely different. When prayer requests are turned in, the last thing they want is for it to end up like “Hey, did you hear about so and so…they have such and such…and I’m not surprised because…” Church secretaries are privy to a lot of information that no one else is so they must be responsible in how they treat those prayer requests.
One of the gifts of the Spirit is that of administration. My wife is such an organized person and that comes in handy when it’s time to do our taxes. I don’t have this gift and if it were up to me then we’d be in big trouble when the time comes for us to file our tax returns. Not everyone is well suited to being a secretary. Not everyone has the gift of administration. Just because someone desires to be church secretary that doesn’t mean that they are qualified. What if they put off paying the bills or keeping records of expenses? The church secretary is accountable to the church and so any church secretary, even if they don’t have the gift of administration, must be organized enough to ensure that when need, things get done, bills are paid, and records are easily accessible. It’s not always the case but frequently you can tell how well someone is organized by looking at their desk or workspace.
First impressions are truly lasting impressions and so when someone calls into the church, the first person they usually speak with is the church secretary. That’s why it’s vital to have him or her show godly patience, kindness, and mannerisms. If a secretary is short with people he or she can give the impression that the whole church must be like that. Who wants to go to a church where the secretary seems bothered by your call? Why would anyone want to attend a church where they have been treated rudely or as if their time is more important than the person calling in?
You might not think that appearances are all that important but if someone walks into the church, the way the church secretary looks can either help or hurt the image of the church. A friendly and professional appearance and attitude can be the make or break decision as to whether someone wants to attend the church or to be associated with it. Does the secretary smile when someone comes in? Are they cordial or are they too informal? Are they pleasant in nature and easy to speak with? As with the paragraph above, first impressions can make all the difference.
A church is not a business but in many ways, the administrative side should be run like one. A church secretary, if having the responsibility, should ensure that timely payments are made, that all bills are paid when due, that all records are kept in order in the event that a church board or the pastor needs them. The last thing you want is to have the power shut off or the water bill unpaid with vacation Bible school coming up. Not only that, there should be accuracy in church bulletins, no spelling or grammar errors in church correspondence, and no mistakes in the church’s financial records or ledgers.
This might not seem important at first glance but today’s technology often requires good computer skills, experience, and knowledge. Many church calendars are kept by a computer software program. The secretary should also ensure that there is adequate protection from virus’s and malicious spyware and other such computer threats. It’s so easy for someone to send what looks like a legitimate email when in fact, it contains a dangerous virus. They should be able to have at least a working knowledge of how the church’s computer system works, how to update the software, and make certain that there is always up-to-date internet security protection.
There are other important traits not mentioned here that a church secretary must have. Maybe you could add one in the comments section below. They should have good people skills, typing and administrative skills, good communication skills, good computer skills, but also be responsible. They must be someone you can depend on. Someone that will hold to strict confidentiality and that portrays a professional appearance and makes a good, first impression and one that is organized and accurate. A good church secretary can be a great help or a huge hindrance to any church.