Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


Administration or Ministry? Part 2
April 9, 2012, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

How much of my time is “ministry” and how much is “administration”–some ask.

The answer is that it’s all ministry.

It is artificial and harmful to assume there can be “silos” in congregational support and leadership.  Everything touches on everything else.  We are a not-for-profit business, to be sure.  We have personnel policies, employees, finances, buildings and grounds, utility bills, computers [grrr!], renters, publications…

But we are also a community of all ages, a religious institution, a mission-driven organization.  We are  a network of learners, leaders, volunteers, visitors, donors, and many stakeholders of many different perspectives.

In this community, we are all consumers and producers of ministry.

All the above shows why it can be complicated and challenging to be a church lay leader, staff member or minister.   Whatever your role here, once you are working in a church, that role becomes “Job Title” plus Ministry Provider.

A key ingredient in this ministry of administration– as in all kinds of leadership:   communication.  Communication matters among staffers, and between the church staff and our members and volunteers.   Communication is the linchpin of any large or vital organization, especially a congregation.  Most frustrations or catastrophes in church life come from bad communication, wrong assumptions, and  misunderstandings.

As is normal in an active and changing church, I devote about six days a week to most areas of congregational ministry and leadership.   A big chunk of this is in supporting our office and program staff.  I also support the program council, board of trustees, treasurer, finance committee, and property management committee; and have conversations with personnel committee leaders.  Again, communication is key.  Listening, following up, speaking, and following up.

I meet once or twice a month with each direct report for a 60-90 minute conference.  I set the agenda and lead staff meetings biweekly; I thank our Music Director for attending so we can build better understanding and mutual support among key members of the whole team.  I also hover around the main office and RE office a lot, so I can be present to staffers, tuned in to what’s going on, and handy for quick questions.

This is on every staff meeting agenda:

UUSS seeks to promote an environment in which ministers and staff support one another as members of a team whose primary purpose is serving, supporting and encouraging the members and volunteers.

I appreciate the talent and dedication that our staff members bring to their work here, and I appreciate them:  from our part-time child care providers to our custodians, from our music staff to our office staff.

I hope you do too, and that you remember to say Thank You to them.  We want to say Thank You to you also.  You are why we are here!

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