Admin Tips for Pastors!
by Bethany Bell
1) Email Inbox
Treat your email inbox as your "to do list".
My top admin tip is to treat your email inbox as a 'to-do or to-respond-to' list.
Once you have actioned an email, delete it or move it to a folder, this leaves your email inbox uncluttered. Do the same for your "sent items", but treat it as your 'waiting for a response or action from someone else' list. Therefore, the only emails left in your inbox or sent items are those that need to be actioned, all other emails have been filed or deleted.
Using this simple tip can declutter not only your email account but your mind & your task lists.
2) Paper is overrated!
If you don't need it, throw it away.
Paper makes clutter and causes many of us to feel overwhelmed . . . don't keep what you don't have to (and be RUTHLESS)!!
Spring clean your paperwork as you go;
- Throw out what you don't need!
- If you get sent mail you don't want to receive, click unsubscribe or contact the organisation to be removed from the mailing list.
- If you've dealt with something - throw it, file it or scan it to your online files.
Action now to save being overwhelmed later... just looking after our sanity!
3) Get others engaged
Involve others in large and small tasks.
Some administration is unavoidable for us - unfortunate! . . . however, we can learn to do it well & there are often people willing to help!
Don't be afraid to engage people for 1-2 hrs a week or for regular tasks (collect and sort mail, banking, paying bills, taking attendance, newsletter, event coordinator, etc). Many of our churches do not pay an administrator; therefore, getting others engaged in small amounts is super helpful and empower others. As a wise man once said, "better 10 people doing 1 job each, than 1 person doing 10 jobs".
4) Don't reinvent the wheel.
Take advantage of free online resources.
Save time by using templates or online programs. Word and Excel have plenty of templates, there are also many available online + check out our "downloads" section and the websites we recommend. There are many ways to get a great product without painstakingly doing it yourself. If you love admin, go right ahead, but, for those who don't - don't reinvent the wheel.
5) Save time later.
Filing takes a little time now, saves a lot of time later!
Even I cringe at the thought of "paper filing", however, I know that the benefits far outweigh the pain.
Creating a filing system (whether paper or electronic) is highly beneficial;
- It reduces clutter!
- Saves time when searching or locating needed items.
- Assists when multiple people need access to the same materials or when there are staff changeovers.
- Also, it helps determine whether you actually "need" to keep it.
When setting up a filing system the best thing you can do is - keep it simple. The more complicated it is, the less likely you are to use it.
NB: I personally prefer electronic filing... I save documents into folders on my laptop, rarely keep paper versions. So, do whatever works best for you and your team!
6) Ask away.
Google is your best friend!
Have an administration, governance, policy question or need a resource... ask away!
Here are some suggestions of people you can ask;
- Google (pretty much knows everything)!
- Fellow ministry contacts
- Natural administrators in your church
- Regional or State office for your denomination
Administration is unavoidable (and let's be honest, it can sometimes be extremely frustrating), but when done well it is a great blessing!