Working with a nonsupportive pastor.

A church secretary was in tears when she came to work one Monday morning. She had left her desk in the church office neat and tidy on Friday; by Monday morning it was covered with scribbled notes, leftover Sunday bulletins, fingerprints, a wad of Kleenex, and broken pencils and scraps of paper.

Another church secretary declared she was ready to quit. She had announced a deadline when items for inclusion in the church newsletter were to be in her office. The announcement was made repeatedly—several times in the Sunday bulletin, in the newsletter itself, and posted on the church bulletin board. But on deadline day, just as she was typing the last page of the newsletter, the pastor handed her another announcement that had to be included. “It’s from Mrs. Jones,” he said. “She forgot you had a deadline.”

Another church secretary gritted her teeth as she attempted to type a Sunday school roster. At a vacant table in her office, located but a few feet from her desk, were several church members sipping coffee, talking, and laughing. Every now and then one of them would stop the secretary to ask her a question, or to involve her in their discussion. When the pastor entered, he greeted the people warmly, and joined the conversation.

All three of these church secretaries work with pastors who are not supportive, or pastors who are not using good principles of office management. Certainly the pastor must work on his sermons, call on members and prospective members, attend meetings, and attend to many more details in doing his job. But it is also his responsibility to see that the church office is managed well. This includes overseeing the church secretary and helping her to use her time well.

The church ...

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