In every congregation I’ve been part of, a church secretary like you has been at the center of the congregation’s health and vitality. I’ve known some of you as colleagues, others as friends and one as beloved in-law! From those relationships and those experiences, these words of appreciation.
Some of you have job titles that more closely characterize your ministries—e.g., parish administrator, executive assistant. But whatever the title, your day-to-day presence is critical for the congregation’s function as an enterprise. If pastors are the glue that holds a congregation together, you’re the lubricant that helps it run smoothly!
The functions of the congregation—all the thousands of details that might not be noticed or accomplished—rest on your shoulders. You’re on-the-ground, in the thick of things and a communication hub whose spokes extend from the pastors through to every member.
Because of that role, you may also carry on your shoulders and in your heart a share of the weight of congregation members’ sorrows and joys. You’re the voice on the phone—the person who first receives and relays critical messages. You keep track of everything (keys, documents, forms, equipment, files, reports) and everyone (volunteers, folks in the hospital, visitors, community organizations, staff families, former members). You’re sometimes the de facto congregational archivist and historian.
What may not get noticed: How you become the face and voice of the congregation in the community. When people come by the office, call the congregation or inquire via social media or e-mail, you’re likely the person they first meet. You listen appreciatively. You ask good questions. You welcome people with warmth and kindness.
Part of your service—something few people may know—is your presence in times of crisis. You may be the first or only person to deal with an unwelcome visitor, the sudden malfunction of utilities or a tragedy befalling a beloved congregation member. You make use of every personal character trait you possess to take care of these situations right away.
And so we don’t forget: You’re loved by the members of your congregation. You know these remarkable people as they most want to be known. You’re dependable, patient and intuitively prescient about their needs and possibilities. You’re like a pastor to some of them! Because you are a servant leader, you’re held in high esteem.
And so we pray for you, as you pray for us…!
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