I’m headed to meet with the Administrative Personnel Association at their National Conference this Friday and I find myself totally enthralled. Good church administrators are worth their weight in gold.
I’ve known several and here are some of the qualities I’ve treasured most:
- They are nonplussed in times of absurdity. A man protesting our church (because we had a female pastor) relieved himself in the church parking lot behind his car and when the police came and asked “Who ___ in the parking lot?” our administrator revealed that it was in fact the protester. Things got ugly. She was subpoenaed at the man’s trial. And she was literally asked – if she didn’t see him “do it” – how did she know it was human excrement? Under oath, she shared that she’d grown up on a farm and she gave a detailed description of the varieties of excrement she had come in contact with. True story.
- They keep confidences. One great administrator always knew where I was and with whom for my own protection. She was a lock box.
- They are endlessly polite with difficult people on the phone. I’ve overheard a former administrator teach a retired pastor how to send an email over the phone. I’ve overheard her patiently share telephone numbers when callers couldn’t find their church directory. “Oh here it is!” said one caller after she been given ten phone numbers – one by one – by the administrator.
- They deal with visitors appropriately. A good administrator has excellent emotional intelligence (and knows when to call 911.)
- They make the rest of the staff look good. Their ministry is organizing the rest of us and it’s a gift to the entire congregation.
What qualities do you most treasure in a good administrator? I’d love to share your thoughts with the APA attendees. Thanks.
Image of Elizabeth Moss playing Peggy Olsen on Mad Men. Note: Like Peggy, most administrators are at least as smart as their supervisors but not all of them are female.