Church Admins: Handling Last Minute Requests
Church admins are some of the busiest people working in a church. Due to the nature of the job, sometimes work blends into your personal life and vise versa. It’s tough, there’s a lot of moving parts, and it requires a ton of personal investment to make things run smoothly.
Before we continue, know this – you are appreciated, and while not everyone may know how much you do, the church wouldn’t be able to operate at the level they do without you! But it can be difficult to convince yourself of that when you feel like you’re letting others down.
The difficulty of working as a church admin is that you are always put on the spot to execute things at a moment’s notice. Last-minute requests come in from the worship pastor, lead pastor, other staff members, and maybe even volunteers, and it can be super stressful to attempt to make it all work out.
So, with that said, here are some things to keep in mind, questions to ask yourself, and quick tips to consider as you navigate handling last minute requests as a church admin!
Know When to Say “No”
You’re probably aware that everyone thinks you’re a magician who can make anything happen (and you’ve probably felt like one from time to time!) It’s true that great church admins can get a lot done efficiently and effectively without much notice. But just because you are technically able to make something happen doesn’t mean you need to say “yes” all the time.
You have to know when to say “no.” As a church admin, your work wiggles its way into your personal life all the time, and you probably feel some of the stress of that job at home. Unless requests are incredibly urgent, or are for major services like Christmas or Easter, you have to be ok with telling people “no.”
If the thought of taking on a specific last-minute request is going to put undue pressure on you or take away from important time and responsibilities at home or work, you might have to decline.
Avoid Affecting Other Service Elements
Everyone involved in service planning has preferences for how things should flow, and while most of the service timeline details are discussed in advance, you undoubtedly will get requests last minute for changes.
The thing to keep in mind is that you have to make sure any requested last-minute changes won’t affect other elements of the service. This is what mid-week service planning meetings are for – you want to make sure the worship pastor isn’t stepping on the lead pastor’s toes or vice versa. Your media team, worship team, worship pastor, lead pastor, and anyone else involved in the service on a Sunday morning is prepared to handle the service as-is; making last minute changes that impede on anyone’s involvement can cause for major disasters and frustrations.
Even if it’s something as simple as switching around the order of the slides or a request for minor design changes, make sure that you check with the media team or designer to confirm they can get them done in time before you confirm you’re able to make the changes.
Us people pleasers really have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver as a result of overcommitting. And when people are asking for last-minute requests (that are often quite large at that), you may feel a gut instinct to say yes to everything they’re asking.
Understand what’s reasonable. They may not even understand the full scale of what they’re requesting from you, so don’t think that they expect you to be able to do everything. Recognize what you have time for, figure out what you can reasonably get done, and be transparent about that conclusion. Overcommitting and under-delivering is much worse than being honest up front about what you can realistically handle.
Think Outside the Box
You may not be able to make it happen the exact way they are asking for, but spend some time considering other methods to make something similar or a variation of what they’re asking for happen (of course, only after running it by them.)
As said before, when it comes to last minute requests, not everyone understands exactly what it is they are asking for. For example, pastors rarely understand the ins and outs of what you can do with your presentation software, or how difficult it is to modify a sermon series graphic and what would need to be done to accommodate their requests.
If someone is bringing a last-minute request your way that seems too far stretched to finish in time, don’t turn them down right away. Maybe ask if you can get back to them in a couple of hours and spend a little time thinking outside the box to come up with a variation of what they’re asking for that could work out.
About the Author
Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as Big Daddy Weave and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the CCM worship scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris serves as the Creative Director at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts and tutorials on production, stage, Ableton, music, design, and tons of other topics.