the-church-admins-guide-to-bridging-communication-gaps-3-steps-to-reframe-and-refresh-administrative-processes

The Church Admin’s Guide to Bridging Communication Gaps: 3 Steps to Reframe and Refresh Administrative Processes

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Most of the time, the success of a team boils down to the quality of its communication. A church staff is a delightfully diverse array of people who all have different ways of thinking and communicating. There are big-pictured visionaries, energetic people-lovers, and detailed thinkers, like you. The good news? Despite your differences, you all share a greater vision that brings you together.

As an administrator, you speak a language some of your visionaries might not readily understand. Purchase requests, registration forms, processes and procedures are terms and concepts that often, at best, mean little to the rest of the staff, and, at worst, strike dread into their hearts.

Whether you’ve directly been called “inflexible” or accused of adding unnecessary red-tape to slow down ministry or it’s insinuated, being a detailed thinker in a world of visionaries and creatives can be frustrating. You know that your job is important and essential to the success of your church and the flourishing of experiences and relationships, but the people around you might not make that connection as naturally.

Sometimes, just altering the way you communicate can go a long way to enhance the efficiency of your team altogether.

Reframe tasks in term of the bigger vision

Planning. Budget. Receipts. Approvals. Forms. These words scream to your creative, vision-minded colleagues that “this is boring and will take forever.” Of course, these things are important and unavoidable. They ensure the vision can come to life in a way that is safe, legal, and sustainable. You know that, but it can be harder for the people you work with to connect the dots and see that these processes are PART of their work, not an obstacle to it.

It can help to recognize that when your coworkers complain and procrastinate that it’s not out of disrespect for you or the rules. Chances are they feel overwhelmed, they fear that their momentum will halt, and might not be sure where to start with these processes. They might not understand the importance or how it connects to the part of their job that they really care about. Appeal to these “big-picture” people by making it clear how these detailed tasks are essential to the big-picture.

Connect WHY these things are important and HOW they make their work possible. For example, “we need to collect the last of these permission slips from the youth’s parents before we go on the retreat so we can develop trust with families and create long-lasting relationships with the students” OR “we need to begin planning x event multiple months in advance so we have time to make it as epic as it is in your imagination and distraction-free so people can experience God rather to the fullest.” Everything comes back to seeing God’s kingdom come and building relationships, even administrative work. You see that, so help your colleagues see that, too.

Streamline processes

Another way to set your colleagues (and therefore the whole team) up for success with administrative tasks is to make the processes as easy as possible. Make sure your team knows how to complete forms and put in purchase requests, set clear expectations for budgeting, planning, and deadlines, and make it part of your workload to periodically educate and remind your team of these expectations.

Are there parts of your processes that can be simplified or streamlined? Can multiple forms be consolidated into one, or can you take paper processes online? Can you set automatic reminders or provide seasonal training? The easier you can make these administrative processes, the more likely your team will do things correctly and on time, therefore making your job easier in the long run. It’s a win-win.

Ask for feedback

I’m sure you already get a lot of unsolicited feedback on administrative tasks, but I doubt most of them are constructive. However, if you can become aware of what specific tasks and processes are creating the most pain, the better you can target solutions or fill knowledge gaps. Ask your team what feels unnecessary, what doesn’t make sense, and what could make their jobs easier. Receive their feedback— even if some suggestions are impossible— and use it to prioritize adjustments.

At the end of the day, you and your non-administratively-inclined team have the same goals, the same mission, and the same desires: to see the Kingdom of God on earth and to build relationships. Everyone’s role is important and necessary. Even if you don’t feel recognized or seen for your work, know that it is not only valuable, but essential to the team’s success. Keep showing up and communicating with your team— it takes work, but it’s worth it. You’ve got this.

Emma Tarp, Author

About the Author

Emma Tarp is a writer and worship leader based in Minneapolis, MN. On her best days, she's highlighter-deep in a good book or teaching herself to sew. On her other best days, she's helping passionate folks and inspired businesses put words to their work. Find out more at emmatarp.com.

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