Editor’s note: April 27 is recognized as National Administrative Professionals Day. Take this opportunity to thank your church secretary or ministry assistant for the ministry they perform for your church.
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
MURFREESBORO — Church ministry assistants strongly believe there are more “pros” than “cons” when it comes to serving in the same church where their membership resides.
Of the approximately 120 church ministry assistants who attended the meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Secretaries Association, held March 14-16 at Belle Aire Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, approximately 90 percent of them indicated they belong to the church where they serve as ministry assistant/church secretary in an informal survey conducted by the Baptist and Reflector.
Numerous reasons were cited as to why they thought it was beneficial to be both a member and an employee of the church. Among them:
• “I have a personal interest in the church. It’s not just a job.”
• “It is family, although not by human blood, but by the blood of Jesus.”
• “I know the people and what is going on.”
• “There is close fellowship and unity. People are caring.”
• “It’s easier to connect with the people you serve.”
• “You understand the decisions you make affect the church.”
• “The church is your priority.”
• “Serving God and serving my Jesus Christ.”
• “Being able to minister to those during difficult times and being able to worship together.”
• “It’s a blessing to get to know the members.”
• “I have a large support system.”
Those who love working where they are members acknowledge there are “cons.” Among them:
• “The phone always rings, and I do work before and after services.”
• “You are always on call for everything.”
• “People try to get me to join their side of an argument or to be involved in church gossip.”
• “I can’t share concerns or troubles I’m having. It travels fast.”
• “Sometimes I get cornered for office business during my worship time, and I get things handed to me at random times during the service.”
• “You see the ‘ugly’ of your church family.”
• “More people are working where they worship at because of relationships and that they can help minister more because they are familiar with the ministries and people at the church,” observed Heather Beard, who serves as liaison with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board and TBSA.
Joy Clay-Corby of the TBMB staff, who has been affiliated with TBSA for more than 30 years, agreed.
Working and attending the same church gives the office a personal touch. You get to know the families, see them grow and become a part of the church family,” she said.
“However, many say it is easier to not be a member where you work,” she continued.
“They are allowed to be members and participate in the activities without being the go-to person all the time. As in everything there are pros and cons to the position. It really depends on the person and if they can truly worship with their family and be the assistant,” Clay-Corby said.
Amanda Anderson, financial secretary for First Baptist Church, Dayton, is a member of New Union Baptist Church in Dayton. She also is the immediate past president of TBSA and currently serves as the East Tennessee representative for the organization.
She, too, acknowledged there are pros and cons whether you work at the church where you are a member or you attend a different church.
In her role as financial secretary, she believes that it is important for her to not know sensitive information such as a family’s finances.
On the flipside, however, she is not as privy to everything happening at the church where she is employed.
Ultimately, she noted, the ministry assistant/secretary and the church must decide what works best for them. B&R