Meric Dale Walker, PhD, is the executive secretary for the Jamaica Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica.

While many competencies are considered indispensable for successful pastoral ministry, secretarial efficiency is often sidelined. Yet a critical role of pastoral ministry is the proper administration of the church in evangelizing and nurturing believers to discipleship.

How can secretarial efficiency help pastors to positively impact lives for eternity?

Your home an office

1. Secretarial service in church administration. Secretarial efficiency is a critical resource in the pastoral toolkit for keeping track of appointments; recording names, addresses, and other important demographic details; documenting needs and requests; and following up to ensure effective pastoral service.

Prompt and professional attendance must be given to: making and returning phone calls; writing and replying to emails; composing letters; paying bills; transferring, receiving, and baptizing members; writing minutes; submitting reports; visiting people; attending meetings; organizing services; meeting deadlines; purchasing items; circulating documents; and planning events. Some pastors are blessed with an office administrator—for most pastors, their home is their office. Their work will be much smoother with efficient secretarial operations.

2. Secretarial service to local communities. An efficient organizational system can enable a pastor to render meaningful service to both church and community. Such service involves providing pastoral counseling; performing weddings; blessing babies; conducting funerals; performing house dedications; engaging in school, hospital, and business-place prayers and devotions; giving references for job placements; and offering career guidance. Recognize that you are only one person. Arrange your appointments for optimum service.

3. Secretarial service to the wider society. Every pastor should know who’s who in the wider society, who is responsible for what in the community, and have contact information for respective government departments or ministries. Pastors should be conversant with the community’s social calendar of events and current affairs.

4. Secretarial service in teaching. Pastors have a responsibility to feed the flock and evangelize with sound doctrines. Secretarial efficiency in this digital age can certainly help the pastor deliver the Word with great impact when the pastor knows how to (a) file video clips and sound bites; (b) access graphics, font diversity, colors, and animation; (c) design promotional graphics; (d) critique presentations; (e) monitor chat texts; (f) compile appeal responses; and (g) follow up and document interests.

5. Secretarial service through writing. Writing can reach people with the gospel in ways that community outreach cannot. A pastor can minister by writing columns in news tabloids and intellectual journals and sharing profiles of success through struggle. Letters soliciting assistance for the destitute can be written and grant proposals for community building projects can be made.

Whatever is written from the pastor’s office must be professionally and efficiently done while representing the values and standards of the organization.

A resource in the toolkit

Secretarial efficiency is indispensable in pastoral ministry for accountable and seamless organization, record management and administrative excellence, and the delivery of pastoral care reflective of the thorough ministry of Jesus.

Jesus said, “ ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost’ ” (John 6:12, NKJV). Execute your duties with royal pride and regal class using the best language, following the best protocols, and employing the best professionalism. Give your best service with unfaltering secretarial professionalism and unwavering Christian humility.

Put secretarial efficiency in your toolkit. It is not peripheral to or an appendage for pastoral ministry; it is critical for success.

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Meric Dale Walker, PhD, is the executive secretary for the Jamaica Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica.

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