A church secretary is integral to the smooth operation of a church. They typically handle the administrative responsibilities and provide a wide range of support to the pastor and his staff. They are the first person visitors and newcomers come across at the church, whether by phone or in-person, and is essential to the church's public image and outreach. Critical qualifications for anyone occupying this position are discretion, a positive attitude, strong problem-solving abilities and excellent interpersonal skills.
The church secretary is responsible for dealing with frequently sensitive information about church and community members. Empathy and discretion are key qualities for a church secretary, since she is often privy to congregation members' marital, financial or health concerns. She handles requests from people, both within and outside the church for financial, counseling and emergency support, and must therefore remain current about locally available resources.
A church secretary needs strong word processing skills and basic computer knowledge, excellent communications skills and familiarity with office equipment such as copiers. They should also have the ability to effectively perform a range of office-related duties, such as ordering supplies, managing the church schedule, maintaining files and handling church correspondence, as well as scheduling maintenance personnel and deliveries. In smaller churches, they also help with bookkeeping and accounting duties. In most cases, a church secretary also helps to maintain the church's website.
Much as a corporate secretary provides support to her boss or a group of managers, the church secretary takes care of the administrative and support requirements of the pastor, assistant pastor and other church staff members. This includes answering phone calls and taking messages for the church staff, assisting them with correspondence and scheduling issues, recording minutes at church staff meetings and working with senior staff to advertise and fill staff vacancies.