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Admin can be a 'spiritual ministry'

23 November 2012

SHUTTERSTOCK

KEEPING the desk clear of paperwork can be as stressful for clergy as many other more obvious problems, a survey in Liverpool diocese suggests.

To combat the difficulties experienced by clerics, the diocese is offering a one-day course on office administration later this month. The diocese says that, in its clergy questionnaire in 2010, a large number of respondents reported that they were stressed; so this year it organised a survey to look more specifically at the causes of such stress, and what could be done to combat them.

"The response rate was good - more than 44 per cent," a spokesman said. "Administration was a top-three factor in clergy stress. Under the term 'administration', clergy referred to emails and lack of staff available for administration support."

He said that the seminar, on 29 November, at Liverpool Hope University, deals specifically with the management of administration, and includes ideas about how to appoint a parish administrator.

"The course recognises the reality of the situation that many clergy find themselves in, and offers practical support," the spokesman said. "We all recognise that admin is a necessary part of today's working life, but helping people manage this can only benefit their life and ministry."

For a fee of £20, the course will cover the role of an administrator, how to set up a church office, getting the PCC on side, and how to handle paperwork. John Truscott, an independent church consultant who is leading it, also promises to reveal how to make filing fun, and how to deal with the "modern curse" of email.

"I am a passionate advocate of what I call 'creative organisation' in churches," he says. "I long to see this area of church life recognised as spiritual ministry, though out of sight as it should be. The organisation of all resources, including people, is an area of Christian service requiring those specially gifted, together with the Holy Spirit's spark of life. But it is also an aspect of ministry that all in positions of leadership need to understand.

"It is a fulfilling ministry, making right choices, avoiding waste, developing people, and helping them to work together in harmony, all the time seeking to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ."

 

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