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How To Set Up Church Administration: 7 Key Steps For Lead Pastors

The peaks of serving in ministry and setting up a church are seeing the fruits of your labor in new church members, salvation, baptism, and more. But the reality is, there is so much that goes into building a church that leads to those moments, such as finding out how to set up church administration. 

Church administration is one of the least exciting parts of creating a church body but it is no less integral to our mission than anything else. In fact, without the organization, structure, and guidance of proper administrators, a church can struggle in every other avenue. 

While it is challenging and sometimes frustrating learning how to set up effective church administration, I hope to simplify that for you. I know from my own experience that budgets, paperwork, software, documents, and all of that can be boring and tedious, but it is worth it. Here’s how to set up and implement church admin in a proper way. 

I’ll cover:

What Is Church Administration?

Before we go any further, it is necessary for you to understand what church administration is. All at once, church admin responsibilities include anything and everything. It is the firm backbone of your ministries from a financial and organizational standpoint. 

All of the structure for your church and your general physical and metaphorical foundation comes from your administration and God. I love how Dylan Miller put it in this breakdown of what you need to know about church administration: basically, the intentional, God-centered method by which you organize all of your resources and church members to love God and love people as the Bible calls us to. 

The stewardship of your financial budget, the structure of your church body, managing church leaders, scheduling, church event details, contact information, and countless other areas are part of your church admin. 

Why Is Church Administration Important?

The importance of properly set up church administration comes from the fact that it sets the foundation for everything else in your ministry. Without it, you have an unorganized mess with no real structure that will struggle much more than it needs to or should.

Church administration brings necessary and oft-ignored order to what is otherwise a wild and surprising journey in which we follow Jesus. Spontaneity and flexibility are absolutely crucial to bringing in new members to the church, but we often forget about the thoughtful organization that can retain and empower those members. 

Church administration provides the basis from which everything occurs within the local church. It connects the dots between ministries and is the gateway for everything to happen in a peaceful manner. 

Your church admin leaders bridge together your food bank, your homeless ministry, buses, youth group, children’s center, and anything else that makes your church one complete package. This unity is essential for successful churches who wish to continue the mission of spreading the Good News for many generations to come, especially as church growth occurs. 

How To Set Up Church Administration?

The nitty gritty of setting up church administration is not nearly as fun as other parts of your church building. That said, these steps will, hopefully, simplify the process in a slightly less frustrating way. I took these steps from my own time serving as part of a church admin team. 

1. Step Back and Take a Look

Before you can ever have a fully set up church administration, you need to take a moment to assess your unique situation. Every church is different and should be handled in its own dedicated manner. Some of the sections you should look at include: your current structure, various ministries, day-to-day schedule, and staff members. 

The key here is to see an overview of your current situation so you have an idea of where to go from here. This is also where you take a look at the savings your church has, your estimated income each year, and so on. The point here is to look at everything you currently have and write it all down in a clear manner. 

2. Hire the Right People

Once you know and fully understand your situation, it is time to move forward with building out your church admin. It is at this point that I recommend starting to hire the right people for the job with detailed job descriptions. Creating your dedicated administration will cost a fair bit of money but it’s ultimately worth it.

You don’t need to hire your full administrative staff right now, but it is at least worth hiring an administrative assistant and chief financial officer, as well as designating someone in charge of corporate structuring who knows about managing a non-profit. With these fundamental positions filled, you can truly start to create something viable. 

3. Plan Your Infrastructure

With a few members on your staff to be your administrators, you can start to plan out your infrastructure. This includes your general organization for the church as well as financial details like fundraising. It is here that you build out a map of your entire church and its ministries. 

Which ministries are your focal points? Which ones fall under other ones, such as the bus team answering to the youth ministry? How many staff members does each department have or need? What is the budget that you’ll dedicate to each ministry and why? 

This is also where your church staff organization comes into play. Who is in charge of which ministry? Who is the contact point for information regarding your women’s groups, for example? Who leads your various ministries and keeps everyone in check? Where do the church board members and the senior pastor come into play? 

Your infrastructure is a vital part of your church administration, so take your time with this part and truly consider every single section equally. I recommend waiting a few weeks and then reevaluating what you came up with for your infrastructure once finished. This way, you can make changes with a clear mind, if necessary. 

4. Create a Modern IT Department

In the 21st century, the internet dominates the entire world and our culture. It needs to be an active part of your infrastructure, and should be set up early on. I recommend that every church have a full-on IT department or at least an IT technician in charge of everything. 

Your IT person should take care of your computers, software, church website, and other equipment to ensure that it is up to date and capable of everything you need it to be capable of. Each ministry should be equipped with the most recent hardware and software to be able to budget, plan, and execute actions accordingly. 

This is not a place where you cut costs and compromise as you will need the best that you can possibly afford, in terms of both equipment and people, to properly livestream, take photos, share on the internet, and connect your departments together. Your IT department is one of the binding forces between everything that happens in your local church. 

5. Define Your Procedures

Part of the job of your church administrators will be to come up with detailed documentation and procedures for everything that happens in your church. This is where you create your business proposals, mission statements, risk management sequences, and much more. 

The responsibility of the church admin is to provide information about every single aspect of your church. Define all of your ministries, the roles of each church staff member, the steps for every possible scenario from good to bad, and leave no room for surprises. This is how you organize your church in the best manner possible. 

6. Dedicate Your Resources

Part of the administration’s responsibilities are to figure out the best way to allot the resources, both financially and otherwise, for church operations. This is where your accountant and other staff members come into play, as they can focus on the church budget for each ministry, and ensure that you aren’t overreaching. 

In addition, there is the matter of manpower at the same time. The members of your church, including church leadership and volunteers alike, are also resources to allocate in the various outreach ministries and, like money, some departments need them more than others. 

You only have so much available in terms of people and funds so it’s your administration’s job to distribute them adequately. 

7. Set Up Leadership and Goals for Future Success

Once you finally have your church finances signed off on, everyone is comfortable in their positions, and the church needs are met for each of your ministries, it is time to look to the future. The church administration isn’t just there to evaluate and execute on the current situation in your local church, but the future, too. 

Administrators should help plan for the future, and should be a part of creating the various goals that you have planned. The admin team is your source of planning for how you’ll go about funding various projects and how they’ll get done. 

In addition, they can assist when it comes to expansion and knowing how many new staff members you’ll need down the road and how to go about making that happen. This will all help you set up for future success. 

Church Administration Software for Proper Church Management

A large part of the way that a church administration handles its business is through using dedicated church management software designed to assist with various features and needs. Sure, you’ll need the standard software like Google Workspace, Microsoft Excel, Word, and so on, but there are special programs, too. 

Alexandria Schmidt previously broke down the 10 best church administration software you should consider for your congregation. These go far beyond the traditional spreadsheets and slideshows you might be used to, and help to elevate your administrative capabilities. 

With church management software like GoDoChurch and others, you’ll be able to keep track of employee info, volunteers, church members, events, financial resources, tithing, and more. Administration software is necessary for organizing church communications between departments more easily.

Through the use of this software and with the help of a dedicated IT person, you’ll be able to more easily do the above steps of allocating your resources, planning ahead for the future, creating documentation for all situations, and more. 

How Social Media Fits Into Church Administration?

Church administration encompasses so much throughout your ministry, from the financial side to the organization aspects and beyond. Without a doubt, this is why you need to have a dedicated team of administrators to sift and make sense of every element of your church body. Learn where you can get dedicated church administration training here.

This includes social media, which is a cornerstone of church admin and church marketing, which I didn’t even touch on in this guide. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other apps are all invaluable components of the internet today for every church out there. Navigating those sites can be overwhelming, but I hope that my previous breakdown of everything you need to know about church social media marketing can help. 

By Cody Perez

Cody began serving at the LA Dream Center in 2014. He was later promoted to outreach manager and assistant director of the children’s ministry at the Dream Center and its church, Angelus Temple.

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