Maybe it’s the flu, maybe it’s just another cold, but I’ve been less than fully functional for the past five days. I feel like I’m walking around in a world full of jello. People look at me and say, “What’s wrong with you today?” “Uh…,” I respond, “uh, I’ve got a cold or something.”
All of which brings up an interesting point in church administration. At eleven o’clock this morning I realized that I was doing little more than staring at the pile on my desk and the unread email on my computer screen. Then I realized that I have a really long day tomorrow. So I came home, had some chicken soup, and now I’m going to bed. And probably no one will miss me at church, unless someone calls and asks for me directly.
One design feature that every administrative system should have is redundancy. Any administrative system that is too dependent on just one person is too vulnerable — if that person resigns, or gets sick, the whole system grinds to a halt. Therefore, church administrative systems should be designed so that if one person has to step out of the system, the rest of the staff and volunteers can immediately step in and take over.
At the most basic level, this means that filing systems should be understandable to everyone, computer passwords stored in a secure but accessible place, etc. At a higher level, staff and volunteers should have basic knowledge of the jobs of people around them, and training in what to do in case of someone else’s absence.
The key concept in this whole discussion is that administrative systems are designed — which also implies intentional thought, overarching goals, and ongoing maintenance.
The implicit conclusion for all this is that smaller congregations (under 50 active members, which is determined by average worship attendance in my denomination) will have the most vulnerable administrative systems, because the absence of one individual will have a proportionately greater impact — which means that small congregations like mine really have to concentrate on designing a robust, redundant administrative system.
I hope this all makes sense. My brain feels like it’s full of jello, so I’m not sure if what I just wrote is nonsensical or sensical. Is “sensical” a word? I’m going to go take a nap.