What Is Church Administration?
Church administration is the practice of managing a church. Like other organizations, churches usually have ongoing needs. Like, maintenance, cleaning, and landscaping. They often also need a budget to pay for expenses. And someone needs to handle communications. Like, managing the church website and parish newsletter. Church administration often involves making sure these and many other needs are met. Simply put, it’s where business management meets faith.
Keep in mind that church admins typically don’t handle every detail themselves. But they may be responsible for a church’s overall operations. They may manage staff and volunteers. And, they may oversee church events and communications that spread the word of God. The goal: to ensure the church runs smoothly and serves the needs of the community.
What Does a Church Administrator Do?
Church administrators may do the many tasks that keep churches operational. These could range from managing the facility to planning the church’s schedule of events. Many church administrators say that every day is different. Their job descriptions may evolve with the needs of the church. What they do could even change from season to season. But a few basic duties may stay consistent.
One of those duties may be handling the business functions of a church. These could range from paying utility bills and managing staff payroll to holding fundraisers. Churches may also rent spaces, like halls, to the public. An administrator could handle these tasks. Not to mention, balance the account books so the church stays on budget.
Another area of responsibility for church admins may be the facility, itself. Admins may budget for and schedule upkeep of the church building. They may also be responsible for new initiatives. Like, improving the church property. Or buying new furniture for the church hall.
Finally, the church admin is often a crucial member of the church community. They support the pastor, staff, and volunteers. Working together with others, church admins typically help make this gathering place vibrant. That includes staying open to ideas for improvement. Admins may even serve as role models and mentors to church members.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of church administrators may include:
- Manage church finances and budget financial resources
- Run day to day operations and upkeep of the church
- Lead risk management and future planning initiatives
- Manage fundraising efforts, like tithe collection
- Schedule worship services, Sunday school classes, and events
- Collaborate with other church leadership, like the pastor
- Handle human resources duties, like staffing and employee benefits
- Communicate with the parish via newsletters, social media, and other channels
- Represent the church and plan outreach efforts
- Live, act, and treat others according to Christian principles
How to Become a Church Administrator
The path to pursuing a career as a church admin may be different for everyone. But here are a few steps you may need to take:
- Be an active member of your church. Church administrators are often unlike other kinds of management pros. That’s because they typically manage a place of worship that’s central to their faith. To appreciate that role, you may need to grow in your spirituality. It often helps to know the Bible and nurture your relationship with God. So, there’s no time like now to get more involved in your local church.
- Pursue education. Education requirements for church admins may vary by role. As a general rule for administrative services or facilities managers, earning a bachelor’s degree is common. But some may start with an associate’s degree. Or even a high school diploma. Your degree could be in a field like business. It may also be possible to find college programs focused on church management. Like, a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Leadership with a concentration in Church Administration.
- Gain experience. Being a church admin may come with a lot of responsibility. In some cases, these pros gain experience in other roles, first. Serving in a more junior position, volunteering, or pursuing an internship could be some possible ways to prepare. Eventually, you could pursue a role with more leadership responsibilities.
- Earn a master’s degree. Earning your master’s could be a path to learning advanced concepts. Like, those related to leadership, administration, and faith. There are many master’s degree programs that may teach business and management with a Christian lens. Such programs may tackle the complexities of managing faith based nonprofits. For instance, you may find MBA programs with a concentration in church administration. Or, Master of Science in Church Management (MSCM) programs.
- Keep learning and growing. In the 21st century, change happens fast. And like secular organizations, churches evolve with the times. Church admins may need to learn new technology tools. They may need to use different outreach methods to boost church membership. And they may need to keep growing in their own faith. In short, church leaders should make time for professional development. That could be through continuing education courses and conferences. Or a small group retreat. Or simply spiritual reflection.
Church Administrator Salary and Job Growth
According to Payscale, the median annual salary for a church business administrator is $48,945, as of 2021. That means some church administrators earn more than that. And, some earn less. Job growth for church admins is hard to predict. It may depend on need in your geographic area. But according to BLS, for general administrative services managers, job growth is predicted to be 6% between 2019 and 2029. That’s faster than average for other careers.
Church Administrator Degree Levels
Preparing to pursue a church admin career path? Here’s what you could learn at each stage of your education:
Many church admins earn a bachelor’s degree. This could be in an area like business administration or management. In a degree program like this, you could learn general skills for running a business. Like, accounting, finance, and human resources. But it may also be possible to find programs that focus on managing faith organizations. For instance, a bachelor’s in Christian leadership and management. Here are some areas of study you could pursue. Plus, examples of courses and learning goals.
- Church Administration
- Nonprofit Management
- Learn the theory and practice of church admin
- Understand the principles of managing a nonprofit
- Be able to communicate across diverse channels
- Financial Accounting
- Principles of Marketing
- Operations Management
- Learn the skills for managing finances and a budget
- Know how to promote your church and reach new members
- Be able to manage church operations
Some church admins may pursue a graduate business degree. Such as, an MBA. Some MBA programs even offer concentrations in church administration. In an MBA, you may study general business concepts. Plus, a few courses in your concentration. But you could also find master’s programs in church administration, church leadership, and related areas. These may focus on running faith based organizations.
- Security Management in Churches
- Civil Law and Church Law
- Stewardship and Development
- Learn best practices for church security and risk management
- Know the laws that govern church admin practices
- Form a faith informed approach to church stewardship