I love working in the kingdom -- wouldn't trade it for any other occupation in the world. Serving in the kingdom of Jesus is a calling and a privilege. To share and to see growth in the lives of God's children is so rewarding. So fulfilling.
Yet in my time of ministry, I have discovered the backbone of the local churches belong to those who are called "Secretaries."
During the first five years of my work as a Preaching Minister, I served as the Church Secretary. Two smaller churches, unable to afford additional staff, meant most of the secretarial duties fell my way.
I can still remember one particular Christmas holiday season in Hot Springs Village when the demands of fatherhood overrode my ability to get a bulletin prepared for the Sunday-after-Christmas. One of the elderly ladies in the church really took me to task for falling down on the job in failing to have a bulletin ready. "I've been going to this church for over 10 years," she said to me pointedly, "and never once have we had a Sunday worship without a bulletin."
As I learned that day, expectations of those who work in the office of a local church can be rather lofty. It's easy to take the person who produces the weekly bulletin for granted...until one Sunday without a bulletin goes by!
Later on in our time at the Village, we grew to a point where the office administration was handed off to a secretary. Jeanne Lessman became our secretary and was amazing. Jeanne loved ESPN Radio. She participated in a fantasy football league. She had a phone presence and a warm spirit that made everyone who stepped into our office feel like a million bucks.
During our short sojourn in Marble Falls, Texas, Ann George (Ms. Ann as she is affectionately called) overwhelmed me with her work ethic. In her 70's, Ms. Ann could outwork anyone half-her-age! She was tireless and as a leader of the Women's Ministries at Marble Falls, provided guidance and support in tangible, profound ways.
At Woodward Park, I have been blessed to be most closely associated with Barbara Lawley in our office. Neva, Heidi and now Tracy have also worked in our office, but the person who spearheads our office staff is Barbara. Barbara is a multi-tasker extraordinare! Her zeal for her task is top-notch and she coordinates so many good works at Woodward Park from her desk that the work flows seamlessly and effortlessly thanks to Barbara's coordination.
This morning, I am especially grateful to God for these three ladies and for the impact they've had on the effectiveness of my ministry. Not only have they been my personal help, they've been a backbone in the churches where I've worked.
When was the last time you expressed your thanks for the secretary at the church where you attend? It's a demanding task that often goes unnoticed (unless a bulletin is missed) and always under-appreciated. Why not plan today to do something special for your church's secretary.
She deserves it!