Saying “Thank You”

Christmas Table Decoration

Looking for ways to thank volunteers this holiday season?

Here are a few creative ideas to try:

  • Present candy canes with the message “You’ve earned your stripes!” on a tag or label.
  • Host a drop-in hot chocolate party to celebrate their sweetness.
  • Hand out peppermint candies to your volunteers with the message “You’re worth a mint!”
  • Give each volunteer a bag of microwave popcorn with a label that says,
    “Popcorn is a kernel that magnified it’s calling. Thank you for magnifying the Lord in yours!”
  • Write a personal thank you note that includes an aspect of the volunteer’s personality or a special blessing he/she has been a part of this year.

These are also nice ways to express your appreciation for co-workers and ministry partners outside of the office.

Of course, a warm smile, a gentle hug and a spoken, “Thank You” are an added bonus any day of the year!

2013 “The Heart Of It All” Registration Form

Our 2013 conference for ministry assistants is Saturday, September 14.

Follow this link for a registration form: 2013 EVENT FORM

What is a ministry assistant? A ministry assistant (MA) is a male or female, full, part-time or retired, paid or voluntary, worker in the church office (or other department) who performs clerical, administrative or financial functions. In other words, an MA might be a secretary, administrative assistant, treasurer, receptionist, media specialist, etc. who assists a church in fulfilling ministry work.

The Ohio Ministry Assistants invites you to come and spend the day learning something new, meeting someone new and seeing new ways to better serve your church!

Special instructors include Officer Jeff Crumbley of the Miamisburg OH police department and Yvon Prehn of Effective Church Communications,

Additional inquiries may be sent to


“The Heart Of It All” Fall Conference for Ohio Ministry Assistants



Ohio Ministry Assistants Fall Conference
for volunteer/paid/retired church support staff
(secretary, administrative assistant, treasurer, receptionist, etc.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Morning Star Baptist Church
Nutt Road, Dayton OH


Further details will be posted on June 18
to our blog and Facebook pages.

Posted by Advertising and Events Coordinator
Darlys Bullock


Spring Planning


Dear Friends:

A shameless plug for our Annual Conference, Set Sail for Service, Saturday, June 9 from 9 AM-3 PM at First Baptist Church Groveport in Groveport, OH. The event is for all ministry assistants in Ohio (volunteer or paid) who would like to spend the day with other ministry assistants, get encouraged, have some fun, enjoy a meal and worship the Lord.

For more information, see the registration form, 2012 OMA Set Sail for Service Registration Form.

And now, today’s blog…

Before you know it, summer ministry time will be here. Vacation Bible School, summer outreach programs, staff vacations and more will have an impact on your weekly schedule (and stress levels). Take a little time out, brew your favorite beverage and put it into a fun cup (like the pink one in the picture above) and look at your summer calendar.

“In April?” you say. Uh-huh! Experts tell us that we should be advertising events 8 to 12 weeks in advance of events that we would like for our church families to attend. And before you get worked up about what that means on the front end for you… ordering materials, planning the advertising, printing schedules, etc… think about what a relief it would be to be doing these tasks this far ahead of the actual event. Imagine not responding at the last minute with publicity that doesn’t show off your best work, but putting out A+ promotion ahead of schedule, breaking the project down into bite-sized mini-projects spread over months or weeks instead of days (or hours)…

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it’s not impossible. Even if the rest of your staff isn’t in line with this idea right now, you can change their approach over time. Start by setting deadlines out a little further. Talk to other staff members about the benefits of long-range planning. Show how pre-planning eliminates over-scheduling of key volunteers and keeps church members from feeling overwhelmed by simultaneous activities.

Through communication and careful planning, your calendar can become your friend, a tool that you use… and one that doesn’t use you.

Darlys Bullock
Executive Ministry Assistant
Urbancrest Baptist Church

2012 OMA Set Sail For Service Registration Form

2012 OMA Set Sail For Service Registration Form

Conference details and registration form. Please print and send your registration to the address listed on the form. Welcome aboard!

2012 OMA Set Sail For Service Registration Form

2012 OMA Set Sail For Service Registration Form

Conference details and registration form. Please print and send your registration to the address listed on the form. Welcome aboard!

The Church Secretary, the most powerful person in the church.

Many thanks to Lisa Townsend (Edgewood Baptist Church) for submitting this week’s blog idea… After you’re done wiping the tears of laughter from your face, check out more of Jon Acuff’s work at

Darlys Bullock
Urbancrest Baptist Church

The Church Secretary, the most powerful person in the church…

May 26, 2009

A few years ago I got invited to have a meeting with Andy Stanley and a few other folks from NorthPointCommunityChurch. (If Rick Warren is the Lebron James of modern church life, then Andy Stanley is the Kevin Garnett. Team player, skilled beyond his years and able to rock the pulpit like few other people on the planet.)

When I walked into the office to meet with him I was already a little sweaty. I approached the secretary in the lobby and said, “I’m here for a meeting with Andy Stanley.” She didn’t outright laugh, but I’m fairly certain her feet giggled a little under the desk. With around 25,000 people attending North Point, I’m sure she is used to seeing her fair share of folks who wander in and feel like they might have something important to tell the pastor. She was incredibly polite and said, “I’ll see if he’s available. Why don’t you sit down in the ‘crazy person’ section of our lobby and I’ll type up your request in my invisible typewriter.” (That last sentence was not true and was a direct steal from an episode of the Simpsons.)

Eventually she let me into the inner sanctum of the offices and I was able to go have the meeting. But sitting there in the lobby, watching her control the entire church world from a central command post I was reminded of a fact I often forget:

The secretary is the most powerful person in the church.

It’s not the pastor. It’s not the elders. It’s not the deacons or even the pastoral search committee.

It’s the church secretary.

But they’re a mysterious lot. So few documentaries have been able to accurately study them in their natural habitat. And I’m not foolish enough to think that I possess the intelligence or the agility to properly document the life of a church secretary.

Instead though, I encourage you to send this list of questions to them. See if they’ll invite you into their world, if only for a brief moment, so that we church members, we civilians if you will, can understand what is going on in the heart and mind of the church secretary.

Here are the questions I have:

1. Should I say “Church Administrative Assistant” instead of “Church Secretary?”

2. Do you have a “cuckoo person in the lobby” emergency button under your desk?

3. If so, can you please tell me who it notifies? (I bet it’s the janitor. Every church janitor I have ever known looks like they could cut you. Not would, but could. And not deep, just enough to let you know trash cans on wheels are not designed for races.)

4. Is it true that sometimes you write funny messages in the bulletin just to see who notices?

5. When you’re mad at the pastor do you ever send him off to fake lunch appointments just so he’ll sit in some restaurant and stare at his watch for 30 minutes and be out of your hair? I probably would.

6. Do you have an arch nemesis that works at the church? It’s gotta be the youth minister. They make the biggest messes, use the most liability waiver forms and probably occasionally do pranks that involve you needing to call animal rescue services to remove a small woodland creature from the sanctuary.

7. If you don’t have an arch nemesis, who would you leg sweep? I’m talking members, staff, volunteers. Who is getting the leg sweep?

8. How long did you keep the secret bathroom all to yourself without telling anyone else it existed?

9. Does the pastor ever tell you to create a rule so that certain people’s emails go right to the spam folder instead of his inbox? Am I on the list? Shoot me straight.

10. Do you ever shot block volunteers out of love? Someone tells you “My kid is great at that Wii thing. I think he’d be good at designing your church website” and you reply, “Nah, we’re good. Thanks though.”

11. Are you ever tempted to wield the office supply requisition form like a powerful weapon? “Oh hey, you didn’t remember professional admin day this year. Hope you enjoy the cheap bic pens that come in a 400 pack.” That kind of thing. Ever do that?

12. Has a worship leader ever tried to write off hair product as a work expense?

If you’re a church secretary, please feel free to set the record straight.

If you’re not, but have a question of your own, please add it to the list.

Do you agree that the church secretary is the most powerful person at a church?


“Out of the Box” Learning Resources

Did you ever think of taking a scrapbooking
class to advance your publishing skills?Image

Believe it or not, a scrapbooking class might help you polish your typesetting and designing skills for your publications (both print and web), ministry displays and even directional signs for visitors!

Recently I came across a scrapbooking class in typography offered online. For $14 I get two weeks of online instruction via video, PDF file, emails, live chats with the instructor and class assignments in learning to use fonts better… all from a designer with over 20 years of experience in the publishing world!

The “Wow Factor” Bonus? I own two of her books on scrapbooking so I already know her work is clean, classic and easy to follow. What a deal!

I started my class today with a 45-minute online presentation. Great basic information geared toward journaling and titling on scrapbook pages… but wait, there’s so much more! (Infomercials are everywhere…)

With a little imagination I can see how this new approach to the fonts I use on my computer every day can translate into better newsletters, brochures, blogs, websites, signs and displays. That’s quite a value for my $14 investment. I think I’ll see online classes in the future with from a different point of view!

[My online class is called Ten Tips for Better Type with Cathy Zielske and is provided through They also offer free classes and signing up for the website is also free.]

The Church Bulletin: More Than A Pot-Luck Notice

Church bulletins are notorious for
typographical and grammatical errors like:

“Ushers will eat latecomers”

“For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.”


“Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to the church secretary” (LOL!)

But your church bulletin can and should be a vital part of church communications… educating your congregation and supplying them with information on events and opportunities to serve. 

At this time of year as congregants prepare their tax returns, simple reminders can help members with end-of-year giving guidelines. Please click on the link below to read more about ways to help your congregation with simple bulletin notations.

Managing Your Church: The Church Bulletin as a Tax Tool.

A Brand New Year

A brand new year. Isn’t there something wonderful about the thought? Like a clean slate or a blanket of fresh snow. Something that is untarnished – just waiting to be written upon, walked through, molded into a creation never seen before – and all done with your special, unique touch. And all of this is just the way God intended for you to do, lightyears before you knew Him or were even born.

Most of us are probably cleaning out last year’s files, labeling this year’s and deciding what should be stored and what can be shredded. You might be working on the February newsletter, this week’s bulletin or those dreaded end of the year donation letters…

Whatever your task in the days ahead, remember that it’s OK to tackle problems with creativity. God made you an individual, so give each area of your responsibilities your personal touch.

This week’s article for ministry is called Four Ways To Leave The Office On Time. It’s an excerpt from HOPE Online and is from the book, How – and Why- To Leave the Office on Time by Gayle Hilligoss.

 “Sorry, honey, I have to work late.” Do you find yourself caught in that cycle of never quite having your work done? Here are four ways you can begin to change your perspective and leave the office on time.

 Realize that the work really is “never done.” There will always be a project, some paperwork or some other task that will need to be done at your job the next day. Stop buying into the false mindset that I can’t leave until “I’ve got all my work done.” Certainly you may have gotten your work done FOR TODAY, but (and this is a good thing!) there will be more tomorrow. So, learn to let go at a reasonable time knowing that you can pick up with the project tomorrow.

 Set a personal limit. If you are paid by the hour, your employer may set the limit of hours you spend at the workplace. However, if you are salaried, or you tend to stick around “until it’s all done,” even working off the clock, think again. Set a personal limit for the number of hours you will spend on vocational pursuits per week.

 Underestimate what you can do. I have a tendency to overestimate what I can get done in a period of time. I forget to allow time to breathe, read, handle interruptions, create, brainstorm, etc. When you make your list, cross off about 20% of it. If you happen to have leftover time, you can always pick those tasks back up!

Communicate. Sometimes we feel pressed by the demands we feel others are placing on us. However, it’s possible that if we simply communicate openly with our co-workers and bosses, they may be willing to cooperate to come up with a more realistic plan. Don’t ever assume how someone will react. It’s always worth trying to communicate.