Drowning in Admin?

Something you often hear clergy bewailing is the level of administration that they have to cope with. In the Patterns of Priestly Practice report there is a chart that shows how much of a sense of calling and how much competence ministers have in different areas of their work. About admin it says:

Administration and organisation appears towards the lower ends of the list on both calling and competence. Further analysis showed that days when more time was spent engaged in this activity were also those when incumbents reported feelings of lower calling fulfilment, less positive mood, greater work-life conflict.

Sadly, the report also showed that administration and organisation was also the activity that took up the greatest amount of time, dominating every morning with the exception of Sunday. I was interested in how many clergy have competent administrative help and how many feel overwhelmed by administration, and these are two of the questions I asked in the wellbeing survey, of the 119 responses here are the results:

Do you have Competent Administrative Assistance (paid or unpaid)?

51% of clergy said they did have competent administrators, interesting almost all the people who have been in ministry over 30 years said yes to this question. Then below is a question from the survey about whether clergy feel overwhelmed by admin, the results have been further divided between those who have competent admin support (in red) and those who don’t (in blue).

Do you feel overwhelmed by administration (red blocks have competent administrator and blue blocks do not)

The presence of a competent administrator is obviously having a good impact on the clergy, although not completely solving the problem of admin overwhelm. It seems to me that it should be seen as a vital role in all parishes, in the same way as we need Treasurers and Wardens. So why doesn’t every parish have one?

I guess the question is how the post is paid for. Do dioceses take a dim view of parishes that pay an administrator but cannot pay Parish Share? Is it short-sighted to take that approach?

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