I’ve been thinking lately about the opportunity churches now have to hire virtual assistants, and whether this is a good option or not. So, we’ll be looking at some of the pros and cons of this in this post. But first things first. What exactly is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who works “virtually” (usually from their home) and performs office and administrative tasks. Some of these that could relate to a church are:
- Answering emails and phone calls
- Scheduling appointments for the pastor
- Paying the bills
- Typing up/printing out the bulletin
- Typing up/printing out the church newsletter
- Sending out cards to the congregation
- Updates the church calendar (both print and website version)
- Makes travel arrangements for the pastor and other staff
- Updates/maintains the website
- Other projects as needed
Advantages of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Let’s start on a positive note and talk about why churches can benefit from hiring virtual assistants. First, if they have a small office and space is limited, they won’t have to rearrange things to hire an additional person to help out – a virtual assistant works from home and many of the above mentioned tasks can easily be done from a virtual office. So, a church can save on space.
Another advantage is that sometimes there is no one in the church who is available or qualified to do the tasks that are needed. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can have someone who is experienced in the work that you need done, and can do it efficiently. You may end up paying them less as they may need less time to get tasks done, and many times, virtual assistants are not given paid benefits.
A third consideration that can be thought of as a benefit, is that there is no temptation to “share” what is heard in the church office. You’re working with someone who doesn’t know the congregation and will not be tempted to repeat what is said. In a perfect world, no one should be doing that, but humans will be human and sometimes they like to pass on things they have heard.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
There may be things that need to be accomplished that require someone to physically come into the church, such as printing up the bulletin (but honestly, as I look over the list of tasks, there aren’t many that couldn’t be done from home.)
You may want someone working in the office who knows the people in the congregation and can offer a more “personal touch” which can be a little more difficult to do if you’re working from your home five states away. Members of the congregation may want to personally know who they are talking to when they call into the office, so this is something you will want to weigh.
There is also the option of having a combination of people working for the church. You might have someone that works in the office and also a virtual assistant to carry out tasks that the office worker doesn’t have time to do or isn’t qualified to do. Depending on the size of your church, this might be two part-time positions, a full-time and a part-time position, or two full-time employees.
Whatever your opinion, I think you will agree that churches hiring virtual assistants is an interesting concept, and one that is likely to become more and more popular in the future. What are your thoughts? Please share them below.
By Laurie Neumann