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How a Virtual Assistant Frees You to Pastor Your People
By: Tricia Sciortino

You probably didn’t go to seminary to become a CEO, did you?

And yet, as a church leader, that’s exactly what you’ve become. Not only are you responsible for teaching and preaching each Sunday, you’ve now become the key leader who oversees human resources, finance, facilities management, and a whole host of other issues.

You’re essentially running a business, and for some leaders it’s not even a *small* business—your budget could be in the millions of dollars. You’re likely doing it all on your own, with a very limited support staff, and because of the sensitive nature of many of the issues you’re handling, there aren’t many people you can trust to support you.

If this is where you spend most of your days, then you need a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are supporting leaders across all industries, but this unique work model makes tons of sense for ministry leaders in so many ways. Here’s why.

1. Virtual assistants give you your time back.
A virtual assistant becomes your command center for so many of the projects that are eating up time you want to spend focusing on your congregation. A virtual assistant will triage your email inbox, and only have you respond to the messages that absolutely need your attention. She’ll help you manage your calendar, and serve as the gatekeeper for all those requests for time that are piling up. Work with her to establish the people, groups, and projects that you want to make a priority, and she’ll make sure those get on your schedule. She’ll handle your personal appointments, make travel arrangements, assist with sermon research and editing, help you manage new projects—whatever is on your plate that is keeping you from doing the work you really want to do and connecting with your congregation in the ways you really want to do it.

2. Virtual assistants help you process your projects.
With so many demands on your time, it can be hard to know where to start. A virtual assistant can help you process your “To Do” list, and identify those tasks that only you as a leader can do and those tasks that you need to delegate to others. And if she’s a great assistant, she won’t hesitate to hold you accountable to those decisions when you’re tempted to take those tasks back!

3. Virtual assistants keep you connected.
Having a virtual assistant who monitors and helps you manage your communication—email, voice mail, social media, and the rest—means you’ve got another ally in helping you build and strengthen your relationship with your congregation and their relationships with each other. You can’t be everywhere or hear everything, but your assistant can certainly help you build better relationships. Even from hundreds of miles away, virtual assistants can help your staff and volunteers connect with each other and help you better connect with all of them.

4. Virtual assistants keep things confidential.
As a senior leader in your church, it can definitely be lonely at the top. There likely are few people with whom you feel it’s safe to be transparent and share your struggles. Because your assistant is virtual, and not a member of your congregation, she truly is a safe place for you to share some of the issues you’re wrestling with in your position and uniquely qualified to help you find answers. And if she shares your faith, you’ve now got another believer to pray with and for you as you seek to lead your congregation.

5. Virtual assistants are...well...virtual.
Having an assistant that you may never physically meet can seem a bit strange. But for church leaders especially, it removes the potential for so many issues that often trip up leaders who develop close relationships with their assistants. When your assistant lives four states away and you’ve never actually met him or her, the likelihood that someone is going to start rumors regarding your relationship goes down significantly.

If you’re ready to connect in deeper ways with your congregation, and find the time you’ve been looking for to take your ministry in a new direction, a virtual assistant could be the person to help you get there.

Tricia Sciortino is the president of eaHELP, www.eahelp.com.

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