An effective membership secretary will keep accurate membership records, will help the congregation know its current reality, and will build a plan for growth in professions of faith, baptisms, members, and discipleship.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
The membership secretary position will be enhanced by a person who has gifts of servanthood, helping, and administration. The membership secretary needs to be an adaptable person who understands the changing cultural understanding of membership and can work with individuals and the pastor to facilitate membership categories of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. Skills for this position include an ability to communicate well by listening, speaking, and writing; a willingness to tend to details; experience in record keeping; and an interest in learning.
Responsibilities of the Position
- This person works with the pastor to keep accurate records for all membership rolls (baptized members, professing members, constituents, affiliate members, associate members, people removed from the roll of professing members, people removed from the roll of baptized members), reporting annually to the charge conference.
- This person maintains a list of members received and those to be removed from the rolls. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church defines categories of membership and the process for removal of members.
- This person is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- This person understands and maintains the membership records (¶230, Book of Discipline), helps conduct the annual membership audit (¶231, The Discipline) and provides an annual report of members attending colleges and universities (¶ 232).
- The membership secretary is named at charge conference. This person reports at least annually to the church council (¶ 234).
Support You Can Expect from the Congregation
- Through the committee on nominations and leadership development, the congregation will affirm your leadership by providing appropriate resources such as those suggested on this page, as well as basic resources for membership record keeping.
- The work of all leaders may be included in prayers of the congregation, and there may be a time of focused prayer for the ministry of the congregation.
- The reports of the membership secretary will help other leaders build ministry plans for growth in discipleship.
- Talk with people in your congregation and in other congregations about the record-keeping processes they have found useful. You may want to explore electronic methods for record keeping.
- Gather the various rolls, the permanent church register and the card index, the loose-leaf books, or the membership records on an electronic information system. (Your pastor will be able to help you locate these items.)
- Evaluate the present condition of the records you have gathered. What needs to be done to update them?
- Recruit others to help you in your work.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor and people in your congregation and the community.
- Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/church-leaders; toll free, 1-877-899-2780.
- General Council on Finance & Administration, www.gcfa.org; toll-free, 866-367-4232
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- Attendance Registration Pads, set of 20 (Discipleship Resources)
- Attendance Registration Pad Covers (Available from Cokesbury)
- Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/church-leaders; toll free, 1-877-899-2780
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- The United Methodist Church Membership Records Manual, 2017-2020 (Cokesbury, 2017)
- What Every Leader Needs to Know, www.upperroom.org/bookstore (small booklets are useful for study or as a one-hour workshop: Spiritual Leadership by Michael Bealla, Leading Meetings by Betsey Heavner, Mission and Vision by Carol F. Krau and Leading in Prayer by Betsey Heavner)