Words of Wisdom From a Seasoned Churchwarden


churchwarden advice

So...you've just been appointed Churchwarden? Don’t be nervous. Being an effective warden is not rocket science. At some levels, it is just an expansion on what you probably do in your own household. Except that now you are charged with the care of God’s house.

In some churches the duties of a Churchwarden are quite formally set out and manuals might be provided. By and large they usually include responsibility for the physical “plant” of the church. This might include the sanctuary, the hall and the rectory. Before you faint away, realize that, in practice this responsibility is shared, often with another warden, a sexton, the minister/priest and indeed with the entire church council.


Your first step is to become very familiar with the “plant”. Visitors and other infrequent attendees will be asking you questions. Get to know all the doors – when they are locked and who is authorized to have a key. How does the security system work? Get the codes. Get to know something about the heating/cooling system and how the thermostats are set. Find out how the exterior lights are controlled. In short, make the church as familiar to you as your own home. The underlying point to all this is that you will become sensitive to any anomaly. You will notice the open window, a sound system left on, an overhead fan needlessly whirling. You will become a person who notices, whether it is an overflowing toilet or an un-attended computer. Not that you must personally fix the toilet, for example, but you must inform your sexton/janitor (if you have one), or quickly arrange for professional help.


Next, it would be great to become personally acquainted with the whole congregation. In practice, of course this is possible only in a small community, but it is worth the effort in any church. One approach to this is just to attend the stream of people exiting each service, (as is done by the clergy in some churches). Wear a name badge and boldly greet as many attendees as you can manage. Persevere in this and eventually people will stop wondering who you are .The underlying point to this is that you are the “go-to-guy” (or "girl") for the congregation. Be prepared to hear all their concerns, except of course in spiritual matters.


The last function of the warden is to be a resource and support for your pastor. You are expected to give counsel and to make available your worldly experience. Above all to be frank, but understanding, to be practical but compassionate.


You will find being a Churchwarden a most rewarding job.