Daniel Pandolph, the Tony Stark of Virtual Assistants, is Changing how Churches Do Ministry
Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Pandolph.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
Sure! Thanks for asking. I was a youth pastor for several years before transitioning into my role as CEO of Ministry Assistant Services. I had gone through seminary and even earned my Doctorate in Ministry. Yet even as I was working, I felt constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. I felt like I was constantly juggling millions of tasks that were important but kept me away from what I was called to do—work with people! That frustration eventually led me out of church ministry and into teaching Bible at a private Christian School.
But that experience also caused me and my wife to consider how we could solve this problem. We kept seeing pastor after pastor leave ministry from burn out and we knew something needed to change.
So, my wife and I started Ministry Assistant Services in 2015 because we saw the constant pressure Christian leaders were facing. Being a former youth pastor, I knew how difficult it was to be active in ministry while dealing with constant administrative issues. Christian leaders are overworked, under paid and overwhelmed.
It started small with just a handful of clients that my wife literally worked with from an old Dell laptop. Since then, our company has exploded as we’ve had the opportunity to work with Christian leaders from virtually every niche—CEOs, Non-profits, and, of course, churches of all sizes.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The hardest part of our success was finding the RIGHT employees. We hire slowly and carefully to ensure quality at every level. It’s important to me to find virtual assistants that love the local church and have a passion to help Christian leaders.
There have been growing pains as a result. There have been late nights staying up to make sure deadlines are met. There is making sure that team culture is positive, and that people genuinely enjoy working for us.
Finally, COVID was a difficult season for us. Many churches shut down; some churches were completely at a loss how to respond to the rapid changes they were facing. We were fortunate to be able to help but it was incredibly difficult to watch many languish.
As the leader of the company, the amount of uncertainty I faced was difficult. Things were changing so rapidly that we had to quickly come up with a COVID response plan for leaders. I wasn’t sure if we would get a flood of new clients or if we would lose clients. It was disconcerting.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Good question. If I were to boil it down simply, this is what we do: my company provides virtual assistants to church leaders.
We do everything: email management, light graphic work, bookkeeping, personal assistant work, website updates, newsletters, church database updates, bulletin creation, creation of reports, social media management, and more.
I often tell clients that if you think of what a normal secretary does, we can do it better, faster, and cheaper. You only pay for the hours you use, so you aren’t paying a full-time salary.
What makes us unique? Three things.
First, we use a project management model in our company. When you hire us, you are assigned a project manager who has a team of virtual assistants under them. This way, the work is farmed out to whoever has the greatest strength in that task—but you only interact with your project manager. So, you get streamlined communication and get an entire team working for you.
Second, we charge one flat rate per hour for all tasks and require no contract. We don’t have a minimum number of hours you have to sign up for and we will never exceed a client’s budget without prior authorization. If we accidentally do, I’ll personally eat that cost, not the client. We want to build trust with our clients.
Finally, we are the first and oldest VA company who specialize in working with Christian leaders. Our experience in the field is unmatched.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Obviously as a Christian, I believe that true success is pursuing God’s plan for your life. But beyond that I have found that certain activities put someone in a position to be successful.
First, organization and planning are essential. If your to-do list is in your mind and not put down somewhere, it is hard to keep track of what you are supposed to do. You need to be organized and clear in the tasks ahead of you.
Second, you need to be clear on one week, one-month, three month and one year plan. By doing that, you’ll receive clarity on the tasks that are essential and non-essential.
Third, as an avid reader, I have found that reading widely in a variety of topics as given me a better sense of how to anticipate changes and challenges. Reading biographies has given confidence to take calculated risks and to not feel so alone as a leader.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success is a tricky word to define because I think it looks different for each person. Success can look like getting home early for dinner with your family. Success can look like getting out of a toxic situation that is killing your joy. Success can be delegating tasks you aren’t good at so that you can focus on what you are good at.
Again, the common denominator is this: success looks like following God’s plan for your life and seeking to glorify him in all things.
What’s next for you?
Ministry Assistant Services is expanding our services to include Facebook advertising for churches and Christian leaders.
It’s our hope that churches can begin utilizing social media in a way that gets their message across at an affordable cost. The reality is that many churches never get seen because the organic reach on Facebook and Instagram are limited. But what most churches don’t know is that with just a little bit of money, they can start reaching thousands of people across their targeted location.
Of course, we will offer this service at a reasonable cost since we know budgets are limited.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more.
Thanks for asking! They can visit our website at ministryassistantservices.com and schedule a brief 20-minute consultation with me to see if we are a good fit. There are absolutely no obligations to sign up.