By Andrea Slawson
Administration. The sight of that word either makes you cringe or giddy with anticipation to get stuff done.
Me? I cringe a little.
Over the past few years I have begun to realize that “church” is not just a place where people come to meet once or twice a week and then go home. It is so much more. The body, the believers of Jesus Christ, are the church – yes. But the administration within the body are the gears that make the body operate with efficiency toward God’s mission of all being saved.
Yet knowing this, I still think, “I just want to go to church.” I want fluff, and to not worry about the function.
But if everyone in the body thought this way, there would be no church to go to. Let me explain a little of what I have come to learn and realize as I mature in my understanding of the church as not only an organism (alive, active, mission-oriented), but as an organization (administration).
FOLLOWING A GOD OF ADMINISTRATION
God loves order. We only need to read the account of creation to realize that God not only put into place the world and all that is in it, but He set into place order at the same time. I assume He planned it and then He organized it by creating things in an order that they would sustain. Next, He staffed it with Adam and Eve over all that was on the earth. He didn’t stop there, though. He lead and directed that staff, giving guidance and even disciplinary actions when His rules were not obeyed. Then He reported on all He had done and what His staff had accomplished not only in the garden, but all the way to the cross and beyond.
This is how God works. His very nature is order. This is how He wants His Church to function.
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
I’m a planner. You need a plan? Tell me the vision and I can plan all day long. I love a good list, ironing out details, and putting people into place on tasks they are good at and can handle with efficiency. Planning is the beginning and without it, a whole lot of nothing happens.
You must have a plan, or you’ll get nowhere fast. Planning sets the course for the Church to accomplish its mission. Planning is where vision happens. It’s the detail process. Church services are an area I had never really thought of in this way, but they take planning to be effective. Who does what? What is the best lay out for the service? These are details that take planning and order.
What is Andrea’s favorite thing to do? You could ask 10 of my friends this question and I bet you’d get at least 8 that say organizing. Putting things into place in an effective, neat way makes my heart happy, as it does God’s. After all, God is not the author of confusion. He is the very opposite. He wants things to be done properly. Examples of God’s organizing abilities are seen all throughout Scripture, not just in creation. We see it in sequences of events, the numbering and division of the tribes, Jesus dividing the 5000 into groups. Everywhere we look there is organizing. God gives examples like these in His Word so that we can see the proper function of things. Even if He doesn’t specifically spell out that He is teaching organization, it’s there. And we had better pay attention to it because it works!
WHO DOES WHAT?
Staffing a ministry is crucial to its survival. Many may be willing but not all who are willing are called. As Christian leaders in administration, we must have the spiritual insight to choose wisely those who are able and not just those who are willing. After staff is chosen, they must be trained for the position and given detailed instructions on their responsibilities or we set them up for possible failure.
As Christian leaders, we have a unique responsibility to be in touch with the Holy Spirit when it comes to all aspects of our ministry. When it comes to staffing, unlike secular employment, we must be able to qualify an individual on the condition of their heart, as God does (1 Samuel 16:7). Then we look at the gifts the person displays. That is the best indicator of where the person will bring the most glory to God.
An important aspect of administration is assessing the ministry and reporting on the successes and failures inside the church. God’s Word is an account throughout the ages of what happened, how it happened, what went right and wrong, and how to improve. Likewise, to know what goes right and wrong and how to improve, church administrators must assess the ministries and then report on them. This means informing both the staff and the congregation. An informed congregation is more likely to be a happy, willing body.
CALLED TO LEAD AND BE LED
At the heart of all people, we want to be led and to lead. The Bible shows examples of this from the beginning. Abraham, Moses, the people crying out for Kings etc. God instilled in humans the ability to lead and the innate wanting to follow. The job of an administrator is to give instruction to those they are leading with the understanding that their directions will be carried out, while allowing them to bring to the environment their own personality and ideas.
There are many things that go along with leading through administration – organizing, directing the staff, delegating, and motivating. It is the job of a good leader to be able to build people up while accomplishing the mission of the church; to always have others’ well-being in the forefront of their minds and God’s love on hand to show the Kingdom here on earth.
FOLLOWING GOD’S EXAMPLE OF ADMINISTRATION
Throughout the pages of God’s Word, He shows us so much. One of the things I had never seen was His administration of His creation. It is precise and orderly, it is staffed appropriately and efficiently with all things in place. He shows us how to led and direct that creation and be good stewards of the things He has provided. He gives us examples of all this and more in His report to us.
When I start to think or hear others say, “I just want to go to church” my response is, “Without the administration of the church, there wouldn’t even be a church.”