Mar 6:35-37 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
As we look further into these verses we see that, in administrative terms, Jesus was presented with a huge task. Organising and feeding 5000 men (who knows how many women and children were also there) is no small matter. First, clarity of definition was needed. Without such definition how will we know that the project has been achieved successfully? How will we help our fellow participants share a common sense of vision and goal? How will different members of the team be able to own the activity and feel any sense of accomplishment if the purpose is unclear?
The disciples were astonished and raised understandable objections, with apparently good reasons, why they could not do what he commanded. But Jesus was a strong leader who was not prepared to be swayed by popular opinion. He knew what was required and had faith to achieve it. So, regardless of the apparent impossibility, he pressed forward in faith and sought to take the disciples with him.
An opportunity for faith
What a learning opportunity! How important it is for us to be close to those who are anointed to carry out God’s purposes, and to walk by faith and not by sight. If we follow the world’s model of democratic leadership we shall be robbed of much blessing, even if everything is well organised! How much greater, if more scary, will be the blessing when we step out in faith to administrate some activity or purpose which has been birthed in heaven, being prepared to abandon logical reason in favour of faith at appropriate times. Then we are expressing God’s will and purpose. Such administration could be called prophetic!
The words ‘prophetic’ and ‘administration’ would not normally be considered in the same sentence. Somehow it seems to mix the spiritual with the worldly, an oil-and-water combination. So, is there such a thing as ‘prophetic administration’? Let me illustrate with an experience in my home church.
In the early 90s our church in Brighton, Church of Christ the King, had set out on a substantial building programme, the Clarendon Centre. Acquisition of the land and existing building which we were to convert was a major battle in prayer. We soon faced growing financial targets considerably higher than the original estimates. This is often the way with building programmes involving conversion of existing property. Should we economise? Perhaps we should not build the additional storey? What about abandoning the bleachers (banks of seats) we felt God had sovereignly revealed was his will for the main auditorium? Although these would create a more intimate atmosphere for praise and worship, encouraging participation, the cost was high.
Inclusion of bleachers in the original design had been revealed by God to Terry Virgo and me on the same day. This may not seem particularly remarkable were it not for the fact that Terry was in Taiwan while I was in Brighton – and we had never even discussed it!
Accordingly, when continuation of such an expensive facility seemed financially irresponsible we were able to say ‘but God has said…’, and that gave us faith to press forward. We are now reaping the benefit Sunday by Sunday as people are able to participate actively in worship and body ministry. To call that ‘prophetic administration’ may be stretching a point. But it helped me to give a strong exhortation that the project was about creating an environment conducive to body ministry (See posting of July 8th). We felt it was God’s revealed will which required our co-operation with some very practical administrative matters.
Learning point: Expect the Holy Spirit to guide as you carry out an administrative task