From time to time I am asked my opinion on matters that affect the smooth running of a local church, particularly related to administration. During the next few weeks I shall address some of these matters as a Q and A series. If others wish to contact me with other issues I would be happy to build responses into this series. It will not run as a continuous series but will punctuate other material I am planning to present.

Question
How should elders embrace the gift of administration? What is the role of the Administrator and how does he or she relate to the elders?

Answer
The relationship between a church’s leadership team, particularly the governing Elders, and the Administrator is arguably one of the most important relationships in the church. Sadly it is often not viewed as such. If the gift that the Administrator brings to the church is well mobilised it releases many others into their gift and frees up a lot of the elders’ time. However, if it is not understood and leaders feel they can either do all the administration themselves or just tell the Administrator what needs to be done and how, they are denying the church of the God-given wisdom and skills that come with the gift.

This is clearly exemplified in Acts 6:1-7 where we see how the apostles who were leading the early church were in danger of being side-tracked by a serious pastoral problem. They recognised that the time and effort required to bring resolution to this problem among the widows would distract them from their primary calling, to pray and minister the word (6:2,4). Once they had appointed Stephen and others to oversee the situation the church started to grow rapidly again (2:7).

The Gift of Administration
In the world administration often seems impersonal and a blockage to getting things done. Unfortunately this view sometimes permeates the church. Yet in the church it is supposed to be different.

The gift of administration is just that – a gift of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Cor 12:28 it is listed in the context of apostles, prophets, healings etc; clearly it is a gift that carries some ‘weight’, not that gifts are to be assessed on any scales of importance. Paul tells us that, like parts of the body, all are vital but some are more conspicuous.

The Bible
It is not hard to find illustrations of God-anointed administration in the Bible. In the Old Testament there are such examples as Joseph, Nehemiah and Daniel. But what about the New Testament?

In the New Testament the examples are not so much centred around men as around situations. For example, Jesus, in feeding the 5000 (Mk 6:30-44), gave significant administrative direction and leadership to both the disciples and the crowd as he organised this ‘event’. There are many demonstrations of good administrative practice exhibited by Jesus as he handles this situation with sound practical tips which can be discerned through this story. Or again, there are many lessons that can be drawn from the commissioning of Stephen and his colleagues in the early church, as I have already described (Acts 6:1-7). Both these examples are explained more fully in my booklets ‘The Gift of Administration’ and ‘Event Management – Jesus style’ (see side panel).

Next time I will share some practical matters of how to release the gift of administration effectively to the benefit of the church and its leaders.

 

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