Elders and Administrators working together – Part 2

Home / Administration in the Church / Elders and Administrators working together – Part 2


Last time we saw how the gift of administration is often not fully utilised due to a lack of understanding of how it should operate. This denies the church from benefitting from all that the gift has to offer. Here I will try to give some practical tips.

The Practice
Underlying the question I am often asked is the genuine desire to know how elders and an Administrator should relate together. This is where I will now focus our thinking.

Recognise the gift
Success depends on first recognising the gift, as we learnt in the last posing. If an eldership team sees administration merely as a necessary part of the running of the church they will tend to use it only in responsive mode, giving the administrator and his or her team tasks to get on with to fulfil the vision, responding to the course set by the elders.

While there is a place for this approach which, if handled rightly, will get the job done, it denies the elders of the full benefits of having a gifted administrator in their midst. The gift of administration is much more than just responding to another’s direction. It is a gift which has much to contribute during the thinking and development of a course of action, and the implementation of a strategy to move towards fulfilling a vision.

The Greek word for administration in the Bible (1 Cor 12:28), kubernesis, carries the feeling of government as directed by a ‘helmsman’, ‘pilot’ or ‘navigator’ in nautical terms, one who carries the skills and authority to get a vessel safely to its desired destination. That navigator is the kubernetes (for example in Acts27:11). The merchant would define the port to which he required his consignment to be taken; the kubernetes would chart the course, manage the crew, determine the set of the sails and so on.

To achieve this successfully and optimally it is important that the kubernetes carries the confidence of the elders and that they actively involve him (or her) in the planning process so that he can bring the particularities of his gift to the discussion while plans are still being shaped. To assume that the elders not only set the direction for the fulfilment of a vision, but also have the skills to determine in detail how that direction is to be followed is clearly naïve, even foolish. The merchant is good at buying and selling products, but probably not at sailing vessels!

Practical skills to determine all the details of implementation do not necessarily come within the leadership gift mix. That is what the gift of administration is about, and it needs to be included at an early stage of thinking and planning.

How does that happen?
There is no Biblical blue-print for how elders and administrators work together, but I have had the huge privilege of serving with enlightened and affirming eldership and apostolic teams. From this experience I have found four particular features to be important in making this happen. We will look at these next time.