In this final part of responding to a question about the relationship between Elders and the Administrator I shall address four particular features that are important in this relationship.

1. Friendship
Jesus had great friendship with the disciples. It is worth watching some of the excellent word-for-word videos of the gospels – such as that of Matthew – to get a flavour of the reality of this; watch about 40 seconds of this short clip illustrating Matthew 11:1-2 (although the whole video is well-worth watching). We know that he shared his life with them and that they were party to major decisions he made. Although there was misunderstanding on many occasions the friendship was sustained; he did not speak down to them but treated them as friends in his day to day walk with them, often a literal walk through the fields and woods, chatting about different truths illustrated by the surroundings like grain and harvest fields. I feel sure that this clip of them joking around with one another, as young men in their twenties are wont to do, is a justifiable dramatisation!

For an Administrator to serve the elders well he must be their friend, and be present when discussions are taking place about strategy so that he can contribute from his skill about issues that others may miss. He is not there to veto ideas but to bring his perspective. This brings us to the second key feature, prayer.

2. Prayer
Although I place this here after friendship I do in fact think this is the most important part of how an Administrator can best serve the Elders.

I had the privilege of praying with Terry Virgo and the above teams over many years. Not only did I learn much about prayer in what was effectively a ‘workshop’ but it also allowed me to know what was in the hearts of the vision setters. By listening to their praying I was able to filter their prayer requests though my administrative grid and, assuming their prayers would be heard, I asked God for wisdom about implementation. Over the years such ‘listening in’ allowed me to get ahead with thinking through the practical steps that would need to be taken once God gave the green light and answered these prayers. This stream-lined the implementation process as I understood what had brought about a particular decision and why it had been made. Having contributed to it I had ownership of it.

3. Respect and Trust
Once the merchant had hired his kubernetes to carry the cargo from port A to port B he had to put his trust in the kubernetes to get him and his cargo there safely. He respected the fact that this man had many years of experience. He understood the currents and the winds in the Mediterranean. For instance, he knew by the time of year when it was not safe to sail round the windward side of Cyprus (Acts 27:4). Had the merchant determined the course he might well have taken the more direct but dangerous route.

4. Delegated authority
When a merchant hired a boat he delegated the authority for implementing the safe passage to the kubernetes. It is important that the appropriate level of authority is delegated to the Administrator so that he can implement strategy effectively. Clearly there must be good communication with the elders but it can be a nightmare for the Administrator if they get too involved in the detail! To be effective the Administrator must know the boundaries of the authority he has been given and agree mutual expectations with the elders. Much of this may not need to be spelt out in detail if they are good friends; but if in doubt spell it out!

So, that is how to do it! Remember, success is based on relationship and recognition that the gifts of the Spirit are for the health of the body. Every part must be working properly for the whole body to be built up and function effectively.

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