In previous postings we have looked at the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 as recorded in Mk 6. Now, so much for the narrative. What are the administrative points – the skills and processes – which we can learn from this passage?
1. Jesus was a people person
Mk 6:34 .. he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Administration in the church is all about people. Because of our experience in the world, where the faceless bureaucracy of government is often making decisions affecting our lives, we are inclined to dismiss administration as impersonal. However, in the upside down world of the Kingdom of God it is the exact opposite. Administration is about making the environment or activity as conducive as possible to allowing people to meet with and learn from God. I often say to teams I work with for Newfrontiers events ‘If people notice the administration we have failed’. We want them to ‘notice’ God!
So it is vital that those with an administrative gift always keep uppermost in their minds the needs of the people they are trying to serve and not become immersed in the details of the administrative function, alluring as those can be to the administrator!
2. Accurate Identification of the situation to be addressed
Mk 6:35,36 …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.”
After sitting on the hillside through the heat of the day there was a significant challenge. There were thousands of hungry and thirsty people who needed help, and probably a lack of stores in the area that could satisfy them.
The starting point of any administrative activity comes with a clear definition of the problem to be solved or the mission to be accomplished. Only by such clarity of definition will it be possible to assess that the task has been adequately and fully accomplished at a later stage. As has often been said, ‘if you aim at nothing you are sure to hit it’!
The need here was very real and rapid action was required – either to send people home or to feed them. Action comes out of decisions; decisions come from an assessment of the available facts.
Here Jesus rapidly and accurately assessed the situation and the resulting decision and subsequent action not only blessed the thousands of on-site beneficiaries but also has acted as a spur to faith and action for the church down the last two millennia.
One can never be certain of the consequences of a decision – so it is good to be confident that it is a good one!
1. People are important
2. Definition of the need provides the basis for good decisions