Continuing to learn Biblical administration from Jesus’ feeding the 5000 we shall now consider two more aspects.
3. What resources are available?
Mk 6:38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
In formulating a plan an accurate assessment of existing and needed resources are core to the fulfilment. Resources here are material. But much wider consideration should be given when planning a task – Human (Character and Skills), Finance, Materials, Facilities, Natural (Sun, wind, rain etc), Physical (roads, electricity, water supplies etc), and so on.
I have been involved in running many substantial conferences for Terry Virgo and the Newfrontiers family. When assessing a venue for a Bible Week, for instance, (Downs or Stoneleigh) one of my opening questions to the site Manager concerns the availability of water and drains for sewage. That doesn’t sound very spiritual! Indeed, not many would start there when considering a Bible Week, but I know that if participants cannot look after their personal hygiene they will find it hard to focus on hearing from God.
Resources contribute in a major way to the foundation for the preparation of budgets of both finance and time. Finance is obvious – but Time? Yes, time requires budgeting too! Had Jesus not been aware of the resources and limitations of available time, and he had tried to hand the food out personally, the crowd would still have been there at midnight getting increasingly restless and hungry. So it was important to budget this too.
Budgets of time and money are about inspired guesswork. They are particularly important in providing a basis for monitoring progress.
Mk 6:39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.
Clarity of lines of authority is essential a) to the completion of the activity and b) to the members of the team involved. Someone, or a delegated group of people, must make the decisions and all must be clear who to approach for such decisions to be made. This is especially important where decisions may need to be made in crisis – everyone should know instinctively who to turn to.
Jesus had, potentially, lost some of his leadership authority due to being interrupted by the disciples while he was addressing the crowd. His hearers were aware that something appeared to have gone wrong as he fell silent. One can envisage those at the front pressing forward to listen to what the disciples were saying; there appeared to be some disagreement. After all, they had suggested one course of action and Jesus had countered it. No doubt rumours were passed back through the crowd and they were becoming restless.
‘Who was in control around here?’ Without ‘taking the reins’ again chaos could have ensued as people suddenly realised how hungry and thirsty they were – and with no McDonalds just round the corner! But by clarifying the issue of authority Jesus brought peace, and the crowd grew quiet and were satisfied
3. Resources that are readily available may be more significant than at first seems to be the case
4. Clarity about leadership is a vital component of successful management