As if finding time for counseling, sermon preparation, reading, and “margin” weren’t enough, church leaders also have another crucial aspect of the job to which they must devote a significant amount of time: administration. Some church leaders are privileged to have someone on staff dedicated to the many administrative tasks that come with church leadership. However, others in senior positions must balance their time between the personal ministry demands and the administrative demands.
It is no easy task. These administrative demands include, but of course are not limited to, financial management, email, written correspondence, advance planning, staff management, follow up, goals and objectives, and general communication. How do we make time for it all? Even if there seems like there is no time, we must manage our existing hours and minutes in such a way that there is enough time for the most important things, while at the same time accepting help from others and delegating tasks to competent people whenever possible.
Can we just push administration to the side? Isn’t it less important than the so-called “spiritual” ministry of working with people and preaching the Word?
No. Administration is part of our calling from the Lord to lead.
1) Administration is required for good stewardship.
The Lord has given church leaders time, finances, and other resources that must be managed well in order to bring Him glory and spur on the growth of the church. As a leader of other believers, we must do our best to understand finances and manage them well, knowing that they are a gift from God. Gaining this understanding takes intentional effort and will not happen by chance. Without taking the needed time and acquiring the necessary knowledge, church leaders may face challenges with their elder boards, congregation, and, ultimately, the Lord.
Finances are generally in short supply in a church and the management of these funds is an important part of a church leader’s job. The allocation of finances to ministries and missions must align closely with the carefully crafted vision of the church and must support the passions of the church community. Therefore, time must be given to the administration of finances in order for church leaders to truly steward their limited resources properly.
2) Administration is essential for intentional growth.
Let’s face it. The goal of just about every church congregation is growth, both numerical and in depth of spiritual commitment. Growth does not happen automatically. Yes, the Holy Spirit is involved and propels our churches to greater heights. However, the Lord has also gifted church leaders with skills and abilities and expects us to play our part in making things happen in the local church. Therefore, administrating the growth of the church and planning for the future is another critical part of the church leader’s role. Planning takes time, effort, and collaboration by more than just a few.
Intentional growth requires the setting of goals and objectives and then the diligent working toward meeting those targets. Growth requires the in-depth knowledge of the congregation which comes through deliberately planned research, both quantitative and qualitative. Growth comes through measuring efforts over time, evaluating efforts, and then making changes to programming or staffing as needed. Growth takes administrative skills. This is time consuming and labor intensive but can be one of the most rewarding parts of a church leader’s job.
3) Administration is fundamental in empowering others.
Truly empowering people serving alongside church leaders is more than just hanging out or getting coffee. Truly empowering people, whether paid staff members or volunteers requires purposeful interaction with people that is aimed at getting the very best from them in their own roles, giftings and God-given abilities. Church leaders must give effort to staff and volunteer development, whether that means one-on-one mentoring or group training sessions or retreats. Because ministry is also an honorable profession, it must be treated like a secular job in that it should include performance reviews and employee evaluations. People working with church leaders in the church must be encouraged to give their very best to the Lord in His work. That means being appraised and subsequently given ways they can improve and serve the church in an even more meaningful and effective way. Empowering others in their roles, therefore, takes the intentional implementation of administrative skills and activities and is essential to church growth. Going beyond merely building relationships, taking time to administrate the people of God in their God-ordained roles will produce great outcomes for the Kingdom.
4) Administration can even meet felt needs.
Finally, giving time for a desired amount of administration can meet a certain number of felt needs by those in the congregation who are gifted administratively. There are many people in the church who would love to sit and talk for hours. They would feel heard, filled, and ministered to. However, there are others in the church body who have less relational tendencies and would appreciate reading strategy papers, examining church budgets, or even receiving a reply to their written email. Trying to be all things to all people, church leaders must use the administrative gifting they have been given by God to reach out to those with similar giftings. Building relationships with administrators may look very different, but it meets needs that may have until that time gone unmet or even unknown. Finding time for the administrative side of a church leader’s job can be a true spiritual ministry, even though it may look quite different than ever expected.