One day I attended a conference on conflict management in the church. I sat around a table with mostly ministers. As we greeted each other and began some role playing on handling conflict, I engaged in conversation with one particular pastor. After I explained that I was a church administrator, he exclaimed, “administrative areas are where 90% of the conflict is in my church.”
I tell this story because that is the reason we have church administration—to help people in ministry use their resources well. Administration is vital if a church is to reach its mission. This administrative ministry calls for procedures and techniques but also people skills. Church administration should be driven by mission, not mission by administration.
The apostle Paul names administration as a spiritual gift in I Cor. 12:28. God calls for us to lead in a way that honors Christ and His church, utilizing personal and organizational resources well. Our goal is managing well so that God may be glorified in everything we say and do as a church.
As we provide organization in the church, we work to provide structure that is designed to equip the congregation to fulfill its mission to disciple people to Christ. We set up committee mandates because it helps the teams understand their role and utilize their gifts well in serving. In the Christian Reformed Church, we have a Church Council that guides the total work of the church. The intention is that there is enough organization to guide and equip but not too much so it hinders the ministry of the church. We manage facilities and vehicles that assist in accomplishing ministry. Our communication engages people in the mission of the church and focuses on discipling others.
How do you determine the balance between too much or too little organization? Each team of leaders needs to understand their mission and clearly see that the structure and organization assists in accomplishing ministry. The structure should help in defining priorities, creating accountability and responsibility and equipping people as they accomplish ministry. You may have too little organization if conflict is continuous in a ministry or a team doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish anything. If your facilities are not clean or expectations not clear on setup, takedown, and usage, conflict arises and gets in the way of ministry. If your communication doesn’t develop community and engage people in conversation and accomplishing mission, you may need to strategize for more effective communication.
So when you look at your church or ministry, do you see the organization and structure helping the ministry or hurting it? Is there conflict that could disappear if policies or procedures were in place? Do you need more clarity of mission so people love serving? Would some accountability help the team accomplish more? May God bless you as you attempt to lead in a way that empowers people to serve our Lord and Saviour.