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4 Critical Roles of Church Administration

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Just Google the phrase “church administrator responsibilities” and you’ll find no shortage of opinions about what constitutes good church administration. It seems that as churches embrace technology in an effort to run efficiently, they are at risk of becoming just another non-profit agency, running the church according to business “best practices.”

But the Lord’s church is called to something greater. Church administration is the place where the church demonstrates their gospel message and priorities. Church administration is where the church walks the walk in a way that supports the gospel talk. How’s that going at your church? Perhaps your church needs to revisit the high-calling and tasks of church administration.

4 Critical Roles of Church Administration

1. Church Administration Supports the Mission of the Church.

From the earliest days of the church, the tasks of church administration have threatened the mission of the church. Acts 6 tells us this tension was present in the very first church! The Apostles made this determination, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables” (v. 2) The mission of the church was the proclamation of the gospel of God’s Kingdom; waiting on tables was only one part of how the church demonstrated God’s kingdom. The Apostles knew the difference between capital-M Mission and lower case-T tasks. Church administration tends to tasks; apostolic leadership sees to mission.

2. Church Administration Holds Every Budget Accountable.

Once upon a time there was an executive pastor who borrowed from Peter to pay Paul. (Actually, not once upon a time—it happens all the time.) He figured if the children’s ministry was over budget then he would move funds from the worship ministry, which was under budget. That worked just fine—until the worship minister needed to spend her money! A church administrator knows when to say “no” to well-meaning requests that are over the line.

3. Good Church Administration Asks the Hard Questions.

Another word for church administration is stewardship. Of course, this means tending to budgets, but it’s more than that. Someone has to make sure that the business of the church is done with transparency and integrity. And there’s no getting around it; that means asking everyone on the team tough questions about equity and fairness as well as balancing numbers.

4. Church Administration Breaks Down the “Silo Mentality.”

Once upon (another) time an executive pastor asked the deacon in charge of evangelism how his team coordinated with the deacon in charge of discipleship and education. The first deacon replied, “That’s not my department.” The problem with organizational charts and spreadsheets is that they give the impression that ministries are separate from one another. They’re not. A skillful church administrator reminds everyone that they’re on the same team! The church speaks to the watching world with one voice, and that means that unity within the church authenticates the visible ministry of the church. A wise church administrator pastors the staff.

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Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. His book "Deeper Change" (and others) is available at Amazon.com