A friend who knows a lot about church admin once shared a lesson she learned from The Trellis and the Vine: If the Church is the vine (John 15), then administration is the trellis.
The trellis doesn’t exist for itself, but for the vine. No one admires a trellis, but behind every sturdy vine is an admirable trellis.
Without the trellis, the vine would be sprawled all over the place, tangled and misshapen.
Church administration gives shape and order to ministry. Here are seven reasons your ministry needs administration.
1. Administration is a gift (that not everyone has)
We don’t usually think of administration as a spiritual gift, but according to 1 Cor. 12:27–28, it is:
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (ESV, emphasis added)
Just like you need every part of your body, you need every gift in the church (1 Cor. 12:21). The spiritual gift of administration is not only helpful, it’s necessary. And it’s given from God.
Administration is not a ministry afterthought, it’s a ministry essential.
2. Administration keeps everyone in their wheelhouse
Administration helps everyone work within their giftings.
If there’s no administrator in a church, it means someone without the gift of administration has to fulfill that role. That means a teacher is spending less time teaching, a person with the gift of mercy is doing fewer acts of mercy, and so on.
Administration organizes and structures ministry so each person can focus on their strengths and gifts. You could even argue it’s the same reason God gave the church deacons (Acts 6:1–7).
3. Administration helps people get involved
Administration doesn’t just help people focus on their gifting, it organizes resources.
Administrators have a big-picture view of what’s going on in your church or ministry. They can see best where to allocate volunteers, funds, and other resources. They also have the communication and organizational skills to actually plug those resources in.
That’s not just good for the ministry, it’s good for people who want to get involved. They can be confident that your church or ministry is organized and that their gifts will be put to good use, which will inspire them to jump in.
4. Administration supports stewardship
As churches and ministries grow, so do their resources. In addition to life change, growth means more volunteers, leaders, and (hopefully) funds.
Stewarding those resources is an important responsibility, because ultimately they are God’s resources. Someone with the gift of administration will ensure those resources are used strategically, efficiently, and effectively. They may even create a structure or flow that nearly automates this process so they can focus their energy on new ministry ventures.
A well-oiled machine like this is a gift to any church or ministry.
5. Administration provides safety
Administrators focus on the details that often go unnoticed. How are we paying for this thing? Who’s pulling it off? Who’s bringing food?
Another item that falls into this category is security. How are we checking kids in and out of Sunday school? Do we have a plan in case of an emergency? What happens if our church floods or catches fire?
Questions like these vary depending on your ministry, but everyone can breathe a sigh of relief when they know an administrator already has the answers—or can at least figure them out.
6. Administration deters chaos
When there’s no order or structure, there’s no peace of mind.
And peace is critical to a healthy working environment.
Peace keeps teams working well together. Peace helps people focus. Peace helps people see clearly and strategize wisely.
Chaos makes people focus on problems. Chaos moves the question from, “What can I invest in today?” to, “What fire do I need to put out today?” Chaos is trying to row a boat with a giant hole in it.
Administrators deter chaos. They keep things running smoothly so everyone can work unhindered.
7. Administration simplifies ministry
Administrators are good at saying what doesn’t belong. They can draw a line from a church or ministry’s vision to its calendar.
So when ideas pop up or people start shooting for the moon, administrators can step in and say, “That’s outside of what we’re about. I know what that would take, and it would lead to mission drift.”
Administrators help ministries grow in one direction by keeping them from growing in every direction.
All of this leads to one big point: Administration helps churches grow. It does not grow the church—God does that—but it helps churches grow evenly, neatly, and in the right direction.
God made administration a spiritual gift for a reason: The Church needs it.
This post is written in honor of church administrators, in time for Administrative Professionals Week. Let your church administrator know you appreciate them, and how Ministry Tracker can help him or her work even smarter.
Matthew Boffey (MDiv) is a writer at Faithlife and a licensed minister. He has led worship teams, small groups, and youth ministries.