Professional football players have fame, money, and lifestyles that few will ever know. But some live for a greater purpose than football, and with a deeper motivation than winning. They live by faith. (more…)
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.
Born without arms, Daniel Ritchie faces a unique kind of adversity. But that doesn’t keep him from living a full life.
After Ritchie surrendered his life to Christ he learned that true worth and purpose are only found in God. Freed from comparisons and restrictions, Ritchie has lived a life that previously seemed impossible, becoming a pastor, father, and speaker.
“There was a man who had two sons . . .”
“There once was a king who . . .”
“In a certain town there was a judge . . .”
When Jesus wanted to reveal what the kingdom of God was like, he often told stories—stories about widows and tax collectors, farmers and kings, robbers and strangers, fathers and sons.
A master storyteller, Jesus harnessed the gift of imagination to invite his listeners to consider, for example, how a patient and extravagantly forgiving father reflects the heart of God. Or how a generous, unconventional employer reveals the Lord’s grace. He also invited his listeners to find themselves within the stories. He challenged them to consider how they were like a wayward son or a resentful older brother, or how the quality of soil (shallow, rocky, thorny, or fruitful) could be a picture of their receptivity—or resistance—to the Word of God.
Jesus invites us into the same process of reflection, to prayerfully enter his stories and, through the power of the Spirit, learn about both God and ourselves.
Just like people’s response to Jesus’ stories in the Bible, something happens the moment a preacher or teacher says, “Once upon a time . . .” or “Let me tell you a story.” If our minds happen to wander during a sermon or lecture, we tend to tune in and listen with renewed interest the moment a narrative begins.
Stories are invitational. They encourage our participation. Stories are also stealthy. They can stir, confront, comfort, inspire, and penetrate our hearts when we’re least expecting it.
We tend to let our defenses down when we hear or read stories. We open ourselves to being drawn into characters’ lives, to inhabit their worlds, to journey with them. Good characters can become mirrors for seeing ourselves more clearly. Good stories can enlarge our worldview, help us understand a stranger, deepen our compassion, and remind us we’re not alone. Good stories can pursue us long after we’ve heard—or read—the last word.
This was my desire when I began writing the Sensible Shoes series. Through the characters’ journeys with God, I wanted readers to see themselves mirrored in the longings, fears, struggles, and hopes of these four imperfect women who are seeking to draw closer to God and to one another. I hoped the stories would facilitate a reader’s encounter with God, that someone might glimpse God’s love, presence, and grace in unexpected and life-transforming ways.
I could have written a nonfiction book about how to practice ways of prayer and other spiritual disciplines—which is what the characters are invited to do—but I wanted to provide an opportunity for readers to connect with God through narrative and imagination. As a writer, I wanted to take my own journey of “What if?” and “There once was a woman who . . .” and see what emerged. The process of discovery is part of the joy of both writing and reading fiction.
What might you discover about yourself and God while reading novels or short stories? A simple exercise to practice as you read is to pay attention to the things that stir you, both positively and negatively. Contemplate the ways you’re challenged, comforted, provoked, agitated, or inspired by the story.
Then, prayerfully consider the reasons behind your responses to characters or plotlines. What might the Spirit be revealing, inviting, or healing? And then, welcome others into conversation about what you notice. That’s the gift of story, too—that we can read the same words on the page and be impacted in such unique ways.
“A reader went off to read and . . .”
May the Lord inspire you and reveal his heart to you in the journey.
This is a guest post by Sharon Garlough Brown, the author of the Sensible Shoes series, which began with the bestselling book Sensible Shoes. For a limited time, get the four-book series plus a study guide for just $30.95, 60% off the regular price. Buy it here.
Also, if you are a fan of faith-inspired fiction, make sure to join the Faithlife fiction readers group where we post regular fiction deals, author interviews, and more.
At Faithlife we use technology to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible. For more than 25 years that mission has guided everything we do. This year, to better equip the Church, we are focusing on several key areas:
- We are engaging users and helping them learn from each other in our product forums and Faithlife groups. Check out Faithlife.com to find a Faithlife group for each of our products, with active discussions from both our customers and the Faithlife team.
- We are improving integration across our products so you can spend less time doing “all the things” and more time on ministry. For example, you can now create a sermon and slides in Logos, present it with Proclaim, have the congregation follow it in real time through the Faithlife Study Bible, and publish it to the web at Faithlife TV and Faithlife Sermons.
- We are expanding our partnerships to increase the availability of content within our products to bring more value in the areas of Christian media, books, Bible study, and academia.
With this in mind, we’ll be sharing the progress that gets us excited around the office more frequently, with more intention, and with more opportunity for feedback.
Below you’ll find some highlights of how Faithlife is helping equip the Church. We are excited about partnering with you, and would love to hear how you are using our tools in your ministry—along with what we can do to better serve you.
Follow the group at Faithlife.com and share with us today.
– Bob Pritchett [Read more…]
The Bible repeatedly attests to its own inspiration, authority, and reliability. But in recent decades, skeptical scholars have challenged the assumption that the Bible we read today is the same as it was written thousands of years ago.
The Gospels in particular have come under fire: What if these foundational documents were doctored to push a theological agenda?
In a new feature-length documentary from Faithlife Films, Dr. Craig Evans takes this claim head on, traveling the globe to track down the most ancient New Testament manuscripts.
We’ve partnered with Fathom Events to bring Fragments of Truth to the big screen for one night only on April 24. I sat down with the film’s director, Reuben Evans, to discuss the new movie and how it demonstrates that the evidence for the Bible’s reliability is stronger than ever.
Some scholars claim that Christians tampered with New Testament documents to push a theological agenda. What kind of changes do they say were made? [Read more…]
Happy Easter, from all of us at Faithlife. Enjoy this Easter meditation on the power of Christ’s resurrection by Charles Spurgeon.
Is all the extravagance surrounding Easter a distraction, or are Christians right to give it the special attention they do?
Let’s avoid the culture wars of the Easter Bunny, Cadbury eggs, and egg hunts, and simply speak to what happens in most churches on the morning of Easter Sunday: we go all out.
Going all out for Easter
The music is typically a notch or two more elaborate than normal. The sermon is noticeably more refined and passionate. And everyone seems to dress in their very best Sunday best.
Many churches even decorate specifically for Easter Sunday. The church I attended in college used decorations to heighten the contrast between Good Friday and Easter. In the Good Friday service, red roses with thorns lined the aisles to communicate suffering. On Sunday, white lilies replaced the roses to communicate resurrection. It was a beautiful, artistic way to remind us that in the Christian faith, life comes through death.
Churches seem to love pulling out all the stops for Easter, but is all the pomp justified, biblically?
Why is Easter special?
The apostle Paul says of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14 NIV). Without the resurrection, there is no Christian faith.
A few verses later, Paul declares how all of history pivots on the resurrection:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:20–24 NIV)
It is only because of the resurrection that anyone can move from corruption to restoration—only by Jesus’ work is Adam’s undone and a new creation secured.
Easter is the day we set aside to celebrate this truth. It is a day we dedicate solely to the central tenet of our faith: Christ is risen. (He is risen, indeed!)
As such, a certain amount of pomp is more than justified—it is encouraged.
Let the bright pastels, the pressed suits, the church choir, the full band, the near-perfect sermon, and the however-else-you-mark-it-special commence.
In the church I most recently called home, we recited the Apostles’ Creed weekly. But on Resurrection Sunday, we added a twist:
On the third day, he rose again
On the third day
—the third day—
On the third day, he rose again
If you have a hand in putting together Easter Sunday at your church, have it at. Add your twist. You still have a couple days to prepare elements that draw unique attention to the reason for our faith.
One easy way to do this is with free, beautiful Easter media (such as the image featured in this blog). Get a free bundle of 600+ pieces of Good Friday- and Easter-themed church graphics. Start a no-risk, 30-day free trial of Faithlife Proclaim to get your bundle (no credit card required). Get the bundle free now.
This post originally appeared on the Faithlife Proclaim blog.