What Does a Church Administrator Do?
What are the functions of a church administrator? For some of us, the seemingly obvious answer to this question may include tasks such as filing, paperwork, working with church management software, managing calendars, and organizing excel spreadsheets.
If you have been around church ministry for any manner of time, however, you probably understand that administration is much more than a list of tasks. In fact, this form of church management is one of the most important aspects of a thriving and successful church.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a church plant with a few passionate leaders who felt called to the people of our city. We started small, hosting one midweek prayer meeting and one Sunday night gathering per week. Before we knew it, our little church community had blossomed into a few hundred people, and it wasn’t long before we realized that our church management skills did not match the level of growth we were experiencing.
As we made our way through piles of paperwork and tried to introduce systems that would help us steward the people and money God had entrusted to this church, we began to realize that church ministry included far more administration than any of us would have preferred. We even started a running joke that administration was our new pet monster that kept growing bigger and bigger! The more grace, growth, and opportunity that God seemed to pour out on our church, the more administrative responsibilities we accrued. We eventually matured in our administrative skills, but it took a while - and the implementation of a few church management software systems - to gain our balance.
Here is the thing about church administration: not only is it vital to the health of a church, but it is a God-given skill set that helps us to steward the mission He has set before us. We need gifted administrators in our churches!
To help demonstrate the essential nature of this church management role, here are five important functions of a church administrator.
Five Functions of a Church Administrator
1.) Church Administrators Create and Sustain Momentum
The Exodus from Egypt provides a helpful Biblical example of this first function of a church administrator.
In just one day, over 600,000 Israelite men and thousands more women and children were able to flee Egypt with all of their possessions. They even brought along some of the silver and gold that had belonged to the Egyptians! For Moses to lead this masterful escape, he had to rely on administrative skills. Moses’ God-given ability to create momentum and then subsequently organize that momentum into a movement will go down in history as one of the most impressive abolitionist acts of all time.
Vision is an important part of church management, but vision cannot be actualized without administration.
2.) Church Administrators Build Teams:
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he had several organizational challenges ahead. We read about one of these challenges in Exodus 18 when Jethro visits Moses. Moses sat as a judge for the people “while the people stood around him from morning until evening” (Exodus 18:13). Jethro identified this process as the quick road to burnout, and he quickly chimed in with wisdom that still applies to church leaders today. In not so many words, Jethro told Moses to build a team! Moses assigned officers over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. He instructed them in the way of the law and allowed them to take care of minor disputes.
Church management can be taxing, and even support roles need support! That is why delegation is easily one of the most important functions of a church administrator. When church leaders build up new church leaders, they engage in discipleship while preventing personal burnout.
3.) Church Administrators Create Systems
I think Jesus would have made an incredible church administrator.
Besides the obvious fact that he was, of course, the Son of God, Jesus was also excellent at organizing big groups to get things done. Let’s look at the “Feeding of the Five Thousand” as an example.
In Mark 6:39-40, we read that Jesus ordered the people to “sit down in groups on the green grass” in groups of hundreds and fifties. After this organizational mastery, Jesus blessed and broke the loaves and fish and passed them around for all to enjoy.
In a similar way, two functions of a church administrator include 1) bringing organization to groups of people and 2) creating systems that combat chaos. In the story of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand,” an impressive level of organization precedes a profound miracle. And while we should be wary of applying formulas in order to get results from God, we can see that stewardship is highly valued in this passage. Church management should always seek to be good stewards of God-given resources, and that often requires organization and systems.
4.) Church Administrators Help People Stay Connected
People are without a doubt the most important part of church ministry, and one key function of a church administrator is to create systems that help people stay connected. As people come and go from your church services and events, you have likely noticed that it can be difficult to keep track of everyone, even despite your best intentions. Proper systems make it possible to pay attention to the people in your congregation and support them on their spiritual journey.
A church administrator is a key figure in implementing and overseeing these systems.
5.) Church Administrators Steward Money
This church administrator function is on the practical side, but it is important to emphasize.
Church administrators often work closely with other staff to implement the church’s budget, prepare financial statements, keep a record of giving, oversee payroll, and ensure financial stewardship (among many other possible tasks). One of the clearest biblical teachings on the importance of stewardship is found in the parable of the talents (Mattew 25:14-30). Jesus tells of three servants who were given money by their master. Two of those men invested the money and doubled it before their master’s return, but one servant buried his money out of the fear of losing it. When the master returned, he was highly displeased with the servant who buried his money. The key principle here is that it is not enough to avoid wasting money. God also wants us to steward money with wisdom so it can be used as a blessing.
Without question, one of the primary functions of church management is to ensure the proper and wise stewardship of money.
Church administration can be a challenging job, but it is essential to the life of a thriving church.
Luckily, countless tools exist to support administrators. If you are a church administrator looking to create and sustain momentum, organize teams and systems, and steward money well, Breeze’s simple and effective church management software is a great solution. Breeze allows you to organize your events, groups, financial contributions, and attendance reporting all in one place so that you can tame the pet monster of administration and effectively lead in the ministry God has placed before you.
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