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Philosophy of Administration



Like many other aspects of church ministry, administration can be overemphasized. Administration is a valid part of church ministry, but primarily as it helps to facilitate the rest of the ministry. The goal of administration is to keep things running smoothly, so that the local church can focus on fulfilling the Great Commission.


The administration of a local church needs to be undertaken by those who are called, gifted, and truly understand the Biblical nature and function of administration. First, the office of elder is described in Scripture as the office that oversees, leads, rules, and shepherds the flock of God. Second, the office of deacon is described in Scripture as the office that assists the elders in carrying out the daily aspects of such administrative functions. We must be careful that we do not add church offices for the sake of administration. We would not want to imply (or have someone infer) that we can somehow improve on God's blueprint for the Church. So we deliberately limit our officers to those stated in Scripture.


In addition, the need for proper administration of the local church has increased as the regulations of government have increased. This might lead some Christians to argue that administration of the local church is therefore secular and not Biblical. This, of course, is not the case. Acts 6:1-7 is best known for the initiation of the office of deacon. But we must not forget that this office was brought into being because of the administrative load placed on the apostles.


As noted above, the elders (since we no longer have the office of apostle) are the ones called to be the primary administrators of the local church. Scripture uses specific verbs to describe their role. They are the ones who lead (Heb. 13:7,17,24), who shepherd (Acts 20:28), who oversee (I Peter 5:2), and who rule (or "direct the affairs of the church" as one modern translation puts it; I Tim. 5:17). All of these terms refer to some aspect of local church administration.


In addition to their function (what they are called to do), some elders have "administration" as a spiritual gift. This is found in two specific Greek words -- the term "rule" in Romans 12:8, and the term "government" in I Corinthians 12:28. The word "rule" means to direct or guide (the same word found in I Timothy 5:17). The word "government" means to administrate or steer. The noun form of this word is found in Acts 27:11 and refers to the ship's captain (i.e. the one standing at the helm). So contrary to what some Christians believe, the elders are at the helm of the local church -- not the congregation. They are leaders, not facilitators (I Thess. 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17). So the congregation should leave the administration of the church to the elders and the deacons, who are called and gifted by God for that purpose.

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