October 2021 | Service of Love

Administration is a Spiritual Gift
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Administration is a Spiritual Gift

Dr. John K. Mathew

Trying to define and understand the concept of administration has been the focus of research for countless decades. Many have sought to define the term,explain the theory, and provide a rationale for the activities involved.

A few Christian authors have tried to contextualize the term theologically. 

"Management Essentials For Christian Ministries" is a book edited by Michael J. Anthony and James Estep Jr. It reads," Administration is a gift of God given to individuals to equip them to serve in a leadership role. While it may be a temptation to rely upon our own abilities and talents to provide leadership, the Christian administrator must always remember that our capacity for leadership is in fact a God given gift for use in His service. 

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul emphasizes three times that God is the giver of the gifts and that the gifts were meant not for personal benefit or betterment,but for the ministry of his people. "In 1 Corinthians 12:28, the gift of administration is listed with a variety of other spiritual gifts. The reference is to those gifts that qualify a Christian to give good direction to the church.  The Greek word used here is 'kybernesis', which means 'steersman' or 'pilot'.

Consider a sailing vessel. It is a hollow object with buoyancy that allows it to carry a cargo. It has a keel on the bottom that give it stability. Sails give it mobility and power yet for the vessel to be functional, it needs a rudder that is used to give it direction. The rudder is useless, though, without the 

steersman moving it to provide direction and steering the ship to the desired direction.

God doesn't want his church that he formed at the expense of His Son's blood, aimless and without direction in the world. Therefore, he has appointed leaders (administrators) to the church. Paul says: 

"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Cor. 14:40).

 In the words of Robert Welch,"what Paul is saying is that when we "do church", we are to do it in a proper and fitting manner. There should be order,not chaos.There should be sensibility, not insensibility.There should be consistency, not discord. There should be guidance, not responsibility".

But what is happening in the church at large, reminds us of this story. A slave trading vessel which was returning from Africa with its cargo of 'black ivory'. Two hundred slaves were packed together under the decks.

One of them was a great chief, who lay in the hold plotting revenge for this deadly insult. His opportunity came when the guards had grown careless. He overpowered the sailor who had the key for the irons which chained them. Quietly he released the other slaves and at a given signal they rushed on the deck, overpowered the crew, murdered them and threw their bodies overboard. They were free.  But there was something they had forgotten. None of them knew anything about the sailing ship. They had seen the sailors watching the compass, but to them the compass was like a god or a devil.  They thought they might persuade it to guide them home, if they fell down and worshipped it. But the compass was useless to them because they knew nothing of the great magnetic forces which the compass obeys. 

The slaves got their freedom and power, but power without the right direction leads inevitably to disaster.

In the development of two major organizations, the nation of Israel and the church God chose significant leaders for the task of leadership and organization. They were Moses and Paul. Both were men of integrity, intelligence and insight.

Let this Biblical example and parameters be considered when we choose our administrators. 

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