When I first became a pastor, I faced fewer administrative responsibilities than I do today.
It’s not that my schedule wasn’t full. (In those early days, I preached three times per week, taught Sunday school and soulwinning, and knocked on a minimum of five hundred doors each week as well as following up with guests from services.) It’s just that the week-to-week responsibilities of ministry were primarily sermon preparation and personal outreach and followup.
But as the Lord grew our church, I found that I needed to grow in administrative skills.
Administration is not one of the top skills most people think of when they think of the responsibilities of the pastorate. Most pastors I know are far more passionate about preaching God’s Word and in-the-trenches personal ministry than they are about spreadsheets or files. But administration is necessary to the work of the Lord.
Why should a pastor grow in administrative skills?
1. To Glorify God
The end goal in every skill is not to make life easier for ourselves, but to glorify God. And God is glorified when the details related to the work of the ministry are handled with intention and excellence.
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.—1 Corinthians 14:33
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31
2. To Create Pastoral Study Time
Perhaps the most significant responsibility of a pastor is the preach God’s Word consistently and accurately. This kind of preaching requires significant time in study. But if the details of ministry are not managed well, they will continually eat into the large portions of time that should be invested in Bible study and message preparation.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.—2 Timothy 4:2
3. To Create Time for Leadership
I don’t know how many pastors I’ve heard over the years say something like, “Well, I’m just not a good administrator.” I understand that, and I sympathize. But what always surprises me is if they don’t add a follow up like, “But I’m learning” or, “So I’ve hired someone who excels in administration to help me.”
Without causative intention, it’s easy for a leader to shift into the role of a manager. Rather than spending time in prayer, review, and intentional planning that will develop vision and set direction, he is pulled down by a poorly-planned schedule, unforeseen events, and continual crises. Growth (and sometimes extra help) in administration can allow a pastor the time he needs to truly lead rather than simply manage.
4. To Meet the Needs of the Congregation
Benevolence, hospital visits, absentee calls, discipleship, facility upkeep, Sunday school teacher training, youth events, hospitality…these don’t happen without intention and a plan. They take time, attention, and a bias for action. And this is facilitated through careful administration.
As we see in Acts 6, often the kind of administration required to meet the needs of members can be helped through deacons. I thank the Lord for our deacons at Lancaster Baptist, for the many volunteers who jump in to help, and for our staff who help me serve God’s people.
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.—Acts 6:1–3
5. To Reach Lost Souls
The mission of the church is the Great Commission of Christ. When we spin our wheels in disorganization and disarray, we lose focus from our mission and effectiveness in our labor. Those who suffer the most from our lack of attention to administration are those who miss hearing the gospel.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.—Matthew 28:19–20
Administration isn’t an exciting or obviously fruitful area of ministry. But don’t let that keep you from growing in it. It is a necessary area of leadership.