Showing posts in 'Administration Series'

Growing in Jesus-centred administration

Helen Thorne | 30 Sep 2011

Over the past few blogs we’ve been looking at some practical ways to keep Christ at the centre of our paperwork and planning. If it’s a subject that has grabbed your attention, why not commit to digging a little deeper? To help you, here are 3 great resources:


Jesus-centred rotas

Helen Thorne | 29 Sep 2011

Churches seem to have rotas for everything: welcoming, reading, praying, cleaning, arranging flowers … even cutting up the bread for communion. And the average church noticeboard can at times look like operational HQ for a global logistics firm.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being organized. And it’s far better to have a rota than just ‘wing things’ on the day and hope that everything will be OK. But how much thought and prayer goes in to formulating our rotas? If you are anything like me – not enough!

We know that it’s important to deploy members of the congregation wisely … placing them on rotas in ways that use and develop their gifts to the glory of God. But in reality we all too often default to simply sticking names in boxes because the jobs need doing and we’ve got to find someone to fill the gap. The trouble is, that’s a system that invariable ends up with some Christians getting over-burdened and others under-developed – while administrators just get stressed and fall into nag-mode. Hardly a God-glorifying scenario!

Formulating rotas needs to be a team effort – a job where leaders and administrators work together not to fill in charts but to help people grow. It’s a task that needs us to be:

  • Prayerful – as we ask God’s wisdom to help discern who has the gifts necessary to serve the Kingdom, clothed in spiritual dress (Ephesians 6:18)
  • Relational – as we spend time talking to people about how best they can serve in the local church and discuss with them the importance of using their gifts to serve others (1Peter 4:10)
  • Strategic – as we actively identify new people to take on new roles and encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try new things in ways that encourage healthy functioning within the body of Christ (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Relaxed – as we don’t worry about the odd gap in the rota. If the flowers don’t get arranged one week – or indeed if there’s an odd Sunday without a music group, the Kingdom of God won't fall!

It’s time-consuming doing it this way. But the results can be exciting. It grows willing volunteers, keen to develop, prayerful and clear about why they are doing the job they are doing, convinced that their service is of value to the Kingdom and confident that they wont be stuck on the rota for ever! So next time you’re writing a rota, give it a go and put Jesus right back at the centre of the planning …

Jesus-centred notice sheets

Helen Thorne | 28 Sep 2011

Where would we be without our weekly notice sheets? They’re an invaluable hub of communication. But all too often they don’t get read or they don’t get read with joy.

The problem is, church notice sheets tend to be quite good at setting out what is happening or needed. But they are often very bad at focusing us all on why such things are happening and why our involvement is so vital. Week after week, they invite us to ‘do things’ rather than encourage us to reflect, pray and function as the body of Christ is called to do (1Cor 12:12-31). They encourage us to become burdened instead of inspiring us to serve.

It’s time to put Jesus back at the centre of our notice sheets!

Next time you are advertising a service or event, try to avoid merely saying where and when it’s happening. Remind people why it’s happening. And how it fits with the overall mission and vision of the church. Is it an exciting opportunity to get to know Jesus better? Or an event that is great for introducing non-believers to Christianity? Let people know how it will enhance their personal relationship with God or equip them to serve him more.

And the next time you are looking for a volunteer, be clear that you’re not just looking for someone to do a task, but that the role is a chance to serve our heavenly Father, using Spiritual gifts in ways that glorify Jesus. It’s an opportunity to be part of the mission of God and the mission of the church. And prayerfully getting involved will help both personal growth and progress the gospel.

With Jesus right at the centre, we might just find that people start reading the notice sheet that little bit more enthusiastically!

Jesus-centred agendas

Helen Thorne | 28 Sep 2011

Few people get excited about meetings. They usually happen when we’re tired, take us away from our family or friends and all too often achieve frustratingly little. However, contrary to popular belief, meetings CAN be fantastic events that inspire and equip us to serve God better. How? By keeping Jesus as the centre of the agenda!

A traditional agenda can be so depressing:

  1. Apologies [Explanation of why Doris’ knee is keeping her away]
  2. Minutes of the last meeting [Everyone reads the notes and remembers how irritated they got last time]
  3. Matters arising [Hobby-horses are mounted and last meeting’s arguments reworked]
  4. Written reports [Someone talks in a monotone about papers that everyone has already read]

An hour into the meeting, nothing new has been achieved, half the members are fuming, the other half asleep. And then the main item for discussion is raised... No-one is in the right frame of mind to discuss it. It’s dire beyond belief. But we do it, out of habit, month after month.

So is there a better way? Well, quite possibly! Next time you organize a meeting, try this …

  • Make Bible study and prayer the first item to focus everyone on the awesomeness of God.
  • Make whatever item is most important to the gospel the second item. Doing this means that the really crucial stuff gets discussed while everyone is fresh and focused on God.
  • Briefly pray between every main item.
  • Offer biblical reflection on every big decision to keep Jesus’ priorities right at the centre of the discussions. And be clear about how each new decision fits with your church’s overall mission / vision.
  • Leave all the mundane stuff like signing off the minutes and accepting reports until the end – people will be far briefer!
  • And then finish the meeting in prayer. Commit the decisions to God. And, of course, pray hard for Doris’ knee …

Jesus-centred administration

Helen Thorne | 28 Sep 2011

It doesn't feel very spiritual, does it? Filing. Form-filling. Photocopying. Emailing. But the Bible is clear that administration is a spiritual matter (1 Corinthians 12:28).

At its best, it's the exercise of a God-given gift in a way that brings glory to Jesus and helps progress his Kingdom. Sadly, however, it all too often becomes drudgery and bureaucracy - an unpleasant but necessary task to keep the wheels of the church turning.

A key question for all of us, whether we're pastors, youth workers, women's workers or church secretaries is: how do we do administration in a way that is mindful of its spiritual nature? The answer ... by keeping Jesus at the centre!

So over the next few days, we're going to look at 3 simple ways to keep Christ at the heart of our meetings, our noticesheets, our rotas and all our piles of paperwork.

Read on ... you may never view an agenda in the same way again!

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