Welch, Robert H. Church Administration: Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry. Second Edition ed. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011.
In the world of leadership, there are libraries full of books identifying the next twenty-one leadership principles to guide decision-making. There are volumes written regarding corporate shift from good to great. There are definitively less books written from the perspective of church administration, this is where Dr. Robert Welch has found his niche, and his bookChurch Administration can make a significant impact. Beginning with the Jethro Principle, Welch provides excellent insight and resources into the lives of church administrators. The position of church administrator creates debate within the walls of the church; some feel as though the position is too business minded and that the church is not a business, while others feel as though the position is ordained. This reaction paper examines five key insights and five implications for church organizational structure.
In the church administration world, there are variations of the position within various churches. Potentially, this is a position that even shifts when new senior leadership is established. This section will examine five key insights discussed by Welch. First, there are four styles of church administrator identified: the showman, the doubting Thomas, the monk, and the control freak. Each church administrator will fit into one of these classifications. While these names have a negative connotation to them, Welch utilizes the terms for humor sake. Of these four styles of church administration, each holds positive and negative influence. Second, there must be a form of personnel evaluation established within the organizational structure of the church.Without this, the church quickly becomes a country club and the staff is ineffective in their positions. Personnel evaluations do not have to be negative in focus; rather they can reflect the Carrot Principle when holding a positive approach to the topic. Third, stewarding of financialresources holds tremendous tension, but in a church world often enveloped in Financial Peace or Crown Ministries, the church must also determine to follow these practical, biblical principles.One aspect of following these principles revolves around wise stewardship in the areas of debt, salaries, and acquisitions. All three of these areas can quickly demoralize a staff, and dry-out the financial security of an organization. Fourth, the church administrator must not only utilize the financial resources well, but also the physical resources. Not every church meets in their own bought and paid-for facility, many are deep in debt and others simply rent locations, therefore, the physical resources of the church must also be a high priority. Transporting and storing equipment can be costly; therefore, churches must ration the needed operations for a wise use of time, space, energy, and cost. Fifth, the last key insight to examine is that of risk management, this one key insight maybe as important as or more so than the rest. Risk management is one area that the church has failed to support and as a result, various tragedies have exposed it. The church must have strategic plans in place for all forms of emergency, without this, the church becomes a community susceptible to thieves, abusers, and the like, therefore, a risk management tool must be developed to guide churches into the correct mindset of protection.
After examining five of the key insights found within Church Administration, this section of the reaction paper will focus on the five implications stemming from these insights into the church organizational structure. First, once a church administrator understands his/her own style of leadership he/she can begin to fine-tune their style to reduce the negative tendencies and increase the positives. In order to accomplish the church administrator can identify his/her strengths and weaknesses, and/or through the application of strategic leadership principles. Second, without formal personnel evaluation plans in place the staff will become ineffectual in their roles and will fail to advance the kingdom. To develop a personnel evaluation plan is not always a negative, as the concept of recognition attaches nicely to this process. This can also be a point to utilize altruistic leadership principles where the church administrator and staff membersrealign to find properly fitting positions. Third, stewarding financial resources in the church, there will always be those individuals that perceive because they give the most they have the most say, this could not be further from the truth. It is the senior pastor and church administrator that must win this individual to gain their buy-in for the direction the church is heading. In addition, properly developed staff salary packages, mortgage rates or refinancing, and proper allocation policies and procedures can save both time and money. Fourth, when the church is renting a location, the church administrator and senior pastor, must develop a streamlined, time-sensitive, and cost effective stage presence that allows for the advancement of the gospel, reflects the vision and mission of the ministry, and brings glory to God. All while minimizing the utilization of finances, time, energy, and volunteers. Fifth, the implications attached to risk management are heavy. In a culture of tragedy after tragedy, the church must make every effort to limit this type of event at their location. Previously, there have been shootings, physical and sexual abuse, abductions, and many other risk management issues at churches; yet, many do not have a proper risk management plan in place. The era of thinking it will not happen here is over and the church must begin to realize that they are not a modern day city of refuge. Does this mean armed guards all around? No, but it does mean that the church administrator must develop a plan that specifically addresses these modern causes of concern.
Within the organizational structure of the church, there are deep issues at hand that the church administrator must begin to harmonize. This reaction paper addressed five key insights and provided specific implications if these insights are not addressed. The position of church administrator holds a tremendous amount of pressure, yet often the only requirement for this position is organization. Without a strategic mind that is able to process, develop, and implement specific plans of this nature the individual in the role of church administrator will only be filling a chair. The biblical foundation for this position requires someone like Moses or Paul, who can organize, structure, and lead in the midst of uncertainty and stress. For this reason, as well as those previously listed, the position of church administration is highly valued and considered one of great honor when properly administered.