No insult is meant to this honorable profession, but most of us would quickly grow bored with an accountant lecturing us on his work. Similarly, speaking of administration may cause readers to bypass this article. Yet please keep reading.
Just as keeping the books is vital to the financial well-being of an organization, so is exercising proper administration in the local church. As elders engage in the triune God’s work of overseeing Christ’s church, they must see that Christ wants them to pay careful attention to the administration of the congregation.
In describing the glorious work of redemption of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the church in Ephesians 1, Paul concludes by stating that Christ is the Head of His body (Eph. 1:22–23). To that end, he says that our salvation is “a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10). The Greek word translated “plan” (oikonomia) means “administration” or “stewardship,” and it is where we get our word economy. Paul is conveying that everything in the church is to be watched over so that Christ is honored.
An orderly pastorate. Because the word minister means “servant,” the pastor should organize his week around serving the church. He plans his weekly schedule so that there is the proper time for sermon study and prayer. He makes and keeps appointments to visit, counsel, and disciple God’s people. He should respond in a timely manner to communications and requests. Many pastors need an assistant to help them with these tasks.
A dutiful eldership. The pastor and elders of the church should meet regularly to discuss matters related to caring personally for God’s people, planning church ministries, and overseeing matters related to congregational life. They make decisions related to membership, such as bringing people into the church, disciplining unruly members, and removing people from the roll. Keeping careful minutes and records of their proceedings is part of this sacred duty.
An attentive diaconate. The elders need to ensure that the deacons are well trained in their important duties. A plan for conducting mercy ministry should be in place and faithfully executed. Proper care and maintenance of the church property enhance the ministry. A well-structured budget that properly allocates the giving of the saints is essential.
An organized congregation. The leaders of the church are to equip the sheep and lead them faithfully into fruitful ministry. Gifts are to be recognized and cultivated. Whether in a small congregation with simple activities or in a larger church with community ministries, the people should be knowledgeable and trained on how they can serve the kingdom of God.
Pastors and elders are to “watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account” to the Lord for how they have stewarded the household of God (Heb. 13:17). That opening accounting illustration is a properly fitting analogy.