Chapter 1.
An Introduction to Administration

But you should select from all the people able men, God fearing, trustworthy and hating bribes. Place them over the people as officials of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens... they can bring you every important case but judge every minor case themselves. In this way you will lighten your load and they will bear it with you.

Exodus 18:21-23

One day Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came up over a sand dune and looked down on a long line of people. It was an interesting group, and it was apparent that all were not happy wanderers. Fights, arguments, discord and disenchantment would be good words to describe this group of Israelites. Every once in a while a person would just get discouraged and leave the line.

Jethro noted that at the head of the line was his son-in-law, sitting under a tent listening to the various people who made their way to him. So he went down to see what was going on. “Mo,” he said, “what’s going on here?” “Well, honored father-in-law,” Moses responded, “God made me these people’s leader. They have disputes, and I am here to listen to them and settle the problems. I sit here day in and day out listening to all these gripes, solving personal and marital problems, and trying to explain theological issues.” Jethro was astonished. Had not Moses read Drucker during his years in the Pharaoh’s palace? In the kind words of a father-in-law, Jethro responded; “You’re crazy!” Having expressed his true sentiment, he went on to explain, “If you keep this up, you are going to experience burnout in ministry. What will become of my daughter if you go over the deep end? But worse yet, what will become of the people? God has made you their leader. If you are not able to lead because of fatigue, then they will suffer, and God’s purpose for them will not be achieved.” Now Jethro was a Midianite priest, which made him a leader. Good leaders know you do not pose a problem without providing a resolution. So he told Moses, “Select some men who are prominent in the nation. Look for quality men who are moral in character and righteous in virtue. Place them in charge of portions of the nation. Don’t overwhelm them. Assign the most capable person to groups of one thousand, then give them two lieutenants who can lead five hundred each of that group. Keep dividing the group into smaller units with leaders of each subgroup of one hundred, fifty, ten, or whatever. Now each subgroup leader is to be responsible to the leader above him. Let these various leaders solve problems at their level. If they can’t solve the problem, then they have someone over them whom they can take it to. That way you can reserve your decision-making responsibilities for the biggies—responding only to the issues that the leaders of the thousands bring to you or issues to which God directs you. Now if you listen to my sage advice, not only will it be easier for you, but you will develop some leaders as well.” If you will excuse my transliteration of Exodus 18 above, some interesting facts may be drawn from the passage:

In the letter to the church at Corinth, Paul wrote about how the conduct of the affairs of the body should be carried out: “How is it then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, another language, or an interpretation. All things must be done for edification” (1 Cor. 14:26). Then Paul addressed the confusion that follows whenever all of these are being done at the same time, or whenever there is no order to the activities: “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).

Vines in his Complete Dictionary of New Testament Words says that the word that has been translated “peace”—eirene in the Greek—means quietness, a harmonized relationship, a sense of rest and contentment.

Paul continued his instructions in this fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians to speak to other issues that disrupt the orderliness and function of the church. While he encouraged a variety of forms of Christian expression, he cautioned in verse 40 “Everything must be done decently and in order.” The New International Version translates this phrase, “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” The Living Bible says, “Done properly in a good and orderly way.” The New Living Translation renders it, “Be sure that everything is done properly and in order.” 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 insensitivity. There should be consistency, not discord. There should be guidance, not irresponsibility.

In the development of two major organizations of the Bible—the nation of Israel beyond the era of the patriarchal fathers from Abraham and the local church beyond the era of the ministry of Christ—God chose significant leaders who were prepared for the task of leadership and organization. Moses, though born a Hebrew, was brought up in the household of the pharaoh of Egypt. At the time of Moses, Egypt was the ruler of the world. Thus, in his development in the court of the pharaoh, Moses had access to the literature, history, and languages of virtually the known world of his day. Egypt was a highly organized society with sophisticated systems of commerce, transportation, and government. Its military was next to none. Moses was taught all this as part of his preparations for leadership.

Paul (known before his conversion as Saul), like Moses also had a dual citizenship. Paul was a Hebrew, but he was also a Roman citizen. Saul was from Tarsus, the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia and home to a significant Roman university and school of philosophy. The Roman culture in the time of Paul was highly organized, much as Egypt was in the time of Moses. The Romans revered knowledge, skill, and craft. They embraced the academia of Greece, the science of the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians, and the art of their own culture. As Rome conquered the world, they absorbed the best of each culture and organized it around Roman philosophy. It is obvious from his writing and later experiences that Paul received a significant education from the University of Tarsus.

Both Moses and Paul received divinely appointed calls from God to carry out his mission of leadership. Moses, from the burning bush, was called by God to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land. Paul, from the blinding call by Christ on the Damascus Road, was called to form the ekklesia into the body called the church. Both received significant preparatory religious education—Moses from Jethro, a Midianite priest; and Paul from Gamaliel, one of the most important Jewish rabbis at the time.

And both were ordained of God to record God’s instructions in written form. Moses, drawing on his access to vast historical context and revelation; and Paul from his research, eyewitness account, and revelation. The documents written by these men provided the foundation for the order and operation of the priesthood and the sacrificial worship system of the Old Testament as well as the organization of the church and the integration of the ministries (gifts) of the body of Christ in the New Testament.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read, “And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next, miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages.” Many other translations render the word managing as “administrations.” It comes from the Greek kubernētēs, which has as its root the context of a helmsman steering a ship. Kubernētēs is used uniquely in 1 Corinthians 12 and in Romans 12 in the listing of spiritual gifts.

Consider a sailing vessel. It is a hollow object with buoyancy which allows it to carry a cargo. It has a keel on the bottom that gives it stability. Sails give it mobility and power. Yet for the vessel to be functional, it needs a rudder to give it direction. The rudder is useless, though, without a helmsman moving it to provide direction and steering the ship to the desired objective. But the helmsman does not take the ship where he wants it to go; there is direction given by someone over him, the captain of the ship. The captain receives his direction from some superior authority who tells him that this is the strategic position that his ship will play in the overall objective of the fleet. The commanding officer of the ship consults his officers and directs the helmsman to move the rudder left and right to take the ship on course to meet the objectives set before them.

With this ship metaphor, as we consider the church, we see that the use of the term kubernētēs is appropriate for the context. The leadership of the church (the pastor) receives sailing orders from God through the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Pastors consult others in the leadership of the church and then direct certain individuals whom the Holy Spirit has empowered to carry out the mission and objectives of the church. All are not helmsmen, but each has unique responsibilities in meeting the goals set before the church.

In the New Testament significant passages relate to this description of administration in the church:

  1. Administration is not practical versus spiritual (2 Cor. 9:12-15).
  2. Administration is about the minister’s total task (Titus 1:5-9).
  3. Administration is brought about by scholarly study (2 Tim. 2:15).
  4. Administration is an art to be practiced (James 2:14-18).
  5. Administration is concerned primarily with persons, not processes (1 Cor. 12:18-28).
  6. Administration is the means to an end, the process that leads to a product (Phil. 3:13-17).
  7. Administration is an orderly process (1 Cor. 14:40).
  8. Administration is a preserver of peace, not a producer of conflict (1 Cor. 8:7-13).
  9. Administration is a source of fellowship (Acts 2:42).

Throughout this text additional passages of Scripture will be given for every topic introduced to demonstrate that the role of administrative leadership is found throughout the Bible. The objective is to validate from Scripture certain activities that ensure the viability of the New Testament church organization. Essential to this is an understanding by leadership of the administrative responsibilities of the church:

  1. To define and set forth the purposes, aims, objectives, and goals of the church.
  2. To lay down a broad plan for structuring the church organization.
  3. To organize and recruit the executive staff outlined in the plan.
  4. To provide clear delegation and allocation of authority and responsibility.
  5. To provide standardization of all activities and programs in order to ensure that goals and objectives are uniformly met.
  6. To make provisions for committees, councils, and ministry teams to achieve good coordination between all facets of the ministry.
  7. To provide for evaluation and look ahead to ways of improving church programs, activities, and ministry.

Historical Philosophy of Administration

“Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ” (Col. 2:8).

When man began to organize his society and to order the culture is difficult to pinpoint. We know the history of mankind recorded in Genesis demonstrates numerous activities that indicate an intelligent and organized society. They had governments, they built cities, and they formed armies and carried out commerce and trade.

Prior to Abram (Abraham) leaving Paddan-Aram, first into Aram, and then the promised land, we know that the cultures of his home country of Mesopotamia were very sophisticated. In an ancient library found in Nippur of Babylonia, hundreds of clay writing tablets recorded a civilization of history, poetry, commerce, taxes, and religion. Management systems were designed by the Sumerian priests to maintain and hold their vast tax system and to record and inventory loans and personal accounts.

In Genesis 41 we find Joseph conducting a refined and extensive business in the house of the Egyptian pharaoh. In fact Genesis 11-50 describes a civilization of refined organization and structure. Archeological evidence demonstrates that at the time of the pharaohs, Hammurabi in Babylonia developed a code that addressed minimum wages, control of buying and selling, and management (leadership) responsibility. Over a thousand years later, records indicate that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia instituted an inventory control system and an incentive wage system based on worker production.

While other historical and archaeological evidence seems to point to structured cultures in Greece, India, China, and Southern Europe, organization and management philosophy seemed to remain a conceptual design of the dominant leader and had no fixed structure. Thus, while management and organization did exist, it was nebulous and not well articulated. The principles used were derived out of necessity and functioned for the time of the leader.

In summary, three important models for organization existed:

  1. The military with its generals and admirals who led armies and fleets into battle. There was a hierarchy of leadership, and this hierarchy was strictly (and often cruelly) enforced. Success was attributed to the brilliance of the winner, and failure was a function of poor leadership, poor equipment, or numbers of followers. Success was highly sought after since it meant living to fight another day.
  2. The government with its emperors, kings, potentates, and rulers. Successful governments lead the people. The consideration of the individual that made up the populace was usually not even made. Governments existed because the leaders had some type of “power” over others—whether military, taxation, ownership, or mystical.
  3. The religions of the world with their priests and a hierarchal chain of command that flowed through a series of ecclesiastical and clerical levels. Often the organization calls upon the follower to ascribe to some tenet of belief, ritual, sacrifice, or other type of commitment.

Organized management philosophy of the workplace is a latter-day arrival. Prior to the industrial revolution, much of society was built around self-reliance. You planted your fields and harvested what you needed. You traded or bartered away the excess to fulfill a need that you did not have the capacity to fulfill. Fishermen traded the daily catch for lumber to build or repair their boats. Farmers traded the produce of the field to the tanner for leather to make implements. You built your own equipment, your own wagon, your own house.

In time, however, craftspeople came on the scene who could do something better than other people. Their craft and skill became a sought-after item. In this context business management theory began to develop. It flowed out of the evolution of the craft trades and the master craftsmen who flourished in them. It was not until the late nineteenth century and through the twentieth century that administrative philosophy came to fruition.

Four major philosophies of management thought have evolved in the past century.

The Scientific School

This philosophy best embodies the concept of task management by administrators. It was most clearly expressed by the engineer Frederick Taylor in his book, The Principles of Scientific Management. Four principles are given.

  1. Discover the best way to accomplish a task. This relied upon the master craftsman to analyze tasks in time-and-motion studies. How best to produce the product efficiently. How could equipment and resources be better used? Every stick of wood, every swing of the saw, every fastener used was accounted for.
  2. Discover the best worker to accomplish the task. This expanded the apprentice and journeyman concept of the craft age to encompass the recruitment and coordination of others in the task. The wagon master would recruit the blacksmith to make the wheels, brackets, and fasteners. The tanner would provide the harness and cushions. Inherent in this discovery process was the training and development a worker would receive that provided him opportunity for increased salary.
  3. Provide incentives for the workers. Up to this point salary was nonexistent. Individuals worked because of indentured responsibility, family responsibility, or the desire to learn a skill at the expense of remuneration for work accomplished. Taylor said that increased incentives would increase productivity, which would in turn result in higher production and profit.
  4. Provide close supervision by the manager. Perhaps the most significant result of the Scientific School was the definition and demarcation between labor and management. Managers knew best how to do the job; workers did it. The worker had little say in how the task was to be accomplished. Management planned the work, provided the resources and tools, and management was responsible for marketing the products.

While the Scientific School was not truly “scientific,” its Victorian moniker does illustrate that for the first time man was beginning to think about how he did his work and carried out business. Benefits to this philosophy were significant for the company because it meant increased productivity and profits. On the other hand, the scientific approach was a significant demoralizer for the common worker. The worker became a tool, a tool that could be manipulated and used. Managers assumed that the worker worked to earn money and that an inherent desire for identity or personal pride in a job well done were cast aside. The inhumane application of this approach would lead to the study of the worker and the second philosophy of management.

The Human Behavior School

This management philosophy came out of a growing need by organizations to create an environment for their personnel to have greater productivity. Most management scholars point to the 1927 Hawthorne studies conducted by Elton Mayo at the Western Electric Plant in Cicero, Illinois, as the basis for the theory. In his book The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization, Mayo describes his studies of variance of light intensity and the effect that it had on production in the assembly areas. The basic question was, What level of light intensity was necessary to ensure maximum productivity? The basis of the study was the desire by the company to save the costs of electrical lighting in the production area while at the same time ensuring maximum output.

Mayo used a typical research study format of a control group that got no variance of light intensity and an experimental group whose light intensity changed every day. The objective was to lower lights until the production rate significantly decreased below the standard set by the control group.

What Mayo discovered in his results had nothing to do with light intensity; it had everything to do with human nature. He found it made no difference whether the lighting was poor or good; productivity in the experimental group increased. What impressed the researcher and the company was that when the control group discovered that the other segment of the production crew was being tested, they increased productivity—possibly out of fear of losing their jobs because they might be perceived as producing less.

Mayo discovered that neither issues of physical fatigue, monotony, nor an environmental issue such as lighting affected production. The important factors of increased productivity were the perception of the worker that management was paying attention to them and the pride of the worker by being placed in a special group, and conversely, the pride in workmanship despite being placed in a special category by the control group. It all focused on the individual, the worker—not the work.

The results of this experiment have been termed the Hawthorne Effect and have caused management to reconsider their attitude of a worker as merely a tool but as a social and psychological being who has needs, desires, and motivation that are intrinsic to their personal psyche.

One of the problems that emerged out of this theory and the desire for management to make application is that it is not as well defined as the Scientific School with its procedural-driven methodology. Douglas McGregor introduced in his book, The Human Side of Enterprise, the theory X and theory Y worker. McGregor’s thesis was that management must change the attitude and perception of the worker, assessing workers for what their capabilities are and how best to address those issues. His theory X worker is a passive, low-risk taker who prefers job security. McGregor says that this worker needs to be administered with policies, rules, and close supervision. His theory Y person, on the other hand, is an individual who works best in a creative and reward-focused, incentive atmosphere. Their potential and capability needs to be considered; they require less supervision. Mayo’s and McGregor’s work has brought into tension the age-old question by management—when do we focus on the job, and when do we focus on the worker doing the job?

The Management Process School

While American and European businesses were scurrying to make application of the Scientific School to their organization in hopes for greater productivity (and profits), a French mining director began to consider how the theory could best be applied. Henri Fayol began as a mining engineer and worked his way through the organization to the directorship. Often considered as classical management theory, Fayol postulated that there existed a difference between the role that management played and that of the administrative supervisor—giving management a higher status.

Fayol divided business operations into six segments:

  1. Technical—producing and manufacturing products
  2. Commercial—buying raw materials and selling products
  3. Financial—acquiring and using capital
  4. Security—protecting employees and property
  5. Accounting—taking stock of profit and costs
  6. Managing—the functions of guiding the organization

Thus, Fayol defined management as something someone did, not a title or a position. In his book, General and Industrial Management, Fayol described five functions of a manager:

  1. Planning—examining the future and drawing up a plan of action
  2. Organizing—building up a dual structure of human resources and materials to achieve an undertaking
  3. Commanding—maintaining activity among the personnel of the organization
  4. Coordinating—binding together, unifying, and harmonizing all activity and effort
  5. Controlling—seeing that everything was accomplished in conformity with the established plan

Fayol then set about to define fourteen principles that describe how these functions could be carried out: division of labor, authority, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interest to the common good, remuneration, centralization, hierarchy, order, equity, stability of staff, initiative, and esprit de corps.

Fayol stated these are skills that can be learned and that management can become a vocation as a scientific discipline. For him, with these learned skills and with an understanding of the scheme as outlined in his five functions, the process could be applied in any organizational situation.

The Quantitative School

In the last half of the twentieth century, management concepts became processes of technology. With the advent of the modern computer, calculations, including analyses, became less burdensome and more accurately derived. Capitalizing on statistical analysis, management processes became functions of an operations analysis network rather than a group of managers sitting in a conference room surrounded by charts and production estimates. The Quantitative School takes the problems faced by management and calls on experts from various disciplines to solve the problems using mathematical models. It takes advantage of the systematic approaches of Taylor and Fayol and adds to it the tools of modern qualitative analysis.

The school had as its birth the advent of the nuclear age and the U.S. Navy’s desire to produce a nuclear-powered submarine. From start to finish, how long would it take to design, gather the resources, build, man with qualified personnel, and provide an operational weapon of war? Starting with lumps of iron ore, unprocessed uranium, and technologies yet to be developed, operations analysis explored every eventuality of the process and created a time line for completion.

The process took the utilization of specialists from physical science, engineering, accounting, human resources, economists, government, and industry. This group followed a six-step process:

  1. Formulate the problem.—Address both the consumer’s problem and the researcher’s problems.
  2. Construct a mathematical model.—Develop a formula that will represent the system under study. Express the effectiveness of the system as a function of a set of variables with at least one of them being able to control. These variables may fluctuate and may even be under the control of a competitor.
  3. Derive a solution.—From the model find the values of control that maximize the system’s effectiveness.
  4. Test the model and solution.—Evaluate the variables, checking the model’s predictions against reality and comparing actual to forecasted results.
  5. Establish controls over the solution.—Develop tools for determining when significant changes occur in the variables and functions on which the solution depends. Determine how to modify the solution in light of changes.
  6. Put the solution to work.—Implement and evaluate actual results.

One significant advantage of the Quantitative School was that it brought management to the point that problems must be considered in a holistic sense, whereas other theories looked at the work, the worker, or the process. This system addressed all these factors.

Historical Foundations for Administrative Theory

Modern management theory continues to evolve with the introduction of numerous new theories or applications. Three are worthy of mention:

The Systems Approach

This approach of Koontz and O’Donnell and others describes management as a synergy whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts and operates in either an open (interacts with the environment) or closed (no environmental interaction) system. The Systems Approach encourages the manager to combine the concern for task, people, process, and problems in an approach that calls for a manager to integrate his style of management to fit the situation.

The Contingency Approach

This approach describes a system that varies with the situation or circumstances that are present. It allows the manager to ask the question, “Given the task to be accomplished and the individuals that I have to complete the task, the time constraints, and other environmental issues, how best should the situation be managed?” The contingency approach would have managers draw from the foundational theories described above and select the theory or combination of theories described above and select that which best applies in the particular situation. This approach is best exampled in the work of Paul Hersey’s The Situational Leader and in Blanchard and Johnson’s The One Minute Manager. In both of these models, the manager is called upon to evaluate the context and content of the task and merge that with his assessment of the individual’s capability and motivation to accomplish an assigned task.

The Total Quality Management Approach

This method describes a systematic and structured approach to continuous improvement. The system had its birth with the work of Walter Shewhart prior to World War II with the utilization of control charts and sampling methods and the development of the philosophy of quality assurance. TQM is best associated with the work of W. Edwards Deming, who used the model to revive the Japanese economy after World War II. There are five principles associated with TQM:

  1. Customer focused—what does the customer want?
  2. Systems thinking—consider the activity from beginning to end.
  3. Leadership—remain focused to the service or product.
  4. Continuous improvement—give attention at every phase of the operation.
  5. Shared decision-making—implement at all level, worker to manager, in the organization.

These three facets of the model—quality control, the participative work environment, and customer-driven products—form the basis for management decisions.

Administration Defined

To understand how modern administration is carried out in the local church or nonprofit organization, it is necessary to define the terms management and administration. Many authors will use these terms synonymously, often making no differentiation between the focus of each. As has already been discussed in this chapter, early managers were in fact both decision-makers and supervisors of the work. But as management theory evolved, a definite demarcation developed between the manager, decision maker, and the individual or individuals who actually accomplished the work.

In a modern corporation today, you will find that differentiation. There will be a group we will call the owners of the company. They have provided the capital and impetus to form an organization. This ownership may be vested in a few individuals or many people, such as stockholders. This group of owners selects from among themselves individuals who will give leadership to the company. We will call them the board. This board selects from among themselves officers and a treasurer and reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the formation of their company and obtains legal status for their company and product. It is not the intent of the board to become the individuals who produce the products, so they hire a chief executive officer (the president) to run the business. The CEO is given the authority to employ other individuals who will supervise or actually produce the product.

Management is a technical term that describes the leadership given to an organization and the process for providing the personnel, physical, and fiscal resources to meet defined goals. Administration is described as the process of utilization of the personnel, physical, and fiscal resources in order to meet the organization’s objectives and goals. Managers tell you what to do; administrators tell you how to do it. Managers see that the right work is done; administrators see to it that the work is done right. Managers provide leadership in identifying the objectives of the organization and setting goals to reach them; administrators supervise in getting the work done to meet those goals.

Administration is thus defined as the art and science of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling the work of others to achieve defined objectives and goals.

Thus, managers provide leadership; administrators supervise the work.

Interpretations of Administration in the Local Church

How this philosophy relates to the local church is found in several passages in the New Testament. This comes about with an understanding of the term church. The church is a living organism.

The church is also an organized organism.

This division of responsibility in the church is probably best seen in the situation of Acts 6. In this passage of Scripture, we find the church faced a problem. Some widows were not being ministered to adequately. The church leaders (the apostles) became aware of this and provided a solution whereby the church selected individuals from among themselves to minister to the widows. The key verses are found in the middle of the paragraph: “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables.... We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry” (6:2, 4). The role responsibility of the apostles was to provide leadership to the early church, but they were essential in the formation of a solution by directing the provision of the personnel resources from among the body to accomplish the task.

Most church historians give credit to Clement of Rome for the first use of the term layman. Clement (circa A.D. 95) implies in 1 Clement 40.5 that the layman was a full participant in the life and work of the church, including the liturgy, and was not just an observer. Early records of the church indicate that baptism came to mean ordination into the royal priesthood in which every person so baptized was set apart with the people of God to be a witness to the Christian faith. It was not considered out of order for any professing baptized Christian to perform any of the liturgical rites of the Christian community.

Through the second century and well into the third century, even though certain persons were being set aside as leaders of the congregation to perform leadership roles, Tertullian (A.D. 160-230) reported that it was not uncommon for laypersons to fulfill those roles in their absence.

In the early church, it was taught that the Christian priest was not a replacement of the Old Testament Jewish priest but a designate who was totally different. Christ came as the completion of the old dispensation priest, paying once for all the sacrifice for sin. The priesthood of the Christian was one of worship and service. Ministry in the early church was the recognition of ability and appointment by the Holy Spirit. The local congregation selected from their own membership individuals they felt endowed for ministry and prepared to lead them. The recognition of this was an affirmation by symbolic ordination (laying on of hands).

As these local bodies became larger, it became the custom for the church to begin to support or pay their leaders. Paul had addressed this topic in 1 Timothy 5:17. Soon, however, the terms of deacon, elder, and bishop, which in the early church related only to the local body leadership, began to take on a hierarchical significance.

Clement of Rome draws the analogy of the Jewish ministry of high priests, priests, and Levites to illustrate the orderly differentiation in the church between the order of the ministry and the laity in general. Ignatius states that it was the privilege of the membership to share the communion of the Eucharist, but it was the bishop who represented Christ in that celebration.

Tertullian asserted that the Christian church, with its orders, succeeded the Jewish priesthood when Christ was crucified by the Jews. The bishop was the high priest and the Christian community in general was a royal priesthood with direct access to God. But Tertullian was clear in his assertion that there was in the Christian community a separate ministry and a priestly discipline that was charged with the priestly functions of the church.

Probably no one influenced the concept of church organization from the late third century onward as did the lawyer Cyprian. He began to interpret the church in light of civil government and the clergy in light of civil authority. For him the bishop was head of the congregation and held authority over lesser clergy. Through ordination the bishop was empowered with power to absolve sins and exact penance. Cyprian felt that the bishop had the right to select lesser clergy. He saw the clergy as a mediator between God and man and the example by the layman of true repentance for sin as demonstrated in some decreed penance.

With Cyprian the idea of apostolic succession became a fixed doctrine of the Western church. For Cyprian, bishops were apostles in the same sense as the first-century apostles; they represented Christ. The bishop became the authority over the church; wherever there was a bishop, there was a church. The lesser clergy, the deacons and elders, became assistants to the bishop. Cyprian set off the clergy from the laity with authority of office. He gave them an official dress to signify their office. These individuals of authority were given an official residence and official functionaries to assist them in their work. Thus, by the end of the third century, the monarchical episcopate had become the universally recognized system of church government.

Thus, as the church moved into the Dark Ages, the separation between the laity and clergy widened as the church sought to expand its hierarchical orders with minor categories of leadership as subdeacon, acolytes, doorkeepers, exorcists, readers, etc. The deacon was no longer an administrator of the church—the local body—but an administrator for the church—the church catholic.

Through the Middle Ages until about A.D. 1200, the concept had been that authority rested with the clergy. The role of the layperson was to protect the feudal society the church had established about itself and to keep silent. The poor were prevented from any association with the church.

In the early thirteenth century, Francis of Assisi launched a lay movement of witness and service to their neighbors. Though the papacy insisted that Francis be ordained a deacon and many of his friars also ordained, the Third Order of the Franciscans maintained a historic lay movement model. In the late fourteenth century, Gerald Groot formed the Brethren of the Common Life, a lay order dedicated to preaching to the poor and conducting charitable work among the poor and downtrodden. This group focused on education of their adherents. Among significant individuals who attended their schools were Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther.

During the period of the Renaissance, the authority of the church came into deep question. With the scientific discoveries and humanistic—love of man—philosophy that ensued, the church found its power over the laity eroding. No movement attacked the schism that existed between them like the Reformation that followed. Out of the sixteenth-century Reformation came three distinct groups of laymen who helped form the changes that would occur in the church: the lawyers, the merchants, and the scholars. Martin Luther and Calvin fell into this latter category.

Out of the Reformation came Luther’s basic concepts of the church and the laity:

  1. Before God all Christians have the same standing, a priesthood which they enter by baptism and through faith.
  2. As a comrade and brother of Christ, each Christian is a priest and needs no mediator except Christ. He has access to the Word of God.
  3. Each Christian is a priest and has an office of sacrifice, not of the Mass, but the dedication of himself to the praise and obedience of God and to bearing the cross.
  4. Each Christian has a duty to hand on to others the gospel which he has received.

One group that emerged out of the Reformation that is of interest to us is that which is often called the radical reformers. This group reconstituted their church offices much as those of the first-century church. Offices were functional in character and held no authority. In fact, the entire church body was subjected to discipline, to the enforcement of all rules, and to witness. Littell states that “it has sometimes been wrongly said that the Anabaptists, Baptists, Quakers, Mennonites, Brethren and like groups have no true doctrine of ordination and frequently no clergy at all. A more perceptive over-simplification would be to say not that they have no clergy but that they have no laity.”

In the United States it is interesting that new denominations usually come into being generally as the result of a doctrinal emphasis or an emphasis on some form of church polity. Marvin Judy in The Multiple Staff Ministry points out an interesting life cycle of such groups:

In discussing the response to trained clergy, we need to redefine what the “employed” staff means. We are familiar with the terms senior pastor, associate pastor, minister of music, minister of education, youth pastor/director, children’s/preschool director, hostess, building supervisor, and janitor. Special talents and professional training make for different positions in the church staff.

The word professional is the key to differences of positions in the church. This word comes from the root professed, which originally described one “that has taken a vow of the religious order.” By 1675 the word had been secularized to mean “the occupation which one professed to be skilled in and to follow... a vocation in which professed knowledge of some branch of learning is used in its application to the affairs of others, or in the practice of an art based upon it.” In the seventeenth century it applied to the military, law, medicine, and the clergy. A professional professes to know better than others certain facets or matters relating to a vocational exercise.

Historically, the profession was practiced after some degree of demonstrated skill and examination and was duly licensed. Around these professions came guilds or unions. For instance, the guild of the educator was the university; the guild of the doctor was the medus (medical school); and the guild of the theologian was the seminary. These guilds began to develop fundamental philosophies concerning their practice, the requirements for acceptance, standards for practice, and ultimately a constitution and bylaws. The professional stood in judgment of his or her fellow professionals. Today the AMA (American Medical Association) dictates who is qualified to practice medicine, the criteria for continued licensure, and appropriate discipline for errant members. Similar societies or guilds do the same.

The professional clergy also comes under some type of scrutiny. This is usually exercised in the denomination in mainline Protestant churches and the Catholic Church and by the local body in other democratic polity bodies. Regardless of the source of establishment of professional status, three basic criteria usually underlie the preparation for becoming a recognized minister in a given denomination or church:

  1. A genuine sense of calling on the part of the candidate, a feeling of purpose.
  2. Formal training. This varies from a few courses by correspondence, attendance at a Bible school, to the attendance and/or completion of graduate seminary training.
  3. Some type of in-service training or internship in which the candidate demonstrates his gifts, graces, and potential as a useful minister.

As we have seen with other professions, the ministry has also become diversified in the past few decades. Beginning with a minister of education at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, in the 1950s, today most churches that have a regular attendance of two hundred or more on a Sunday will have some form of additional staff that assists the senior pastor in equipping the church for ministry.

As these new professional ministry needs have developed, seminaries have instituted curriculum schemes to prepare these individuals for competent service. In some instances, new ministerial organizations have come into existence. For example, the National Association of Church Business Administration, the American Theological Society, the National Association of Professional Christian Educators, the National Association of Pastoral Counselors, the Religious Education Association, and the Southern Baptist Religious Education Association.

Thus, the church staff has evolved as a group of professional persons, presumably competent in their respective fields, who blend their services together to perform a ministry as a whole to the congregation. Each may have definite functional roles for ministry leadership, but each works together to help the individual Christian fulfill his or her responsibility in worship, nurture, and work.

In the fourth century Jerome wrote in his Dialogus contra Luciferianos that “there can be no church community without a leader or a team of leaders.” At the risk of comparing the church to a secular organization, consider these analogies to the company organization discussed earlier in this chapter.

Chapter Review

For administration to work in the local church or any religious nonprofit organization, misconceptions must be dealt with. From the information developed in this chapter, formulate a response to the following objections to administration in the church:

While these objections to effective administration in the church seem weak or inappropriate, they are valid misconceptions held by both clergy and laity and must be dealt with by the leadership of the church. The material in the following chapters will validate the scriptural necessity of efficient church administration and provide church leaders with effective tools to meet the mission and purpose of their church or organization.