One of my favorite quotes from Peter Drucker is, “The purpose of management is to make the church more church-like than to make the church more business-like.” We must remember that administration is a spiritual gift not a skill developed during the Industrial Revolution. Managing congregations properly, regardless of their size, is key to achieving the mission God calls all congregations to pursue.
The first responsibility of management is to align all the congregation does behind the mission. It is amazing the number of congregations that have mission statements that are not achieved, in large measure due to the lack of alignment. People are not aligned to serve with effectiveness and ministries are not aligned to achieve the mission and vision.
The second key issue of management is getting the right people in the right ministry positions. Obviously the smaller the congregation the more difficult a task this is, since the pool of people from which one recruits is not large. However, this lack of personnel is addressed as the leader recruits, trains and develops people to serve. While such actions are often described as leadership responsibilities, yet such actions also reflect good management skills. If a congregation never gets the right people in the right positions it will not be healthy, grow and achieve its mission. Good managers are always on the lookout for key people and they are always training in order to help people succeed in the tasks they are assigned.
A third key issue of good management is establishing ways to achieve accountability. No mission is ever achieved where there is no accountability. Accountability assumes that people clearly understand the roles they are given, are provided with adequate authority to carry out the roles well and know that certain expectations must be met. Therefore good managers are clear about roles, ensure people are given the freedom and resources to achieve expectations and provide any training that is required to help those serving be effective.
Good managers also understand systems. They know how to align servants to achieve effectiveness within a system and how to coordinate systems to be both efficient and effective. Missions are achieved with greater effectiveness when the various ministries of the congregation are integrated and not isolated from each other.
The bottom line of management is service and good managers are great servants. They serve first, their master and His mission for His Church. They serve the people they manage in order to help them achieve both individually and collectively the mission. And they serve the system in order to produce highly effective integration so the congregation functions at its maximum best.
When managers serve as described here, Drucker’s quote takes on even greater significance and congregations become shining lights in their respective communities.