The planter as generalist: Administration

By Dean Inserra

On a scale from 1-10, my administration skills fall somewhere between 1 and a separate scale created that includes negative numbers. In other words, I am a walking train wreck when it comes to anything administrative. There’s a big problem with this on the surface because on a scale from 1-10, administration is a 9.9 when it comes to importance in church planting. While you are fulfilling the biblical role of pastor, elder and shepherd, the part that never gets mentioned is the leader of a non-profit. The church is so much more than an organization, but it is definitely not less. You have to make sure your church does not drop the ball when it comes to administration because it is essential for systems and the overall function of the church, but also because you need all the credibility you can get when you first get started as a new church. People won’t tolerate a church that can’t seem to get it together and has regular blunders—especially a church plant.

If you aren’t very savvy in the gifting of administration, find someone who can carry the load for you in this area and make sure the individual is trustworthy. The pastor must have zero hesitations with the “who” when it comes to fulfilling this important role. By “trustworthy” I’m not only referring to character and integrity, as those matters should be without question. The “trust” comes in having someone who can speak, make decisions and manage on the pastor’s behalf. As a church plant, this person can, and realistically should, begin serving as volunteer, but I would argue the actual position should be the first “hire” when that opportunity becomes available. For some reason, churches have a tendency to first hire a worship leader. I have never understood this line of thinking. Other than the lead pastor, the most important roll in a church plant is someone who can get stuff done in an organizational and administrative context. If the lead pastor is strong in this area, I would still hand it off as soon as possible because the church doesn’t need the pastor getting bogged down in all things administration. The church does need to be strong in the area of administration, and that’s why finding the right person to carry this load is essential to success.

A church plant needs the pastor to be fundraising, building relationships, investing in ministry teams and of course, preaching the Word. The nuts and bolts can and should be handled by someone else. As the pastor draws the picture of the church plant, he must have someone who can color in the lines, one who can take the vision and execute it. A pastor who has an administrative gift is a blessing, but one who lacks this gift is not cursed. There is one condition to the previous statement and that is that the pastor must have someone who can handle the load. If not, there will be a bunch of over-promises that are under-delivered. The church must function in the “day-to-day,” and far too many times, it is something planters realize after it is too late. Yes, you are a church where people come together to hear the Word and be in community, but you are also an organization, and it must be stewarded well for the glory of God and His Church.

Published August 16, 2017

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Dean Inserra

Dean Inserra is the founding and lead pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla. He is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies. Dean is a member of the advisory council for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He is married to Krissie and they have three children.