I have always been known as an “admin guy.” At one point, I shunned the idea that I might be boxed into administration. Yet, after some time, the pendulum swung and I embraced the title. Now it seems that the pendulum has come to rest. Administration is an important and necessary gift for the church and any community, but I was doing myself a disservice by defining my gifting as administrative only.
The Administration of God
We know from historical and census data in the Bible that God is an excellent and efficient administrator. He keeps impeccable records (see Jesus’ lineage), He has a plan for the small details and the big picture (see last week’s post on the Tabernacle), and today He organizes us locally for His purposes (the local church). In Acts 6:1-7, we see that the early church receives criticism for being bad administrators. Specifically, they fail to distribute food to all the widows in the community. Therefore, out of the full number of disciples in the congregation, the elders choose seven to figure out an organizational structure to ensure that the needy were cared for. “And,” verse seven continues, “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
In working toward being better administrators, instead of shunning the title, we get an opportunity to mirror the character of God and advance the kingdom. Growing in organization is an aspect of growing in the image of Christ, and it is good for the local church. Just like God created and structured all things out of chaos, so too will we grow in personal administration and communal organization.
The Creativity of God
However, It wouldn’t capture the full character of God to say that He isn’t simultaneously creative and truly awe inspiring. The two personalities aren’t mutually exclusive. We need not look beyond creation to strengthen this argument, but that isn’t the only hint at His ability. The exercise of sharing stories with one another shows just how creative God is in the building of the local church. We who have relatively nothing in common find commonality in the grace received through faith in Christ. It’s a beautiful mosaic that, along with creation and design, points to God’s artistic ability. He is simply unmatched.
Creativity meets order for His glory
Personally, the Lord has been stirring my heart over the past decade for creativity and design: an appreciation for modern art and jazz along with a growing love for excel spreadsheets. As I embrace those things, my appreciation for administration doesn't stagnate, but flourishes. Creation gives us a unique look at God’s character: perfect order and design combined with beautiful complexity and creativity. Creativity cannot be abandoned just because a personality test tells us that we naturally favor structure.
At Sojourn, this means we do organize. We have bylaws, we pay bills, we make budgets and we have membership. All of those things help us mirror the order that God desires and created. But we also have relaxed, organic community in the form of the Neighborhood Parish, where loose flexibility allows parishes to grow and evolve to serve the diverse and growing family of God. We have an Art Residency that supports and values local artists. We have creative worship through music on Sunday with many instruments and voices, but done with order to serve both the committed member believer and the un-believer in a gathering for the first time. And ultimately, we are continuing to be fashioned into the image of a fully creative and ordered God.