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THE GIFT OF ADMINISTRATION.
VIC ELDRIDGE ADMINISTRATION CENTRE OPENING
MORLING COLLEGE, SYDNEY
1 Corinthians 12:28
Morling College has established itself as the largest and leading theological training college in Australia. The work of its Principal Dr Ross Clifford has been out-standing. But the roots of this growth are due to a succession of outstanding Principals who have had a vision far broader than just training men for Baptist Church pulpit ministry. None of those great principals laid a foundation more deep and deserving of praise than that laid by Principal Dr Vic Eldridge. His leadership was outstanding during his years at Morling College.
It is most appropriate that this magnificent new Administration Centre be named in his honour. I had the privilege of preaching at his induction as Principal on the theme "Equipped For Work in His Service". Tonight, I am doubly privileged to speak on this occasion of honouring the service that Vic and Marie have given to Morling College.
A few hours ago I was in the National Parliament, as a special guest of the
Federal Government to welcome President George Bush to Australia. On November
11th in USA a new book, "The Faith of George W. Bush" will be released. Author
Stephen Mansfield and his team of researchers uncovered some fascinating and
little-known information about Bush's conversion, his sense of divine calling
and how faith helped him kick his drinking habit. Bush first heard "the call" to run for president during a sermon by the Rev. Mark Craig at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Craig was de-scribing Moses' reluctance to lead God's people. George Bush's mother, Barbara, turned to him and said, "He is talking to you."
Before Bush announced his candidacy, he invited Texas-based evangelist James Robison to pray with him. Bush told Robison that he had given his life to Christ and that he felt God wanted him to be president. Whatever we think about George W. Bush's policies, his attempt to apply faith to presidential leadership will form a major part of his legacy.
The gift of leadership is a gift from God. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4 - list some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We know the twenty-one gifts mentioned. Some people have the gifts of HELPING: such as serving, giving to others, showing mercy, craftsmanship, and healing spiritually, emotionally or physically. Some people have the gifts of DIRECTING OTHERS: leadership, administration and encouraging faith. Some have the gifts of MINISTERING THE WORD: through apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, pastoring,
teaching, exhorting, wisdom and knowledge, discernment, and music. Some have the
gifts of the SPECTACULAR: working miracles, speaking in tongues or interpreting them.
These gifts of the Holy Spirit are different from natural abilities. God then gives us power to exercise these gifts of ministry. The gift of the Spirit "administration" is found only in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Note how different scholars translate this verse:
King James Version: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
Third Millennium Bible: "then those with gifts of healing, helpers, administrators, and those with diversity of tongues."
Revised Standard Version: "God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues."
These translations of the gift of the Holy Spirit known as the gift of administration, "kubernesis" means "one who stands out front," "a steersman on a ship". He had the responsibility of bringing a ship into the harbour, through rocks and shoals. A 'Kubernesis' was an expert in the midst of a storm.
The steersman is not the Captain. He is not the First Mate. He has his own gifts and abilities. The preacher, teacher, prophet, miracle worker, - all depend upon one who has the gift of administration. The people to whom Paul is referring are the people who carry out the ad-ministration of the Church. It is a supremely essential work. In the fore-ground the preacher and the teacher hold the limelight; but they could never do their work at all unless in the background there were those who shouldered the routine day to day administration of the Church. There are parts of the body that are never seen but whose function is as important than any other. They serve the Church in ways that win no publicity, but with-out their service the Church could not go on.
In 1978 I was invited to attend a world conference in Singapore. I was to
speak to a group of about a 1000 delegates who had gathered in the ballroom of
one of Singapore's largest hotels, The Shangri La. Accompanying me was the Chairman of that session, Dr David Du-Pleisis - the man known as "Mr Pentecost".
We ascended in the elevator to the ballroom, only to find it was empty. Because the number of people wanting to attend this session was far too great the organizers had changed the venue to the Anglican Cathedral. All the delegates were notified and bussed to the cathedral, but no-one had notified the Chairman and the speaker. As we descended in the elevator, Dr David Du Pleisis said to me: "At this conference we have miracle workers by the hundreds, healers by the hundred, speakers in tongues by the thousand, but I would swap them all for one person with the gift of administration."
Nehemiah was responsible in his day for the magnificent job or rebuilding
Jerusalem. He was described as possessing the spiritual gift of organization,
and the word "administrator" is used of him. If the work of this College is
going to continue to expand it will not only need the leadership of a great
Principal but one or two who will work in this new centre who have the gifts of
administration. The administrator is a "take charge" per-son. The administrator
jump starts the work, giving orders when no one seems to be in charge. The administrator
puts a plan on paper, ensures all the details are carried out, assigns
responsibilities, organises the budget, sits down and counts the cost before the
building starts, ensures quality workmanship, and starts delegating responsibility. If there is a program or event to take place, the administrator almost instantly has a plan to carry it out --- when followed, the plan usually makes it more effective. The administrators great joy and fulfillment is not standing in the limelight or receiving
the plaudits, but in seeing all the parts come together in a finished product --- and then move on to a new challenge before others can even catch a breath.
The helping gifts include the gifts of administration, giving, service,
helps, hospitality, mercy. These gifts compliment the body of Christ by enhancing the leadership gifts. The helping gifts are the most plentiful in the Church; they are the most needed in the Church; they are the most neglected in the Church. The helping gifts are critical gifts, essential to the health of the Church. Some would think that they are not important, but without them the church is going to fail in its ministry and mission. Without them those who try to exercise gifts of leadership and teaching and the like are destined to frustration and futility. These are the gifts that hold the church together. The gift administration is included with all these other gifts, because it under-girds all the public gifts. The special ability God gives to certain Christians to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the Body of Christ.
It might seem on the surface that the gifts of leadership and administration
are the same, because we see them interlocking at times. It also might seem the
gifts of being a good manager and a good administrator are the same, because
they interlock. But leadership has different qualities, found usually in a Principal. The gift of a manager is of lesser importance as many managers may report to an administrator. While the gifts are different, they are complimentary. Leaders are the visionary agents of change; administrators are managers of that change. Leaders see the need and can inspire people to desire it. Administrators are the ones through whom change generally happens, who can sort the details and parcel out the process of that change. Leaders create effectiveness; administrators create efficiency. Leaders are goal-oriented; administrators are process-oriented.
Leaders deal with vision; administrators deal with tasks. Leaders without administrators tend to do primary things poorly. Administrators without leaders tend to do secondary things well. Leaders provide motivation to get the big things done, and administrators make sure that in the process, the little things are not ignored. You may have the gift of administration if you quickly understand situations that seem difficult for others; enjoy planning and problem solving; if you have an eye for details;
if you can work with leaders. Administrators are well informed about their
organization and its environment; are good organisational politicians and effective time managers. On top of those abilities at Wesley Mission I demand administrators exhibit specific Christian maturity, with an obvious commitment to Christ and His Church.
Leadership requires vision. In a time of rapidly changing market forces, consumer preferences, government regulations,
and industry conditions those who proactively diagnose, anticipate and
strategically plan for change prosper. Those who passively react to each change
in their environment often develop a patchwork set of activities that ultimately fail in the marketplace or stretch corporate resources beyond capacity. Chief executive officers and their administrators have the most significant
involvement and influence in the organization's strategic management process.
They are usually considered responsible and accountable for its success. The effectiveness of our leaders will be determined by their success in leading strategic change and strategic implementation resulting in achievement of their goals. Outstanding leaders need good administrators. Leader-ship is dependent upon administration.
The qualities needed in a good administrator are the ability forecast the
future; establish objectives; program the work; schedule the time sequence;
budget the cash flow; initiate the procedures for performing specific work,
determine policies, manage risk; ensure the health and safety of all involved;
and that the tasks are administered in a manner that speaks of the quality that will bring praise to God.
As the senior minister of a large and vigorous growing church, I have accepted my role as leader, but studied management. Over thiry-five
years I have studied a different aspect of management and administration every year. Eventually my peers elected me a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a unique double for a minister of religion. Over the past 25 years I have seen the work of Wesley Mission Sydney grow enormously month by month, until we now have over 450 properties where we do our ministry. The leader can have the vision, but I appointed four top administrators to steer our work, 120 competent managers with high degree of commitment and dedication to lead over 3500 paid staff and 3,500 committed part-time and unpaid volunteers. The mix of gifts enables growth in ministry.
Morling College has a great heritage of gifted leaders., one of whom we honour in naming this Centre. Now we pray for gifted administrators who will inhabit it.