By Kenneth Haney
God’s ultimate purpose and plan for His church upon earth is basically threefold: (1) Christ should become the center and the object of our devotion and admiration. (2) The church should minister to the great body of believers. (3) The church should evangelize the world in obedience to the great commission.
If we are to fulfill this purpose and plan we must bring together the body of believers and organize them to execute the plan. Therefore, planning programs and uniting our efforts are essential to the well-balanced development of the church.
In this regard, it is instructive to study the tremendous progress of private enterprise, large organizations and corporations that became worldwide in scope. These large corporations have definite objectives. They choose the finest talents they can and bring them together. They have a president, vice-president (in some cases several vice-presidents), and many administrators. Each one receives a job description and an area of planning for which he is responsible. They departmentalize, or break down into small segments or groups, but before doing so they have an overall objective or statement of mission. They know where they are going.
I am convinced that the church of Jesus Christ should be no less organized. If we are to meet the needs of a growing body of believers, we must be well organized with every person in his place.
At the top of each of these great corporations is an administrator. He is well balanced, he knows where he is going, and the plan is clear and precise in his mind. He gives to each of his subordinates vision and direction, and they are carefully schooled and trained. He gives oversight to the total plan of achieving greatness. Likewise, the church of the living God must be organized. There is a place for everyone, and when every person is in his place the church will surge forward.
God is a God of organization. We see this truth in His creation plan in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. From the very foundation of the world everything was organized properly. Throughout the Old Testament we see God as a God of organization. Jehovah instructed the nation of Israel in minute detail how to organize each step of their journey and how to construct the Tabernacle. Every man was in his place. Every man had his duty to perform. The Tabernacle was so uniquely organized that it could be assembled and disassembled easily. The nation would travel on until they were instructed to stop, and there they would erect the Tabernacle. Everything about this great body of people spoke of organization. They did not have microphones, automobiles, and airplanes. With about three million people crossing the desert, everyone had to be in his place, and everyone had to be submissive to someone.
Jesus, being the God of organization, called many disciples, and from those disciples He selected twelve – twelve men who were to change the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. From the twelve there was an inner circle of three who were very close and dear to the Lord. He also organized His disciples into groups referred to as the “seventy,” who were sent out as witnesses for the Lord. He sent them out two by two. When He fell the five thousand with the loaves and fish, the disciples divided the people into groups of fifty. We must conclude that Jesus desires organized effort.
In Luke 14:28-32 Jesus explained that someone who is going to build must first sit down, plan, count the cost, and make sure he is able to complete the project. Likewise, a king who goes to war against another king needs to sit down first and consider whether he is able to conquer his enemy. Planning has always been important to Jesus Christ. He intends for His church upon the earth to be well orchestrated and planned and motivated by the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ has always chosen people who were dedicated, committed, and able to lead and administrate His work upon the earth.
Turning to the Book of Acts, we see from the very beginning of the church on the Day of Pentecost that God had an order. The believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit moved upon men of God to give leadership and direction to the church. Throughout the Book of Acts and the Epistles, which were letters of instruction to the churches, we find a well-organized church with a precise plan, a definite direction.
Christ has placed in the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to perfect (equip) the saint for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The Administration of the Local Church
The pastor must be a well-balanced person of good name and good report. He must also be an administrator. If the church is to have well-rounded growth-numerical growth, financial growth, and spiritual growth-the pastor must be a balanced administrator. He must see the vision clearly, know where he is going, and work from biblical principles.
He is the general overseer of all facets of the church organization. His numerous responsibilities as the administrator call for much planning, recruiting and selecting of leaders, delegating of authority, coordinating and communicating with those in authority, and supervising the total work of the church. As the administrator he must provide direction for the entire church organization. He must keep all members of the body constantly motivated and inspired if they are to achieve their goals. He must be able to evaluate, to recognize pitfalls and snares.
As a leader he must be able to detect signs of weariness and discouragement when those under him have fallen prey to the work of the adversary. As administrator it is imperative that he help the various leaders through training and planning so that they will be able to properly conduct committee meetings and other necessary functions of the organization.
The pastor has total responsibility for the overall administration of the church; however, the priority of the pastor is to keep the spiritual flow of activities in the church. It is the work of the Spirit that will generate the most strength to the church. Therefore the pastor must set the example in prayer and fasting. I have found as a pastor that if I keep the revival fire burning and the pulpit
anointed with the Spirit of God, I will rid myself of many church problems.
The church must not always look inward; the church must look outward as the pastor points them in the direction of winning the lost. Keeping a revival atmosphere in the church will keep the world out of the church. Keeping the Word of God constantly before the people through prayer and fasting is an assured way to keep friction out of the church. There must be a constant flow of new babes coming into the church.
It is important to keep the body busy teaching and nurturing newborn babes. When there is a constant flow into the church, the members can become involved in discipleship classes, counseling, fellowship, visiting, and praying all the ingredients that go into developing a newborn babe.
Of course there is also the social aspect of the church, such as baby showers and bridal showers. There should be social events for the different groups. The different departments of the church must have their time for socials and fellowship, but all must be balanced, and the balance will be determined by a godly pastor who is God’s man placed as the leader of the church.
Conducting worship services is of vital importance. A pastor must keep the services lively, to the point, and centered around Jesus Christ. He must plan evangelistic meetings to reach the lost, keeping announcements to a minimum. Services must never drag; they must not be lengthy unless the Spirit of God leads otherwise. Songs and worship are necessary, but the preaching of the Word to reach the heart of the lost man or woman is what an evangelistic service is all about. There should be time for altar work and prayer.
Some services should be designed primarily for the saints, to teach, nurture, and encourage them. These functions are of great importance. The church must be anchored in the Word.
All in all, much depends upon the pastor’s own spiritual condition. Just as water reaches its own level, so the church will never rise above its leadership. If a pastor loves God, seeks His face, and walks with Him, the congregation will seek God and walk with God. If the pastor is worldly minded or materialistic, the congregation will follow in his footsteps.
The pastor must know exactly where he is going. He must have a plan for his organization. For this reason it is very important that he spend much time in prayer, searching the Scripture, reading as much material as possible on organizational structure, and if possible attending seminars and training sessions on church organization and growth.
It is helpful to visit progressive churches, even those of other organizations, to carefully analyze their format. They can inject some new ideas and concepts that can be useful. A pastor should not
copy others exactly and precisely in every matter, however, for in doing so he may pick up some of their mistakes. Even if they have good concepts and organization that have worked successfully for them, it is vital for a pastor to modify these to suit his own particular set of circumstances. Most churches are at different plateaus of progress, and for this reason modification is essential.
While we as pastors want to see our churches grow numerically, we must first consider the basic responsibility that is ours: we must first minister to our people. The church must be established upon the solid rock, which is Christ. This is the biblical foundation. The church must grow spiritually before it grows numerically, for if it is not predicated upon the Word and Spirit it will be like the house that was built upon the sand. (See Matthew 7:24-27.) Testing times will come like storms, winds, and floods, and when they do, the house built upon the sand will be quickly destroyed. But the house built upon the rock will stand the test. The church must be built on a solid foundation; then as growth comes to the church it will stand the test of time.
Brother Haney is pastor of Christian Life Center and president of Christian Life College in Stockton, California. This article has been excerpted from The Pentecostal Minister published by Word Aflame Press.
The above material as published by Word Aflame Press, originally printed in he Pentecostal Minister, and excerpted by the April-June issue of Forward, pgs.2-5. This material is copyrighted and may be used for study and research purposes only.