ADMINISTRATORS AS SERVANTS
I have been thinking about some ideas for admin and finance workers that I want to share with you. I want to suggest that you discuss this the other staff when you have a staff meeting. One of the highlights of the past year has been that we have become a more administratively responsible organisation. This is surely in keeping with God’s way to run a Christian organisation.
I want to add a few thoughts that have to do with having the proper Christian organisational culture to apply those new procedures and rules.
We have brought in a lot of rules to our organisation recently. Things people easily got earlier are now got after some effort and consultation and approvals etc. This is very essential for the organisation but naturally the people will grumble about the new rules. How can we achieve change in a healthy way?
I think a key ingredient is for those who apply the administrative structures to be servants of the people.
- The staff must sense that we are truly concerned over their need. We want to help them, but the best way of helping with within the rules—best for them and best for YFC. We will explore ways in which we can help the staff worker meet his or her need, if we refuse the request. We don’t simply say, “This is not allowed.” We have the person sit with us and talk about why the request was made and try to understand what lies behind it. If the staff know that they have truly been listened to, they may not be angry at the refusal.
- We must be especially polite and respectful of junior staff. That is the way they are going to learn servanthood. God could use our treating them with respect to heal the wounds of being considered low class that they received from evil society. This could help them also to become servant leaders who enjoy doing good to those who are less powerful. Our behaviour must contribute to the term servant becoming a title of dignity and honour.
- In order to achieve this, the admin and finance staff must be fully convinced about the appropriateness of our rules and policies. If they don’t believe in the rules they will become defensive and give the sense that they are enforcing it because they have to—then they do a lot of damage to the organisation. I want to encourage all our admin and finance people to talk about any problems they may have about any of our policies. We work not by the law but by the spirit. This does not mean that we are anti-law. It means that we believe that laws are spiritual and are means of achieving spiritual freedom. Laws reflect the order that the Creator God brought into being when he made this world the beautiful place that it is.
Those who complain or judge the organisation without talking about it with those who responsible for the rules etc. act in opposition to the body. They have not understood the principle of the body of Christ but have adopted a judgmental attitude of selfish individualism as opposed to corporate solidarity in the body. Isn’t it sad that many people who are supposed to be fighting for justice (a key aspect of the heartbeat of God) are doing that without using God’s methods. Christianity can never be understood apart from the theology of the body of Christ. The idea of a solitary Christian battling for justice sounds very heroic, but it is not biblical. There are no solitary Christians in biblical Christianity.
- However, people will not express reservations about our rules if we do not have the confidence that they will be seriously listened to. We have to create an atmosphere in YFC that encourages criticism that comes out of a love for YFC. This is why we have initiated the grievance procedure which I have been explaining at different YFC staff and volunteer events. According to this procedure we first go to our supervisor if we have a problem. If we are dissatisfied with our supervisors response, we tell our supervisor and go to his or her supervisor. You know how I have expressed at staff and volunteer conferences how utterly low down and sinful it is for a supervisor to take revenge on someone who complains.
- Christian servanthood requires a lot of strength. This is why in Acts 6:1-7 when the qualifications were given for admin workers, one of the qualifications was that they be filled with the Spirit (The other two were that they should be people of good reputation and full of wisdom, that is, they should have the ability to carry our the task they are given well). It is sad that we sometimes send to admin jobs people who seem to lack the spiritual qualifications for grassroots ministry. This suggests that admin is spiritually inferior to grassroots ministry. That is wrong. Grassroots ministry gives perspective to admin work. This is why we want all our admin staff to be doing some grassroots ministry.
Actually admin duties require a special anointing from God. People get angry when they are refused. It takes the fullness of the Spirit to respond to that anger in a way that honours God. We cannot hit back. We must be firm and polite. That is a combination that is difficult to have. It requires the fullness of the Spirit to act in such a way. This is why just as we need to pray before preaching, we need to pray before doing administrative tasks. The way we do both these jobs can do result in either honour or dishonour to God.