A couple of thoughts should be acknowledged up front.
- You cannot eliminate all institutional stuff. For instance, try doing away with the concept of a power bill. If your people show up on Sunday without air conditioning or heat, whichever season it may be, you will see the impossibility of eliminating such services.
- Also, the Bible acknowledges the task of administering services. In Acts 11:30 Paul and Barnabas were chosen to administer the offering for the saints in Jerusalem.
So, how can we minimize the demands of maintaining an institution?
- You and I can make a decision that we will not be controlled by the time-consuming tasks of maintaining an institution. Generally speaking, we choose to be involved in bookkeeping, monitoring services and the like.
- Select and delegate lay leaders to handle administrative tasks. In Acts 6 the apostles chose lay leaders
to administer the benevolent work of the church. Benevolent work is different from paying power bills and overseeing insurance decisions, but the principle is the same. As we select lay leaders we should select trustworthy individuals to who will properly the work. These individuals should be spiritually minded people, good communicators and have a heart for people.
- Avoid a spirit of cynicism. It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing things in a negative light. Just because something is not defined in the Bible (such as electricity bills) does not require us to frown on it. With Christ’s help and the Holy Spirit’s leadership we can transform every task into a spiritual exercise.
- Establish a system and inform your people of the system. For instance, if you use an administrative team to handle administrative matters, be sure your people understand the method. Also, teach your people to trust the designated leaders.
In fact, I encourage churches to avoid entangling the general church population in administrative issues. The church should not be burdened with evaluating every bill and decision that comes before the church. I have known small churches that developed the attitude that every decision should come before the church. Such attitudes invite division, burden the church, and discourage those who could care the least about such matters.
- Finally, we should spend time, each year, training our leaders. How come our people sometimes muddy the water with their attitudes? We have to ask ourselves if we’ve taught them a better way. We need to cover topics such as proper communication, conflict resolution, wise decision making, wise procedure, when to inform the pastor and when to leave him alone, trusting each other, and the like.
Developing a spiritual mind-set is always important for ourselves and in others. Paul instructed the Philippians to develop the mind of Christ (Phil. 1:5). That is our goal!