Luke 16:13 says, “No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the Bank” (from Eugene Peterson’s The Message).
Like most Bible verses, I find new meaning in this verse every time I read it. Recently I thought to myself: Serving two masters—piece of cake! Try serving about twenty masters with names like Sarbanes Oxley, FLSA, UPMIFA, GAAP, HIPPA, ERISA, FMLA, OSHA, and so on.
Staff and volunteers in the areas of church finances, church business, and facilities management deal with this kind of stuff all the time. If you are a pastor or church staff member or volunteer in your church, you probably have your own list of masters— Church Conference forms, Tables, payroll reports, bills, or whatever administrative function you do that comes with a deadline and strict requirements.
It can be hard to feel like you are doing ministry on days when it feels like all you do is manage the “administrivia” of the church.
In Luke 16:10, Jesus says, “If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things.” It’s helpful to remember this when our work feels like a long list of small things to do. Sometimes we dismiss money management or administration of church affairs as trivial or unimportant. We certainly need to be cautious about money because humans can easily fall into the trap of worshipping money or the things that money can buy. Still, we shouldn’t minimize the need for good management in the church.
National Church Administration Day was Oct. 18. Stewardship of money, property, and other church assets is a ministry. Whether you write the checks, vacuum the carpets, or keep the membership records, I hope that your stewardship of the church’s resources is valued and that you feel appreciated for your work. Thank you for using your gift of administration in your church.
Barbara Carroll is director of finance and administration for the Minnesota Annual Conference.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church