Bro. Carlton Coon Sr., tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
Currently, I pastor Calvary United Pentecostal Church in Springfield, Missouri. God has allowed me to evangelize, pastor and serve my organization as a sectional representative for home missions, presbyter, director of District Men’s Ministry, chairman of Church Growth and as general director of North American Missions. Some of what I know about administration and leadership comes from years of secular employment, resulting in being regional director for the corporation and eventually sitting on the corporate board of directors. In community relations, it has been my privilege to be president of the local Chamber of Commerce and Government Relations Committee member for the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools.
What role does church administration play in church growth and ministry success? How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
Jesus gave two examples of strategic planning: building a tower and waging war. He taught, “If a person does not correctly administer, there will be loss.” This same truth applies to a pastor, whether he is teaching a series on 1 Peter, developing leaders, organizing a Sunday school, or doing most anything else. Effective, sustainable ministry requires administration and management. Each and every preacher should learn and apply basic administrative principles. It is important to note that leadership and administration are two different things. Numerous leaders have proven ineffective because they never developed an understanding of how to administer their role.
What does Scripture say about church administration? Does this aspect of pastoring have a solid scriptural base?
Romans 12 lists some motivational gifts. Verse 8 says, “. . . he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” The Cambridge Bible translates ruleth as “to preside whether in church or in any point of the work.’ The phrase with diligence means “with earnestness, with laborious and minute attention to duty.” Therefore, the Bible instructs a “ruler” or church leader to preside over the work of the church with hasty earnestness and attention to the duty for which he or she is responsible. What Paul describes in his theological masterpiece was the elementary, essential and practical behavior of effectively administering, leading and managing God’s work. Hence, there is no doubt that Paul believed in, taught and practiced effective administration.
There are also numerous Bible examples of administration. Joseph managed Egypt’s harvest during seven years of plenty. It is very common to preach on Joseph’s telling of dreams but the practical work of preparing to gather the harvest is often overlooked. However, without administering the bumper crop, Egypt’s harvest would have been lost. Second, consider Jesus Christ as a CEO, responsible to reconcile lost humanity to God. In that light, Jesus was an effective administrator. He helped His followers envision, then trained and empowered them. He not only delegated to the twelve but also established a level of accountability. All of those tasks involve administration. Without good administration, we can have a great vision but never accomplish anything meaningful. Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”
If you designed a course on church administration for a Bible college, what would be the primary topics you would cover? Explain each topic briefly.
- Why Administration Matters: Pentecostals are spiritual and tend to run to the emotional. This is wonderful but must be balanced with strategic and intentional work. Young preachers would benefit from gaining this concept early.
- Biblical Examples of Leadership – Execution and Administration: This would focus on the leading without marrying the concept of leadership to administering the vision God has given.
- The Administration Ministry: This would include preaching, teaching and consistent outreach efforts.
- Local Church Administration: The business of the church needs to be handled in a professional manner. Then managing for growth.
What, in your opinion, is the MOST important key to effective church administration?
The most important key is understanding the value and necessity of administration. Great churches are not built on the pulpit alone or on passion. I have dozens of acquaintances that are wonderful pulpiteers with a passion to reach the lost. However, in too many cases, neither the preaching ability nor having many converts has resulted in the growth of Christ’s kingdom. Joseph had to plan, then established the work process to retain the harvest. Average pulpiteers who strategically plan to reach the lost and then consistently administer that plan tend to grow a church.
What are the primary administration mistakes that you see pastors making?
First, not recognizing the significance of this work, then not administering toward another level of growth and progress. Administration that simply maintains is not the goal. I use a system designed to grow both the people and the church.
Is church administration only for large churches? At what point numerically should a pastor focus upon administration as a key responsibility?
That type of thinking is a mistake we often make. Administering for growth and progress needs to be relatively constant in a pastor’s mind, regardless of the size of the church. Many administration issues (bank accounts, non-profit status) must be addressed before the first service of the new church. My vision for the church can be 500, but right now I need to administer to “break the 100 barrier.” One of the things addressed in my book is the need to establish sustainable and repeatable systems. An effective system operates without having to constantly be redesigned.
How to purchase your book? Cost?
The Details Matter: Principles and Practice of Church Administration is available through Pentecostal Publishing House. The cost is $12.99 for the hard copy and $9.99 for the Kindle eBook. You can also visit carltoncoonsr.com for a wide array of blog posts dealing with life and ministry. A free eBook on Apostolic Evangelism is available for download there as well. Carlton Coon can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone (314-497-9801), and by mail at 4521 North Farm Road 165, Springfield, Missouri.