A living, growing skeleton ... and church administration

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In Jr. High, one of my best friends developed a (thankfully temporary) pain in his knees because of how rapidly he was growing. And in a similar manner, our congregation has grown so rapidly since COVID that our “bones” need to catch up. 

What would you be like without a skeleton? Have you ever considered how a bony system of columns and beams, levers and hinges, makes your entire life possible? Because without a solid infrastructure, you literally would be a bag of goo. 

At Trinity, this is the area of our ministry that has been most under stress in the last year and a half. Why? Because we have grown so profoundly. You may not know, but since January 2020, Trinity has grown by over 30%. In a time when many churches have closed and a lot of congregations have shrunk, our church is growing. And a significant majority of new people are under the age of 30. So, we have more people who need care compared to those mature enough to offer care and leadership to these fellow believers and saints.

Organization and administration within a church or ministry can often be overlooked, but it is actually a spiritual gift (see Romans 12). I’ve also heard some believers object that if it’s highly developed, organization can be seen as restrictive as if, for some reason, order would stifle creativity or freedom “in the Spirit.”  Yet the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church (in chapter 14), “God is not a God of confusion but of peace… all things should be done decently and in order.”

To carry out the body analogy, your skeleton literally bears the weight of your entire body and life, and at Trinity, our leaders bear that weight. The work is necessary because as we anticipate even more growth, our elders are working to get, as it were, new bones in place. Our staff and leaders have only gotten started with the work of restructuring our ministries. It is good in that we have an agreed-upon plan. But it has only begun, like agreeing that we’re driving to the Grand Canyon and we’re excited about our trip. But we’re only at the outskirts of Ocala … so we have a ways to go.

Some examples: Frank McCaulley, Trinity’s support staff, and our Operations Team are now working more meetings, more use of space, more people under our care, more needs (way more coffee, bagels and cream cheese consumed each week!), more volunteers needed, more new members classes, more people to be recruited, trained and deployed, etc. All of this equals more maintenance needs, more expenses, more staff, more scheduling, and more work for Frank and everyone on his team. 

We need more leaders for community groups. We need more officers. New ministry team structures and roles are changing and growing. All of this amounts to increased work for almost everybody. New people. More giving. More change, in most of which our leaders are working to catch up.

In order to navigate uncharted territory — the work of preparing for real-time growth and future staff transitions as founding leaders will eventually retire — our leaders have consulted with Ted Sinn. Ted has served Trinity with his Iconicity resources (our CBR Journals and all of the tools that help with our Seeing Jesus in Solitude, Seeing Jesus Together, and Seeing Jesus in the Weekly Church Gathering). But he also worked here about 20 years ago and he has expertise in organizational leadership. Our elders have drawn on his consulting for the last 18 months.

We live in one of the fastest-growing counties in the entire country! And our church is growing with it. And if we weren’t growing, shouldn’t we ask why we wouldn’t be? So if we agree that we can’t just lock our doors and somehow “freeze everything,” then what realistically is left for us to do? 

Let’s be faithful to Jesus. Let’s trust His sufficiency in the midst of all these daunting realities. Let’s praise Him for the vitality that He has worked into our congregation. And then let’s serve Him and one another with all our hearts and leave the results up to Him.