Church Management Principle and Practice

TOPIC:  HANDLING  CHURCH MANAGEMENT CRISIS

INTRODUCTION

Church management is one of the critical aspect of management, whose any individual involve need the power, inspiration and wisdom of God.  Solomon  Said (2 Chronicle 1:10) Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

This paper is part of a series of teachings on “Church management Principle and Basic Doctrines and practices.  

The introductory lecture outlined and explained amongst others:

  • The meaning of a church
  • The purpose of church
  • The church management and functionaries (i.e Managers/Administrators)
  • The Qualities and functions of church managers/Administrators
  • The problems of church management
  • The Role of Doctrine in church management
  • How to improve church management system.

As a panacea to one of the major church management problems, in this paper we are going to do an anatomy of the human (and not necessarily structural) problems in the church.

This is called CRISIS, CONFLICTS, DISPUTES or GRIEVANCES.

“Handling Crisis in church management” as a subject matter for teaching at this convention is particularly apt because “The church” is becoming more complex and complicated to run based on the rule-of-the –thumb. Moreso, with societal influence which tends to confuse church leaders and Administrator in this END-TIME, and for which we have been forewarned in 2Tim. 3:1-17.

In this lecture we shall explain the following:-

-     The Meaning of crisis,

-     The types of crisis in the church.

-     The causes and manifestations of crisis in the church

-     How to handle crisis in the church

-     Conclusion and references, if necessary.

B.    MEANING OF CRISIS

The terms CRISIS, COMFLICT, DISPUTES and GRIEVANCES are synonyms which are used interchangeably in books including THE BIBLE. CRISIS could be described as “any discontent, discomfort or dissatisfaction, whether exposed or not, valid or not, arising out of anything connected with an organization (The Church) which the Member(s) and/or Manager(s) Minister(s) thinks, believes or even feels to be unfair, unjust or inequitable”. It is a state or feeling of disagreement or resentment of the LED with their LEADER(S) (and vice versa) over perceived injustice or ill-treatment in the organization (Church).

Generally, it is a process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party (Hill, C.W.L. and McShane, S.L: 2008).

 Crisis is endemic and systemic hence occurs all the time as a reaction to any error of omission or commission. It happens between individuals; between member of a group and between groups. In the church of today (as it is made up of BELIEVING AND UNBELIEVING BELIEVERS) it is rampant and needs to be nibbed in the bud or effectively managed, from time to time.

C.    SOME MANIFESTATIONS OF CRISIS IN THE CHURCH

  • Murmuring
  • Backsliding
  • Absenteeism irregular attendance or lateness to church programmes or activities.
  • Separation or dismembership (turnover)
  • Hostility, Arguments and complaints.
  • Non-cooperation or Nonchalant attitude to church business.
  • Stress and Tension
  • Unwillingness to negotiate or settle issues.
  • Demotion or stagnation of status.
  • Withholding obligatory contributions and services.
  •  Quarrels and strife.
  • Disciplinary Actions including suspension, excommunication, etc.

D TYPES AND CAUSES OF CRISIS IN THE CHURCH:

   D.1 TYPES

(i)   POLITICAL /LEADERSHIP crisis- This has to do with the question of POWER, AUTHORITY and LEADERSHIP-That is, whose influence matter in the Scheme of things, and why?

(ii)    MANAGEMENT/ADMINISTRATIVE CRISIS-This is part of the political/Leadership Crisis.

  However, it dwells so much on problems, arising from decision-making or policy formulation, interpretation and implementation strategy.

(iii)   SOCIAL CRISIS-This addresses the question of Morality, Security, Communication, Safety and relationship.

(iv)   FINANCIAL CRISIS- It addresses problems Surrounding Financial Management- sources of fund, application or uses of Fund and appropriation of the fund. (ie income and expenditure accounts)

 This is one of the most common in the       Church of today. Some people don’t believe that church funds should be properly managed and accounted for most of the churches do not keep reliable financial records.

 (v)   ECONOMIC CRISIS- This deals with the question of prosperity or wealth, Health and well being of the church. It is the feelings about the adequacy or otherwise of the enabling “environment” for the services or business of God.

(vi)  IDEOLOGICAL CRISIS This has to do with differences in ideas and beliefs. It deals with personality traits cultural or traditional background; Educational status and exposure, etc. this is another type of crisis that is very rampant in the churches.

D.2  CAUSES OF CRISIS

       They include the followings:

  • Unbelief-No doubt, the church is made up of mixed multitudes (believers and unbelievers alike)
  • Low level of faith
  • Perception based on background (individual difference).
  • Absence or Ignorance of sound Apostolic Doctrine and practices.
  • Quest for prominence, power and Authority (paranoid people)
  • Differences in the reason(s) for coming to church (i.e expectation or goal differences)
  • Politically and Socially (public Relation) rather than spiritually motivated appointment in the church.
  • Differences between ministry(s) and member(s)
  • Differences between different department or group in the church.
  • Gender differences (Feminine Versus Masculine)
  • Status of Member or ministers (eg. Educational, Marital Social etc.)
  • Fanaticism and Extremity (Holier than thou Syndrome)
  • Factionalism and Nepotism. (Divide and Rule motives)
  • Imbalance in the educational background of Ministers members
  • Age Gap of Ministers/ Members
  • Selfishness and Greed.
  • Carnality in doing the things of God
  • Tradition versus Christianity.
  • Inter denominational differences.
  • Wind of change blowing across the society (Dispensational or Generational change, affecting norms, values, creeds, standards etc). according to Richard Dobbins, majority of the conflicts experience in churches is the product of “changing times” and the human reaction to the generational change.
  • Not that conflict or crisis occur most times, because people choose to look at matters in different ways, not necessarily because those matters are the way people choose to see them.

E.    HOW TO MANAGE CRISIS IN THE CHURCH

Handling Crisis is as good as managing Human Behaviour. Church as in society is made up of several characters of people which include the following:

  • THE PARANOID PEOPLE- With lust for prominence, power and Authority (Political Christians) e.g. Pharisees and Sadducees.
  • The Disruptive, Manipulative people-full of arrogance and intrigues; manipulative and exploitative tendencies (Economic Christians).
  • THE DISRUPTIVE, ARGUMENTATIVE PEOPLE- full of arrogance, Argument and disrespect for others’ feelings and views. They are lousy and noisy (socio-economic Christians).
  • TIME LAYPEOPLE- Characterized by quietness, shyness and sometime honest conviction. (The poor in spirit, in the Church).
  • Very few others fall in between these groups.

Handling these characters require a leadership that can meticulously study their psychology and treat them accordingly or contingently, using the following:-

(a)       The Word of God (as Apostle PETER did in Acts 15:7-12; Phil. 2:14-16).

(b)      Preach, practice and Administer Discipline (Rom. 16-17,18).

(c)       Preach and practice Extra ordinary faith (as recommended in 2 Pet.1:5-8).

(d)      Motivate everybody toward good works and Christ-likeness (using such indices as promotion, praise, pay, punishment etc). phil. 4:8,9.

(e)     Sound doctrine and practice (1Tim. 6:2-7, Rom. 16:17).

(f)      Wisdom for conciliation, mediation, Arbitration and negotiation (Acts. 6:1-10)

(g)    Mandatory and regular training and development for leaders (2 Tim. 2:15-21).

It is also worthy of note that the people of God must learn to keep LEADERSHIP where it belongs: in the hands of RESPONSIBLE, MATURE, FAITHFUL and SPIRIT-LED BELIEVERS, to at least minimize Crisis in church.

Infact, any church leader (Ministers and other Officers alike) who cannot defend the constitution, doctrine and practice of the church is a potential crisis point AND should be marked, checked, stopped or dropped.

From the works of Richards D. Dobbins, base on the scriptural records in Acts 6:1-7, the Apostles followed a three-stage pattern of crisis management in the church:

  1. DESENSITIZATION:- Here aggrieved  is allowed to air this complaints or views. Everybody deservers to be seen and heard on his views in a matter affecting him, for purposes of fairness equity and justice. Desensitization involves helping people to see several different ways of viewing a set of circumstances.
  2. DELIBERATION:- After people’s have been sufficiently surfaced and aired, there is need for serious but matured discussion on the crisis-considering the various points of view. Here, you chooser the facts of case fearlessly, irrespective of who is involved.

   iii.      DECISION:- After a painstaking and sincere scrutiny of the desensitization and deliberation  exercises, a decision based “facts” and not “feelings” is reached. Here, your sense of responsibility must be separated from “feeling” as not to adulterate or pervert justices in the judgment.

F.   CONCLUSION

The society in which the church operates is full of CRISIS and it is never true that any church is free of Crisis. Often times we get deceived into believing that God can’t be in an honest confrontation or difference of opinion; God can only be in peace and tranquility. This is mismanagement of crisis approach, which typifies the worst CRISIS.

The very essence of management or leadership is problem- solving. Therefore, these crisis must be managed constructively by mature visionary church leadership from time to time, according to the dictates or principles of the scriptures and sound church doctrine and practices (Rom. 16:17,18)

The church leadership at all levels, constitute the jurists and crisis managers by their calling. Therefore, on no account should any internal crisis be allowed to be settled outside the church government- (i.e by worldly Chiefs, law court etc). it is cheap, safe, sane, sound and secured to settle all differences within the church framework. (2Cor. 6:14-17, Heb. 12:14, Matt. 5-9)

Infact, in keeping with our doctrine and practice, all internal crisis should be handled effectively not jumping the Administrative levels and structure of the church, save for where and when “the Rule of Exception” is inevitable, and must be based on the severity of the Crisis and the Quality of leadership available to hear and decide on the crisis

In all it is important to cultivate LOVE habit to avoid crisis and so much reference to LAW in the Church. (1Cor. 13:1-13).

Thanks for your Attention.

Presented by Elder Peter B.L. Borlo

Area Convension. Dec.,2010.