Servant Leadership: Practices
Conduct: Three Interactive Leadership Models
Management/Administrative Leadership” (SL#72)

by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 1:3 – Charting Your Course

Model #3 Management/Administrative Leadership
Summary only: see bibliography for additional resources.
See Models #1 and #2 (SL#70 and #71) for specifics in some of these areas.

The model: As an expression of servant leadership, the primary function of management/administrative leadership is to participate in defining the church’s mission and consistently guide the allocation of its resources toward mission achievement. It is the opportunity to practice the biblical message and its implications relating to people, mission, methods, and resources.

(1) Management/administration starts with theology

  • The church’s form reflects its “theology in practice.” The church is both a spiritual association in covenant with God and with one another, and it is a functional structure and dynamic process organized to fulfill its mission.
  • The authority of the church is Jesus Christ; whatever its polity or shape, it must seek the will of Christ and follow the way of Christ; to serve and lead as He did.
  • The mission of the church is set out in many texts with Matthew 28:19-20 as chief marching orders. The essential functions of the church requiring administrative leadership are often stated as worship, education, fellowship, ministry, evangelism (missions), (see Model #1, SL#70).
  • Two spiritual gifts specifically related to this model are: “gifts of administration” (1 Cor. 12:28) and “leadership” (Rom. 12:8). Also, the New Testament concept of “stewardship” is what we mean by management/administrative leadership: faithfully managing the possessions and affairs of another for the owner’s purposes (see Luke 16:1-3; 1 Cor. 4:1-2).

(2) Management/administrative leadership concepts

  • Almost every text on leadership includes management as a major component; and, management texts present leadership as one of its key functions. Key elements of management include:
    • simply put, seeks to satisfy people, to perform tasks, and to achieve mission;
    • is about getting things done within a particular organization and situation–“leadership by doing”;
    • uses influence to direct resources, processes, activities, and relationships of the team;
    • includes the planning, organizing, leading, and controlling of human and other resources to achieve congregational mission and goals;
    • explains: “This is what and how we do things around here and how they contribute to our mission–but we’re open to improvements”;
    • requires three skills sets: conceptional–understanding ministry tasks within the big picture, technical–working with available and developing technology, and strong>people–ability to value and work with people to get the job done with and through them;
    • “efficiency” is about managing things, effectiveness is about leading people.

(3) Functions, roles, and skills
Traditionally, there are five basic functions of management, supported by other rolls and skills.

  • Leading–not all leaders are managers, but all effective managers provide leadership, including: a sense of mission, direction, priorities, relationships, example, motivation, and encouragement and systems functions.
  • Planning–the process of discovering the direction, strategies, objectives, goals, priorities, and actions for the organization; includes also time, schedule, financial budgeting, other resources, and project planning.
  • Organizing–involves structuring the units and programs of the organization, establishing the teams and networks, and dividing the work among team members–getting the right people in the right positions.
  • Staffing–applies to both personnel and ministry volunteers, including: recruiting, assigning, developing (training), team building, directing (supervising), motivating (encouraging), evaluating and rewarding, or compensating.
  • Controlling–is about monitoring, comparing and correcting: performance toward priorities, expenditure and income with budget, methods and processes with effectiveness and church policy, and balance between caring for people and achieving mission.
  • Other Roles and Skills–
    • sustaining a stable environment for people and processes.
    • focusing on self-management: time, behavior, and stress.
    • focusing on people, their worth, needs and contribution.
    • focusing on implementation toward results.
    • focusing on support of church ministry/programs.
    • knowledge of the church systems and networks.
    • decision-making–personal and participative.
    • problem-solving and conflict management.
    • facilitating change toward innovation and improvement.
    • communications–interpersonal, as a system, and reporting.
    • delegation–sharing decisions, tasks, and authority.
    • networking to add effectiveness and results.
    • evaluating and measuring for improvement, not blame.

Re-read carefully the five major roles in Model #3 and rate your effectiveness (1 Low to 5 High); make notations.

© 2006; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership

Study Abstract: “Basic Skills for Effective Administration,” Chapter 10, pp. 202-225
from: Church Administration: Effective Leadership for Ministry, by Charles A. Tidwell
Broadman/Holman, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992
Abstract prepared by Lloyd Elder

Charles Tidwell, professor and practitioner of effective church leadership, has described leadership succinctly:

  • Leadership requires intentional thought and work–it does not come accidentally or with position.
  • A leader is one who has followers; and, leadership is what one does to get followers.
  • Good leadership is working appropriately with other leaders and followers to determine outcomes that are desired and right, and to progress cooperatively and effectively toward their realization.

Basic Skills Contributing to Leadership

  1. Planning – is the most basic and essential skill; both personal and group.
  2. Initiating – plans must be executed or put into action.
  3. Promotion – although one element of initiating, it must be intentional by the leaders.
  4. Organizing – establishing the pattern of relationships among persons, tasks, and processes–with a view to performance.
  5. Delegating – entrusting a task to the care or action of another or of a team. Match delegated assignment to abilities, resources, and authority to act.
  6. Directing – is instructing what others are to do, with the authority to do so, and reflecting proper esteem for those receiving the assignment.
  7. Motivating – to give a cause for persons to choose to act or to react; to receive and perform assignment of ministries. (See SkillTrack 7.6 on Motivating Volunteers.)
  8. Supervising – supervise is from two Latin words meaning “over” and “to see”; the Greek term for bishop means “over inspector.” A good supervisor helps those supervised to grow, be competent, and perform well; measured by known standards, not a “snoopervisor.”
  9. Performing – that is, you must get on with doing it; it is not knowing how, but doing what you know. Performing also requires a continuous learning process.
  10. Influencing –
    in the best form, it is not by position or power but providing others what they need to be successful, make their decisions, and to do their jobs well.
  11. Controlling – involves directing, guiding, restraining, and helping the individual, group, or congregation to establish and exercise self-control.
  12. Evaluating – a skill that measures the plan and performance by expected outcomes, the benefits desired. Evaluation process usually includes those doing the work, and is published to those affected.
  13. Communication – an indispensable skill that touches all areas of leadership. This skill includes personal, group, and congregation strategies–and uses all available media.
  14. Representing – drawing on those other skills the minister seeks to represent, even a chief representative of the organization.

See also other books on church administration, such as:
Church Administration Handbook, edited by Bruce P. Powers
Creative Church Administration by Lyle E. Schaller and Charles A. Tidwell

Study Abstract: “The Supervisor’s Role in Management”
from What Every Supervisor Should Know (6th ed.)
by Lester R. Bittel and John W. Newstrom, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1990
Abstract prepared by Lloyd Elder (from pages 1-43)

Subtitled, “The Complete Guide to Supervisory Management,” this book provides a comprehensive presentation worthy of careful study. Any congregational minister in a supervisory role may respond as I have:

  • It is a valuable tool for the supervisory task.
  • It is written primarily for business organization, but has common sense and professional insight for the church leadership roles.
  • Many of the principles and practices (but not all) could be useful also in directing volunteer work teams.

Who Is a Supervisor? (p.

A manager who is in charge of and coordinator of the activities of a group of employees engaged within a department, section, or unit of an organization. They direct work procedures, issue instructions, assign duties, examine work quality, maintain harmony, and adjust errors and
complaints. The following statements of six roles enlarge on this initial answer to the question.

Six Roles of Supervisors As Managers

  1. Supervisors As Managers (pp. 3-5) are members of a unique team, an essential part of the management team that gives the organization purpose and leadership. Managerial levels include:
    • Executives as managers are in charge of and responsible for a group of their managers; they are to establish broad plans, objectives, and general policies.
    • Middle managers plan, initiate, and implement programs that are intended to carry out broader objectives set by executives; they motivate, direct, and control supervisors and other managers.
    • Supervisors have responsibility of getting done the “hands-on-the-work” of employees; they plan, motivate, direct, and control the work of nonmanagerial employees.
  2. Supervisors and competencies: Supervisors must bring to their managerial work a broad range of technical and human relations competencies (pp. 7-9).
  3. Linking Goals and Efforts (pp. 10-11): Supervisors provide the vital linkage between management goals and meaningful employee effort; they are responsible to management, to employees, to staff specialists, to other supervisors, and with the union.
  4. Converting Resources into Outputs (pp. 12-14): Supervisory performance is judged by how well supervisors manage their resources and by the results they get from them.
  5. Skills to be Developed (pp. 15-17; see also p. 47): Supervisors strengthen their contribution to the management process by developing their technical, administrative, and human relations skills.
    • Planning: establishing goals, plans, and procedures.
    • Organizing: arranging jobs (and processes) to be effective.
    • Staffing: selecting and placing the right member (with skill levels)
      in appropriate positions.
    • Activating: motivating, communicating, and leading (directing).
    • Controlling: regulating the process, its costs, and performance, and
      evaluating against established goals.
  6. Concern for both Work and People (pp. 18-19): Effective supervisors balance the application of their skills between the work to be done and a concern for people who perform this work.

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