by Teresa Luo
The Office of Administration
In the previous article, we discussed the characteristics of administration as a personal gift; now we look at administration as an office–an appointment or duty. An office of administration is given to a leader with a clear mandate from God, approved by the church leaders to guide, coordinate, and integrate the affairs of the ministries. These leaders may or may not be gifted with a charism of administration, but nonetheless take up the duties of an administrator. People with different gifts will approach the role of administration in their own unique way, characterised by the gifts they possess.
Growing up, I always found myself in positions of leadership and administration. Ironically, it was in these positions that I found myself lacking in the gift of administration. Being the President of Student Council in my secondary school, I did well in being the spokesperson of the school.
However, when it came to organising and planning events, I tended to overlook points and was not very meticulous in following schedules. Thankfully, I always had my capable vice-president, a dear friend, to take note of every point and diligently coordinate and delegate the work. Even so, as grateful as I was to my friend, I could not help but wonder why I had been placed in this position of leading the student body. I clearly had no gift in administration, so why would the Lord place me in such a position?
It was only many years after that the answer became clear.
God Calls the Spiritually Ready
God does not call the capable and gifted to do His work; He calls the spiritually ready.
When the apostles chose men to organise the Church, they looked for seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom (Acts 6:2-3). It was more important for these chosen administrators to have hearts that were open to the Spirit to lead them in their work. The prerequisite of leading in God’s Kingdom is thus spiritual maturity rather than the gift of administration.
But of course, where the grace of God leads you, the grace of God will sustain you. And that was exactly what He did for me through my friend, who used her gift to complement mine. We worked together, each bringing our own unique gifts to the same work, to achieve the same goal.
Like how the different parts of the body work alongside each other with no one part being more important than the other, so it is in the Body of Christ. In varying situations, although some gifts may seem more necessary and important than another, that does not lessen the other gifts; the Church is built on people with different gifts working in union with each other.
Marrying our Personal Gifts with the Office Function
Thus, instead of trying to change ourselves to suit the office, or even resent ourselves for not having the gift of administration when we are put into such positions, an alternative could be to brainstorm and analyse how our own unique gifts can complement and value add in the office of administration.
From completing the charism quiz and recollecting on both my past experiences and affirmations from my friends, I have come to realise that I have been bestowed with a gift of teaching. Teachers have a love of words and definitions. They clearly present facts and logically execute their lessons. So in planning for a project and delegating work (like in the office of administration), a teacher would be able to clearly define and explain the process for others to execute.
This enables people to understand the project instead of merely following orders blindly. By explaining the logic behind the plan, people are then empowered to take ownership of the project and responsibility for accomplishing the goals. This would be an ideal use of the gift of teaching in an administrative office, bringing out the best of both gifts. There are many other combinations of gifts that complement the office of administration, so give it a try and think about how your personal gifts can be used!
As how every coin has a flip side, so does the gift of administration have a “dirty” side. When misused or misinterpreted, the desire to stick to schedules can be seen as valuing the task over the people. Delegation can be seen as avoidance of work or laziness. Being a meticulous organiser can be seen as being insensitive and rigid in the face of others’ feelings and opinions.
In theory, using our gifts may seem simple and straightforward if we just follow the guidebook. But that is hardly ever the case when people are involved. Differing situations and varying groups of people call for creative ways of using of our gifts.
But at the core of it all is putting Christ at the centre of our work. This works well in every situation, for our work and gifts are given by God and must be used for building His Kingdom only. It is not our will or the will of others that we submit to, but the will of God. God, being the Giver of all these holy gifts and more, will never fail to make good of a situation that we offer up to Him. Hence, set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2) and He will sanctify our gifts and our work.
Growing up, each of us would have encountered different situations that consciously or subconsciously shaped our thought and character. However, some of these skills and abilities, albeit inherently good, may have masked our spiritual gifts. Thus, it is necessary that we discern and reflect on the mission and gifts that God has planted in our hearts; and start intentionally to build the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.
My Vocation is to Love: a series on how the Lord uses the gifts and charisms that have been given to each member of the Body, and how we have been empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit to love and build up the Body of Christ. Each article will touch on how a young person has been empowered to love through the gifts that have been given to them; for if we have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if we have faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Our hope is that we may gain a better insight into how the Lord works differently through each person to serve the body of Christ in their vocation to love.