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Summary: How are leadership and administration different, and how are they spiritual? Lessons from Nehemiah

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The Gift of Leaership and The Gift of Administration

At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today.

A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result. The reporter’s next question was, "How did you develop these men to becomes so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?" Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt - one goes in looking for the gold.

This morning we continue our study of spiritual gifts with a look at the gifts of leadership and organization. The challenge of leadership is finding and developing the “gold” in people.

It is important that we understand what these two gifts are before getting into how to use them.

First, I don’t believe that the two are one and the same thing – I think there are important differences between the spiritual gift of leadership and the spiritual gift of administration. There are often overlaps, and the two do often work together, but I think the fundamental difference is that leadership is by necessity people focused while administration is by necessity process focused. Leaders deal with people, administrators deal with systems and processes.

A great example of this is how we work together as a staff here at Laurier. Pastor Dave is clearly our leader – he sets the tone, articulates the needs we have and the priority we need to place on those. And in a recent staff meeting when we were talking about my job, Dave said, “Steve, what you are good at is all the ‘middle stuff’”. I want to put that on my office door – “Minister of Middle Stuff”. What are we talking about there?? – it becomes my job to create and work with the systems, with the process, with some of the “hows” of going in the direction that our leaders have set. Dave says “we have a large need right now to foster people building relationships with each other,” and I say “let’s get working on the mechanics of getting people into small groups where they can build relationships – let’s recruit some leaders, make a list of who is and who is not in a small group, let’s find some material to help structure the group time.”

Vision/need and process. Leaders deal directly with people – with casting the vision and motivating people to come along; and often the administrators come next and work with the process and the systems to see vision realized.

A second introductory comment about these two gifts is that we don’t really see them as “spiritual” gifts. Leaders are sometimes viewed as egotists – spotlight hoggers – people who are control freaks and need to tell everyone else what to do. Administrators are typically seen as boring – accountant types – behind the scenes plodders who are faithful but certainly not living in the excitement and power of the Holy Spirit… But those views are false. People with the spiritual gift of leadership and the spiritual gift of administration need to be and are as empowered in the use of their gift as the prophet or the healer or the evangelist. It is the same Spirit. And God gives gifts to His children to accomplish His desire for His people. When God needs something done He calls and empowers a leader and He also calls and empowers an administrator to make sure all the “middle stuff” gets handled in a Godly way.

So do you think you might have the spiritual gift of leadership and/or the gift of administration? Let me ask you a few quick questions:

1. Do you see the “big picture” and dream about how much more God desires to do in a certain situation?

2. When you speak, do people often listen and agree?

3. When you set goals, do others seem to accept them readily?

4. Do things seem to run smoothly when you are in charge?

5. Are you a self-starter – who wants to jump right in and take over a project?

6. Do you approach a task or project with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm about the opportunities for ministry?

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