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Encouragements from a Church Administrator

Here's Gavin's reflections on the first month of a year where everything is going to be different and the trustworthiness of our God day-by-day in the midst of the uncertainty.

Gavin SmithGavin Smith
Feb 11, 2021
Teaching
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invisible box

Encouragements from a Church Administrator

Here's Gavin's reflections on the first month of a year where everything is going to be different and the trustworthiness of our God day-by-day in the midst of the uncertainty.

Gavin SmithGavin Smith
Feb 11, 2021
Teaching

Encouragements from a Church Administrator

Here's Gavin's reflections on the first month of a year where everything is going to be different and the trustworthiness of our God day-by-day in the midst of the uncertainty.

Gavin SmithGavin Smith
Feb 11, 2021
Teaching

Encouragements from a Church Administrator

Gavin Smith
Feb 11, 2021
Teaching

For many people January is the longest and most difficult month of the year. But for me, as a church administrator, it is one of the best months of the year. December is our financial year end and so January is the time to process all the financial data. I love budgeting and compiling the financial reports and all that’s involved in preparing and launching the 2021 budget. January marks a new financial year, a new beginning and a time to look forward with hope and anticipation to the year ahead. 

January is also the month that our pastoral team heads away on our annual retreat. The team retreat is full of prayer, planning, discussion and decisions. I love it! My background is in sport and being part of a team and being together is something I really value. With this in mind, I enjoy watching the dynamics as multiple roles, personalities and giftings come together to prayerfully seek ways to best care for the church and share the good news of the gospel. I cannot think of a better time when elders, deacons and support staff are all in the same room. It’s a lovely example of church management and pastoral ministry working in tandem for the gospel.

The Covid-19 Church Experience

Today’s experience couldn’t be further from what I have enjoyed for the past 17 years. I am sat in my office, quietly, on my own, processing the year end data, taking time to plan and finalise the budget as some staff have been furloughed and other staff are working from home. At this point, many of the challenges of 2020 have rolled straight into this year without a clear end in sight. I am given to starting this year focusing on all the differences; all the elements of the team and community we are missing, feeling like change is far away and I can feel my heart wandering towards disappointment. Everything I enjoy about the team retreat, the experience of togetherness, purpose and readiness for the year ahead is on hold until we can meet again. The usual sense of hope and excitement for all that is to come has been replaced with low expectations, a sense of caution and uncertainty. 

At some point over the last 10 months, you might have felt the same- disconnected, with a loss of direction and purpose, and a feeling of inadequacy in your efforts to serve your local church. Here are a couple of thoughts to encourage us all in this season and hopefully, by the grace of God, give us a better perspective.

The team retreat is a wonderful means of God’s grace to me and it’s good to enjoy it, but the team retreat is not the source of grace.

Our togetherness, purpose and readiness for ministry is found and secure in the gospel. We may be physically apart, but our togetherness is found in our union with Christ. We are together because we are in Christ and it is so important to remind ourselves of that great reality. We are the recipients of the transforming work of the gospel. I could be doing a thousand other things, but God has saved us and has tasked us with the great privilege of serving His church. It’s not all going to fit into a nice box and we have to be prepared that the methods are going to change from the previous years, but the mission hasn’t changed at all. Gospel work is going to look different in this season. But He has gone before us and makes a way for us.

It’s easy for me to focus on my needs, my preferences, desiring to stick with our normal methods of working out Gospel ministry in our local church, but God has a different plan this year. This pandemic is not a surprise to God, He is fully in control and we can know afresh that He will continue to lead and serve His church. This doesn’t mean we don’t continue to make plans. But what it does mean is we are mindful that we were never in control in the first place and it was never about our plan for the church but His glorious plans. We remember that His plans can never be thwarted (Job 42:2 ESV). And we faithfully continue to seek His wisdom, to pray and trust in Him as we plan for the year ahead. 

Perspective changes everything

Where do you go for perspective? I love heading to Isaiah 40, a breath-taking description of our God. It is too much to unpack in just one article, but we can know God’s got this! Look at verse 11, it wonderfully captures God’s heart for us.  

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40 :11 (ESV)

I may enjoy gathering with the team of my local church, fellowshipping with them and planning the year ahead, but a real retreat is to head into the arms of the Father. This is what a retreat really looks like, being carried in the loving arms of God who gently leads us. It is here we find a wonderful place to rest. A place where He can renew our strength, a place where we find our joy. We can trust Him and know that at the right time He will reveal how we can serve. He will gently lead us and show us the way to go, giving us purpose and strength and the gifting to do all that He calls us to do. Praise be to God.


Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith
Gavin serves as the Church Administrator for Christchurch, Newport, a role he has been in for the last 17 years. He is passionate about the gospel and strengthening the church by supporting the work that happens behind the scenes.

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