An examination of Mark 6:30-44, seeing how Jesus handles a big event (feeding more than 5000 people a long way from the nearest supermarket surely qualifies!), makes an interesting Bible study from which there is much to learn, as opened up in the booklet Event Management – Jesus style. This passage teaches us about planning, delegation, exercising faith and so on. But at the heart of the message comes Jesus’ care for people and in this contribution I will pull out some important features about putting people first.
Mk 6:34 .. he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Administration in the church is all about people. Because of our experience in the world, where the faceless bureaucracy of government is often making decisions affecting our lives, we are inclined to dismiss administration as impersonal. However, in the upside-down world of the Kingdom of God it is the exact opposite. Administration is about making the environment or activity as conducive as possible to allowing people to meet with and learn from God. I often used to say to teams I worked with for Newfrontiers events (the family of churches I was part of) ‘If people notice the administration we have failed’. We want them to ‘notice’ God!
So, it is vital that those of us who have an administrative gift always keep uppermost in our minds the needs of the people we are trying to serve; we must not become totally immersed in the details of the administrative function, alluring as those can be to the administrator, at the expense of people’s welfare and fulfilment.
Mk 6:35,36…his disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
After sitting on the hillside through the heat of the day there was a significant challenge. There were thousands of hungry and thirsty people who needed help, and probably a lack of stores in the area that could satisfy them.
The starting point of any administrative activity comes with a clear definition of the problem to be solved or the mission to be accomplished. Only by such clarity of definition will it be possible to assess that the task has been adequately and fully accomplished at a later stage. As has often been said, ‘if you aim at nothing you are sure to hit it’!
Jesus rapidly and accurately assessed the situation The resulting decision and subsequent action not only blessed the thousands of on-site beneficiaries but also has acted as a spur to faith and action for the church down the last two millennia.
One can never be certain of the consequences of a decision – so it is good to be confident that it is a good one!
1. Administration is all about people; caring for their needs and growth is vital in exercising effective administration.
2. Accurate assessment of the need provides the basis for good decisions
Copies of Event Management – Jesus style can be ordered through NigelRing.org