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The Art of Stamping: God of Order

Our church meetings and ministry areas need to have order to both reflect an aspect of God's character and serve other image-bearers.

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invisible box

The Art of Stamping: God of Order

Our church meetings and ministry areas need to have order to both reflect an aspect of God's character and serve other image-bearers.

The Art of Stamping: God of Order

Our church meetings and ministry areas need to have order to both reflect an aspect of God's character and serve other image-bearers.

The Art of Stamping: God of Order

The big idea for this blog series is that when we fulfil our role behind the scenes in the church office, we are placing the stamp of God’s character on the operations, and administration of the church. Today I want to focus on the attribute of God’s order.

As I think about specific examples of God’s character, the first characteristic that comes to mind is that God is a God of order. In 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV), Paul says, “God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace”. The New Living Translation says “God is not a God of disorder but of peace”. The word ‘peace’ here can be translated as' order’. Our church meetings and ministry areas need to have order. Not to be pedantic, or difficult or even boring, but because we want to reflect God. God is a God of order and not confusion. Therefore, our church meetings need to be ordered and not confusing for people. Primarily to reflect an aspect of God’s character but also to serve other image-bearers. The structures we establish behind the scenes serve our church members and visitors on Sundays and throughout the week. Church leaders and church administrators are responsible for bringing order in a variety of different ways across different ministries of the church.

Picture these scenes…

A family has moved into the area and is looking for a local church. They stumble across your church website. The service is advertised to start at 10:30am. They arrive at 10:20am. There is no one to greet them in the car park. In fact, there are quite a few cars but no one around. The find their way to the front entrance. The service has already begun. As the doors clatter behind them and heads turn to glare, they become embarrassed and quickly find themselves some seats at the back. They have no idea what is going on but it seems they are late. The minister is preaching and they try to follow and catch up but they aren’t quite sure which scripture the minister is preaching from. It turns out they missed the worship and the beginning of the message because the meeting actually began at 10am.

Or maybe a young family arrive at church a bit rushed and dishevelled. The morning hasn’t gone to plan. The baby was up half the night crying, someone forgot to turn the dishwasher on the night before so they were frantically cleaning the dirty dishes out of the dishwasher for the children to have some cereal. Then one child dropped a full bowl of cereal all over the floor. Broken ceramics, milk and soggy cheerios dispersed everywhere. Mum immediately tries to clean it up before someone has an accident but unfortunately in comes the toddler, she slips on the spilt milk and now needs a cold compress, cuddles and a complete change of clothes. Not to mention the dog keeps being sick on the new rug! All before finding that the route to church was diverted due to a marathon in town. Anyway, they arrive at church and go to book the children in to the children’s ministry only to find that it has been cancelled. There was a mix up with the rota’s and they couldn’t find anyone to step in at such short notice. They said it’s always a struggle to find volunteers.

Or maybe during worship the lyrics on the screen are different to the lyrics the worship leader is singing and it all becomes very confusing. Half the church are singing the same as the worship team and the other half are singing something else entirely.

Or maybe at the end of the meeting the pastor invites people for prayer. The announcement is to find Pastor Jimmy on the landing. Where is this mystery place? And who is Pastor Jimmy? Desperate for prayer the recently-wed new members search around the building for ‘the landing’. It’s not at the top of the stairs and somehow they end up in a conference room. However, they are informed that they aren’t supposed to be in there so give up and leave.

These examples are extreme, you would hope they wouldn’t all happen on the same morning! (I have multiple alarm bells going off in my head right now, and I’m breaking out in a cold sweat!). I am sure we have all had a church experience that we can remember for all the wrong reasons. But ultimately these examples don’t reflect the character of God at all. Yes, mistakes happen, the church and its administration isn’t perfect, things don’t always go to plan. But we want to do our best to serve the church, the new members, the first time visitors, the busy parents of young families. We don’t want to add to the chaos of everyday life. We don’t want people’s experiences to be confusing, misleading, disappointing, discouraging, or isolating.  We want people to feel welcomed, safe, cared for, included. These things can happen when we have correct information on our website, when we welcome others warmly, when we are mindful that visitors and members alike need clear information and guidance for accessing reliable children’s ministry or pastoral care. We need to remember that everyday life can be chaotic or stressful for different reasons and we need to make it accessible for people to come and hear the gospel, whatever that takes.  

God is completely separate from all confusion and disorder; God is continuously active in countless activities, fulfilling various plans. All His activity is done in perfect order. We are called to be like God, involved in numerous activities working across the church seeking to serve it by bringing order and structure with excellence. When we are successful by His grace, empowered by His Spirit, we can sort out the chaos and reflect the character of God, bringing Him glory.

Let’s get stamping, stamping the character of God on the operations and on the administration of the church as we think about the God of order.

 

Reflection Questions

Where can you identify disorder in your church meeting or ministry areas?

What are some of the frustrations or feedback that you have received relating to disorder or confusion?

What are some of the areas in the church where order has made a difference?

It is important to draw on others to gain a wider perspective of where changes need to be made. Who can you discuss these reflection questions with to better serve the church?

 Let’s pray for God to grant us wisdom and direction to implement the changes needed.

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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