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Anthony, Michael J. and James Estep, Jr. Management Essentials for Christian Ministries.

Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2005.

Welch, Robert H. Church Administration: Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry. Nashville:
Broadman & Holman, 2005.
Anthony and Esteps editorial work, Management Essentials for Christian Ministries is
designed around a six-part systems approach which incorporates the elements of integration,
planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and evaluating. From these topics, the specifics of
operating within the context of Christian ministry are infiltrated into the diagram. With a firm
biblical basis, each author, a specialist in his field, affirms that the examples established in
Scripture only serve to verify that management, as defined in this book, is a godly practice of
stewardship for the kingdom of God. The editors are clear to identify the misconceptions that
churches have embraced about administrative practices and seek to find a foundation for good
ministry practices in the stories, characters, and teachings of the Bible.
Written by a former member of the United States Navy and experienced minister, Robert
H. Welch presents his book, Church Administration in a fashion that parallels his upbringing.
Straight-forward and efficient, Church Administration is a ministers guidebook for professional
administration. The author suggests that many ministers, especially pastors, do not receive
formal administrative training throughout their education in seminary and thus, are ignorant of
many of the simplest administrative tasks. Narrowing the gap between ministers and good
administrative processes, Welch says, will help ministers to maintain effective ministries without

personally inflicting wounds that could otherwise be prevented.1 Outlining the simple necessities
of administration in a researched, but readable, approach gives guidelines to any minister
needing help in this area.
Administration as Biblically Sound
The spiritual nature of administration is rarely highlighted in everyday life. However, the
authors of both books would give a resounding affirmation as to the blessing and necessity of
administration. In fact, Anthony and Estep suggest that administration is really about
stewardship. They write, As stewards, we are expected to administrate Gods work in a wise
and efficient manner. In fact, as ministry leaders we will one day give an account for our
oversight when we stand before our Master. A good steward is one who recognizes his
responsibility to oversee the affairs of his master and focuses his efforts toward that end. 2
Similarly, Welch ties administration to biblical roots, referencing Jethro and Moses, Nehemiah
and the walls of Jerusalem, and even Paul in his instructions to the Corinthians. Administration,
then, must lose its poor reputation in our churches if they are to function properly.
Wisely, Welch also reveals the simple truth that ministers do not work in a vacuum. The
work of the church is people work and cannot be done in isolation. He writes, Ministers are
called to minister. But this is difficult to achieve without an understanding of how to go about
carrying out that ministry. Church leaders do not function in isolation; they are surrounded by
boards, committees, councils, teams, deacons, and other staff members. Effective and efficient
ministry requires the institution to develop some principles of administrative organization. 3
Robert H. Welch, Church Administration (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), xiii.

Anthony and Estep, 1.

Welch, 22.


Anthony and Esteps Management Essentials for Christian Ministries and Welchs Church
Administration attempt to move the reader from a place of administrative ignorance or disregard
to an open acceptance, appreciation, and application of the necessary principles of
Anthony and Esteps perspectives on Christian administration are compelling and
theologically sound. Instead of skepticism or annoyance at the basic practices of administration,
the authors pose five biblical perspectives on Christian administration in an attempt to clear the
air around the issue.4 For one, Anthony and Estep describe administration as ministry. Using 1
Peter 4:10 for emphasis, the authors suggest that it is through Gods grace that this gift is
utilized. In addition, the authors explain that administration is servanthood in that it is a position
that serves the followers of Christ, the church, and is not self-serving. Thirdly, administration is
considered a spiritual gift, as evidenced in 1 Corinthians 12:28.
As previously mentioned, administration can also be viewed as stewardship, denoting a
steward or manager of a household, often a trusted slave. 5 The humble state of this position in
the early second century shows the aspect of servanthood previously mentioned. Lastly,
administration is undoubtedly spiritual. While many may question the depth of spirituality in
such a routine position, Anthony and Estep write, Perhaps the reason we do not perceive it
[administration] as being spiritual is the lack of integration between the pastoral nature of the
congregation and the more business side of running the ministry. 6 However, if the chasm

Michael J. Anthony and James Estep, Jr., Management Essentials for Christian
Ministries (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 46-48.

Ibid, 47.

Ibid, 49.

between the two sides could be spanned, one may happily discover that there is godly purpose
and biblical mandate for the wise administration of the church.
Unfortunately, the beautiful life given to administration in the Anthony and Estep text is
not paralleled in the Welchs text. Instead, Welch opens with a documented, and quite accurate,
look at the purpose for the despairing lack of appropriate administration in churches in America
today. Welch believes that a lack of seminary training in the area of administration has caused
pastors and church leaders to be uneducated on such an important issue of the church. He writes,
The bottom line is that seminarians attending these 148 seminaries in preparation for
pastoral ministry will spend slightly over 1 percent (1.35 percent) of their total academic
course preparation in study for the administrative or leadership responsibilities of the
church; and up to three-fourths of the others will receive none. This is an interesting
balance of preparation requirements given that studies have demonstrated that a pastor
spends 50 to 75 percent of his time in administrative and leadership responsibilities in the
Thus, although Anthony and Estep direct some of their attention on the failure of seminaries to
adequately prepare their students, Welch feels one of the main issues of administration is found
in the minimal amount of time actually spent in training ministers to use this resource.
Administrative Basics
For the sake of comparison, both texts provide the rudimentary data necessary for any
minister to begin the journey of administration. Anthony and Estep are careful to explain that
administration or management should not be considered heretical ideas within the context of the
church. Instead, Anthony writes, Many well-meaning Christians mistakenly believe that since
businesses have incorporated and promoted popular methods of management in order to produce
financial profit, then there must be something inherently wrong with integrating these same

Welch, xii.

principles into the way we organize and administrate the affairs of the church.8 Certainly, many
churches and ministers have been burned by poor administrative practices on both ends of the
spectrum, but neither Anthony & Estep nor Welch is proposing such theories. In fact, both
authors would deny that they are attempting to establish any type of new administrative fad that
will soon prove to be nullified with the times. Instead, the objective of both books appears to be
the necessary basics of administration that every minister would find helpful in his or her
Administrations Biblical Foundation
While the authors could be critiqued for the information lacking in their books, they
cannot be criticized for a lack of biblical emphasis. While many authors set out to give their
professional opinion on administration, Anthony, Estep, and Welch have not written books that
fall into this category. Instead, the authors have painstakingly built their books off of a strong
biblical foundation. Not only do the authors know their Bible and have a deep appreciation for its
truth, but they seek to build all supplementary information from this foundation. Welch begins
the first chapter with the story of Jethro and Moses, paralleling practical application with the
good administration of the story. In addition, Anthony and Estep dedicate an entire chapter to the
Theology of Administration. One would have reason for concern if the theological
implications and biblical mandates of the book were limited to this one chapter. However, the
authors are careful to utilize the truth of the Bible throughout the text.
Of course, the Bible does not explicitly lay out some specifics, such as a risk
management plan for the church, but, as Anthony and Estep suggest, God is a God of
purposeful planning. Such a claim is supported by Gods planning process in creation. In fact, a
Ibid, 13.

common theme of Management Essentials for Christian Ministries is that no foundational aspect
of administration is proposed without explaining the biblical references that would lead one to a
particular conclusion. While the authors of both books are careful to incorporate the scriptures,
Anthony and Estep are notably faithful to the scriptures as stories and references from the
scriptures flood the pages of their book.
Administrative Documents
For any church leader trying to undertake or understand administrative processes, the
various documents of an organization serve as the tools in a ministers tool box if only he or she
could learn how to use them and which one to use at the appropriate time. Both texts seek to
demystify the various documentation necessary for the daily functions of the church. Among the
most important documents are the constitution and bylaws. While Anthony and Estep chose to
identify their policies and procedures as constitution and bylaws, the definitions certainly parallel
from book to book. Welch, however, deepens the conversation of these documents by discussing
not only their purpose, but how to write such a document should the situation occur. While
protocols are really rooted more in the day-to-day processes of the church, the details, Anthony
and Estep miss a powerful opportunity to discuss the importance of a constitution and bylaws
which provide equal if not greater protection to a church and its administrative functions than
protocols alone.
Other important documents used in the administrative process include the use of job
descriptions. According to Anthony and Estep, Job descriptions are invaluable to churches and
religious organizations because they can facilitate the effectiveness of each member of a team
and avoid pitfalls of hidden agendas or misunderstood expectations.9 While many ministers will
Anthony and Estep, 177.

understand the concept of job descriptions, few may have personally received such a document
for the position they currently hold. Worse, even fewer ministers may have provided other staff
members or volunteers with appropriate job descriptions. In fact, Welch explains that one study
found that less than half the churches surveyed had job descriptions for their professional staff
and only one church had job descriptions for lay leaders in the church.10 In an effort to promote
better administrative practices, both books provided written examples of what a job description
should look like and entail.
Another equally important and controversial document of the church is the budget. Many
churches have been killed over the issue of money. The Holy Spirits work through
administrative processes makes the budget into a document that helps, and does not hinder, the
work of the church. Perhaps the most important aspect of budgeting is the fact that God provides
the provisions for the work that He wants performed. On average, it is a lack of faith, not
funding, that creates the most severe dissention in the church. A minister who can learn to
evaluate and utilize the budget makes for a stronger leader and administrator. While Welch
superbly identifies the various ways of developing a budget, whether line-item, zero-based, or
ministry-action, his regimented background becomes more evident. Likewise, Anthony and
Estep provide black-and-white information about types of budgets and the stages of a budgeting
cycle, but still seem to miss an important element of budgeting. Undoubtedly, funding will
always be cut back and feelings will always be hurt. The potential for problems can be elevated
one hundred fold in one simple budget meeting. While the technicalities of a budget are pertinent
and helpful, both books would be helped by a discussion of conflict regarding budgeting.
In many ways, church administration practices will be similar to secular business
practices in that a particular way of performing an operation works equally well in both
Welch, 81.


instances. An example of an equally useful resource is the job evaluation. Of course, evaluations,
if handled poorly, can be a useless and dreaded endeavor. However, if handled properly, job
performance evaluations can be a helpful resource. In discussing the philosophies of task
management, researcher Elton Mayo made an interesting discovery. Welch documents his
Mayo discovered that neither issues of physical fatigue, monotony, nor an environmental
issue such as lighting affected production. The important factors of increased productivity
were the perception of the worker that management was paying attention to them and the
pride of the worker was being placed in a special group, and conversely, the pride in
workmanship despite being placed in a special category by the control group. It all
focused on the individual, the worker, not the work.11
While the Human Behavior School is not the only task management philosophy, many
employees can relate to the fact that work performance improves if management shows interest
in the work of the individual. Likewise, job performance evaluations have the potential to
improve the churchs work performance overall. While the church would never want an
employee to feel that they are only a mouse on a wheel, being evaluated in a condescending way,
the church has a responsibility to ensure that the right person is in place for the job and changes
do not need to be made.

Welch, 8.


Administration & Risk Management
In recent years, Christians have grieved over the stories of churches who have failed to
provide the necessary protection for the organization and/or its members. Some such stories have
been aired nation-wide, causing a sharp increase in risk management on the behalf of churches
and religious organizations. A wise professor has said, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of cure. The authors of both texts are especially clear in instructing ministers of their obligation
to protect the church and her members. The church bears a distinct burden of wanting to show
openness to a community unlike itself but also to provide protection to those who are present.
The struggle is never easy or convenient, but it is necessary.
Using his experience to draw readers to the reality of the situation, Welch explains:
In the past churches were not robbed or vandalized. Religious structures were considered
sanctuaries of peace, and the values of the religious group were respected. Churches were
generally given latitude with regard to tort action and lawsuits when accidents or
unfortunate events occurred. Churches were not bound by many laws ascribed to other
elements of the public. Those days are gone.12
Instead, churches have been forced to take extensive measures to not only ensure the safety and
protection of their members, but also the protection of the church as an entity. Anthony and Estep
are helpful in defining the legal terms that are applicable to the church and other non-profit
organizations. Administrative law, organizational law, duty and liability law and constitutional
law are all defined in terms of the church and helpful for determining the importance of each.
Overall, Anthony and Estep, withstanding their personal stories, provide a more
comprehensive approach to the topic of risk management. Most importantly, the authors identify
the five areas where churches bear the greatest amount of liability. Most churches would have to
admit to one or more of these offenses. The first, negligent hiring, has been evident in a lack of
background checks and sufficient training for the type of responsibility he or she will bear.
Welch, 261.


Secondly, negligent supervision plagues North American churches in current society. Without
proper supervision of an employee, many churches have found themselves in child molestation
or sexual misconduct cases. Thirdly, negligent retention, puts the church in an interesting
predicament. On one hand, the church wants to be a loving and redemptive place for all members
and employees. On the other hand, the church has a responsibility to duly note the reputation or
hurtful patterns of an employee and take the necessary actions. However, termination can lead to
alternate cases where the employee sues the church for wrongful termination.
In addition, malpractice cases are springing up in church life as professional counseling
has fallen into the functions of the church. If professional standards are not maintained, churches
can be sued for a lack of professionalism. Likewise, the confidentiality of communications and
clergy privilege have potential to be problem areas in a church. Clergy members must take extra
precautions not to assume liberties where confidentiality is expected.
Anthony and Esteps five major areas of legal concern for churches as mentioned above
may very well be the most important section of either book. The specificity of these areas allows
for any church member or volunteer to evaluate the safety features of the church and make
definite improvements as a matter of prevention. Welchs book provides risk management
suggestions for each area of the church as they are discussed, offering real prevention ideas to
potential problems. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Book Layout
Removing oneself from the message of the book, one must also notice the layout and
structure of each title. For instance, Welch has chosen to emphasize eleven major aspects of
administration. However, the chapters are titled with ambiguous titles that do not immediately
point a reader to a specific topic. For example, if a minister needed information on job

descriptions, he or she may attempt to find the material in a chapter entitled, Documents for
Administration. Unsuccessful, a minister would later find information on job descriptions in
chapter 4, Organizing the Church. However, more specific job descriptions for a particular
position would be found in chapter 8, Administering the Office. Thankfully, Welch provides an
index in the back of his book, a helpful resource that Anthony and Estep omit, which would
eventually lead a minister to the correct location in the book.
Alternately, Anthony and Estep developed a model upon which their book is structured.
Although the model is complex, the figure is helpful in keeping each issue contained to a
particular area so as to streamline the discussion of topics. Using the six main parts of the modelintegration, planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and evaluating- the reader can quickly
locate the area of interest. Sub-points in the table of context provide continued insight into the
location of particular topics. Overall, the organizational structure of the Anthony and Estep book
makes for a better manual for ministers who may not have an opportunity to read through an
entire book in search of answers to a more specific problem. The organization and topic
breakdown helps Management Essentials double as both a book on administration and a church
Overall, both books are especially faithful to the message of the Bible as it pertains to the
gift of administration. In an effort to aid ministers who are lacking in the area of administration
due to poor training or education, both books serve to take some of the guess-work out of
administrative tasks while simultaneously altering the average ministers perception as to the
importance of the administrative process. While the books are similar in content and emphasis,
the organizational structures and minute variances are the distinguishing factors in both texts. No

matter which book a minister chooses to read, he or she will come away with a greater
appreciation for administration and a better understanding of how the work is to be completed.