Dr. Judy Stamey, FCBA, has served churches for over 30 years in North Carolina and Texas. So she was a natural fit to illustrate the 14 core competencies of church administration to attendees of a packed seminar Monday. The seminar was conducted in conjunction with the NACBA Annual Conference held this week in Nashville.
NACBA, through its Committee on Professional Training and Standards, has determined that there are 14 core areas of study that church business administrators need in order to do their work more effectively. The goal is to provide knowledge and understanding related to how each of these area relate to helping the church achieve its mission.
Giving a brief history of the development of the competencies, Stamey explained that the competencies have evolved, just as church business has evolved. They have been in place since 1981 when a group was charged with developing the driving ideas of successful church administration.
“You must first learn to listen to all the ideas. When we learn to listen, it works,” she explained.
The session began with an explanation of the theological implications for church business administrators. In order to move forward, we need to understand “what is the church,” Stamey said.
“The Church is the focal point of God’s activity in the world, which should be understood to be evident in the church’s worship, its witness and its corporate life; as well as the lives of those who comprise its fellowship,” she said, quoting Dr. David Kirkpatrick, emeritus professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Seminary. “The church is made up of believers, but we have to understand the organization.”
There are several concerns for church administrators, according to Stamey. You must understand your function in regards to programs, scheduling and facilities. “Every church administrator touches every area in some way,” she said. “Don’t blind yourself to it.”
She also believes in the importance of general biblical guidelines in regards to business, including honestly and integrity, discretion and judgment, and good communication.
Stamey also focused on basic tenets common to business and religion. When polled, most seminar attendees have held jobs in the secular world, and many have brought some of their secular world experiences into their religious calling. In regards to religion, Stamey made the following points:
- Faith in God is of vital significance
- The development of interpersonal relationships through fellowship is important
- An institutional structure lends credibility to the cause of religion
- Goals are necessary and important
- A system of values is crucial
- Lives should be dedicated to an enduring hope
She also stressed the need for a written code of ethics for every church. "You are in the people business for Jesus Christ," she said. "Our credibility is what makes our image."
Next, Stamey focused on legal and tax matters in the church. In doing so, she explained several legal situations that today's churches encounter. These include employee relations such as compensation, deductions and policies; contributions and restrictive giving; incorporation, constitutions and by-laws; contracts; copyrights; negligence; embezzlement; security; and childcare.
"Lawsuits are on the rise and churches cannot use the excuse of 'we didn't know,'" she said.
Stamey then outlned the additional core competencies for church business administrators. The 14 core competencies include:
- Christian perspectives and theology of church
- Theology and ethics of church administration
- Strategic planning
- Legal and tax matters
- Financial management
- Stewardship of self
- Personnel and human resource management
- Staff development
- Congregational leadership
- Theology of stewardship
- Office management
- Information management
- Property management
- Communication and marketing