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“Spiritual Administration Vs. Spiritual Leadership: Beans, Bullets and Bad-guys”

Friday, October 20, 2006
“Spiritual Administration Vs. Spiritual Leadership: Beans, Bullets and Bad-guys”


In examining the differences between the gifts of leadership and administration I reflected on my time in the Marine Corps and the role of the tactician/ field commander and the role of the logistician/ echelon commander. Both roles are vital in the implementation of war fighting strategies and battlefield success. Both roles have cross over duties which are applicable to the other yet radically different in their approach and short range mission objectives. However, though short range mission objectives and tasks are different they both work towards the same long range overall mission objective. Similarly the leader as defined by Hocking[1], et al, fulfills more of the field commander role (tactician) in the still very real spiritual war within his/ her area of charge. The logistician conversely would fulfill the role of administrator in the spiritual battles[2] which the Church engages in.
As a Marine one of the many acronyms which we had to memorize in regards to battle preparation what “BBB” “Beans, Bullets and Bad-guys”[3]. The leader and the administrator even to a higher degree must take into consideration the three B’s of logistics to help the local Church better fight the spiritual battles which rage around (and occasionally within) Her.
The shepherd must be concerned not only with the long range mission objective, i.e. guiding the souls under his/ her charge into the safe harbor of the Beatific Vision and bringing a greater harvest of souls along with them but also with the logistics of guiding the flock through the daily rocky shoals that come up. Shepherds must be concerned with the temporal and spiritual needs of the flock that Our Lord has entrusted to them always mindful of the fact that they are but mere stewards of the souls today and that the Almighty One is the ultimate and eternal commander. So borrowing from the acronym I mentioned previously the “beans” that the shepherd must be concerned with is if his/ her flock is being cared for temporally (physically and emotionally). Are there members of the local Church in need? Has someone suffered hardships and needs the support of the shepherd and or the flock in general? Does the individual soul or family need support to deal with loss or emotional issues? These questions and potential problems not only effect the short range effectiveness and vitality of the local Church but if not treated can lead to spiritual ramifications in which the soul(s) leave the flock and could fall victim to the wolves in the non Christian world. The administrator would be concerned for the logistical issues with the “beans” however so should the leader- both have a responsibility to God as shepherds and as Christians to feed the poor, cloth the naked and give comfort to the afflicted.[4]
The shepherd must be concerned with basic war fighting[5] strategies and give his/ her flock the tools (the “bullets”) to engage the enemy who after all is a master strategist though he is the father of lies. The battle as St Paul tells us is ‘not one of flesh and blood’ (though history does show in the blood of the martyrs that a pound of flesh is exacted from the Bride of Christ occasionally) ‘but of principalities and powers’[6]. The “bullets” then that we Christians use and must be trained to use are the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) and our prayers. In treating the use of prayer as a potent weapon I remember the axiom of praying for our enemies and to pray unceasingly. We study the Word of God and we constantly spend regular time in prayer so that when God needs to use us we are prepared. As the archer prepares the arrows[7] to be used at just the proper time so to do we study the Divine Word and encounter God in prayer while constantly rending our hearts to remove impurities and sin so that we too may be one of those polished arrows that the Almighty One places in His quiver. The shepherd be they gifted with leadership or administration must therefore move “Dei populus”[8] (“God’s people”) into a constant state of conversion where by they study with greater zeal and pray with greater love so that they may be ready at anytime to engage the enemy of souls. The leader in this aspect would be concerned with the vision of the faith community and in achieving the marked goals set forth. The leader must be just as concerned with the individual progression of a soul as with the spiritual objectives of the people God has gathered for Himself. Conversely the administrator keeping in mind the overall mission must be concerned with the daily operation of the Christian community/ individual soul to guarantee that the mission is not compromised due to mismanagement of the seemingly mundane details. Both roles are vital in the operation of the community and in the stewardship of the souls under his/ her charge[9]. The leader might have programs or initiatives while the administrator would handle the task management of one or many programs. One gift it seems builds upon the other and visa versa.
Lest we forget who is the enemy[10] and the potential tragic consequences[11] of our failure to exercise the gift of administration or leadership we must constantly remind ourselves of the very serious nature of the mission before us. Far too frequently the person gifted with administration can fall into the trap set by the evil one of over management and single minded task orientated administration and fail to set vision for the flock entrusted to him/ her. Administration with out the constant influx of vision from the Eternal One is simply basic business management as one would see in the secular world. The administrator focuses so much on the tasks of daily administration that he/ she fails to shepherd. Ministry quickly becomes a business and lack the flowing fire of the Holy Spirit which emblazes the soul to new possibilities in evangelization and the Divine vision for the community. This over administration by the person gifted by administration can manifest it self in what Segundo Galilea refers[12] to as the demon of activism[13] and is dangerous to the soul of the minister and the flock entrusted to him/ her. On more of a psychological/ spiritual perspective the activism takes root in the perfectionism and false pride[14] of the individual. The evil one who Christian tradition tells us personally tempts each soul strikes at the soul of the administrator burying them in meetings/ tasks and paperwork. Eventually though the administrator is successful in his or her business affairs the sin of a false pride creeps in and then lacking the Divine vision tasks and souls that were under the charge of the minister gifted with administration begin to fall like leaves from an autumn tree. Even skilled business administration lacking the Divine infusion pales in comparison to Divinely infused administration which transforms souls, organizations and individual Churches. We do not need another skilled business administrator in the Christian world but Divinely infused administrators who are connected to the quiet movements[15] of the Holy Spirit.
Conversely the leader must be ever vigilant to not under manage or over delegate tasks to others with only vision for the community in mind. While the minister gifted with leadership may have great vision for a community and can delegate tasks they must always insure that projects are met in detail through periodic examinations and reevaluations. Many a battle has been lost by leaders with great battle skills and vision yet without the needed logistical support in the day to day operation of the battle force. Battles and wars are won through strategic vision and planning and in strategic logistics one without the other leads inevitably to the loss of troops. In the case of the spiritual warfare[16] which the minister and all Christians fight the loss of troops is the loss of souls. The minister gifted with spiritual leadership falls and causes other souls to fall in this instance through a ‘demon of messianism’[17] in which vision becomes one of what the individual minister desires and not what the Holy Will deigns for the community. Again the root of this false and fatal spirit finds itself in pride[18] and in the lack of prudence and discernment on the part of the minister. It is a very easy trap to fall into for any Christian leader and one should not be overly critical when the minister steps into this trap[19]. The counter balance for this is similar to the counter balance for the administrator prayer, detachment and examination of the daily operation of the ministry short term objectives.
I am increasingly becoming aware that regardless of the special gift given by God to the minister be it in administration or leadership that the minister must constantly pray for an increase[20] in the gifts of the Holy Spirit[21] that are available in superabundance[22] to all Christians. Gifts and fruits such as discernment, prudence, patience, self control ect must be increased and fully activated to help the minister better use the other gifts.
In relation to the question regarding if the administrator/ leader can carry out the task of the other my simple answer is yes with a condition. The minister regardless of which gift they have must exercise that gift and build upon it using those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit[23] which I touched upon in the previous paragraph. The minister must further challenge his or her self to recognize the areas of potential weakness[24] and use the tools which God provides[25]. Just as the Lord Jesus speaks of in the parable of the talents[26] we too as His faithful servants must build upon the gifts which we have been given so to bring glory to the King and His Kingdom. So, the administrator must first and foremost be a person of deep prayer[27] and grounded in Sacred Scripture[28] and also build up leadership traits even through secular education opportunities. Similarly the leader must be a person of prayer[29] and the Word and build up upon areas of weakness in administration skills to better guide the flock or ministry entrusted to them[30]. God many times I have found gives us tools to use that can work for His Glory that we might have other wise dismissed so that His Kingdom can be built up and His Will be manifested in others[31]. Very often the answer to the problem is before us if we only pray that we are open to the opportunities[32] with the eyes of faith.[33] Therefore, we must pray unceasingly for an increase of faith, hope and love that regardless if we have been given the gift of administration, leadership or any of the other gifts that we can bring back a bounty of souls before the Throne of God. For alas the only reward for the Christian leader or the Christian administrator should be the words of Our Merciful Savior on the final day- “'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful…”![34]




“Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,And in our souls take up your rest;Come with your grace and heavenly aidTo fill the hearts which you have made.O Comforter, to you we cry,O heavenly gift of God Most High,O fount of life and fire of love,And sweet anointing from above.You in your sevenfold gifts are known;You, finger of God's hand we own;You, promise of the Father, youWho do the tongue with power imbue.Kindle our senses from above,And make our hearts o'erflow with love;With patience firm and virtue highThe weakness of our flesh supply.Far from us drive the foe we dread,And grant us your peace instead;So shall we not, with you for guide,Turn from the path of life aside.Oh, may your grace on us bestowThe Father and the Son to know;And you, through endless times confessed,Of both the eternal Spirit blest.Now to the Father and the Son,Who rose from death, be glory given,With you, O holy Comforter,Henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.” [35]
[1] Class handout, p. 8-12, taken from David Hocking, “Be a leader people follow”, Glendale, Regal Books, 1979
[2] 1 Cor 2:10-16, 2 Cor 10:3-6
[3] ‘Combat Orders’, United States Marine Corps, Leatherneck 2007, USMC Officer Training Manuel, item 4 (a), Quantico; et al.
[4] Mt 25:33-46; Mt 22: 37-40; et al.
[5] 2 Cor 10:3-6: “On the Priesthood”, St John Chrysostom, Book IV, A.D. 347-407; et al
[6] Eph 6:10-17
[7] Ps 45:5-8; Ps 7:8
[8] 1 Peter 2:9-10
[9] Gen 18:19
[10] “On the power of demons”, Homilies I-III, St John Chrysostom, A.D. 347-407
[11] Gal 4:4-11
[12] “Temptation and Discernment”, Segundo Galilea, ICS Publications, 1996, Washington DC.
[13] Ibid, p. 25-26
[14] James 4:6-10, Ps 73
[15] 1 Kings 19:9-13
[16] “The Spiritual Combat”, Lorenzo Scupoli, Sophia Institute Press, original publication 1589; “Spiritual Combat Revisited”, Jonathon Robinson, Ignatius Press, 2003
[17] “Temptation and Discernment”, p. 23-24
[18] James 4:6-10, Ps 73
[19] Heb 10:32,35-39
[20] Lk 11:13
[21] 1 Cor 14; 1 Cor 12;
[22] 2 Cor 4:7-18
[23] “On the Holy Spirit”, “Book II”, St. Ambrose, A.D. 340-397; “On the Holy Spirit”, St Gregory of Nysa, circa A.D. 385;
[24] 2 Cor 13:4-9
[25] Heb 6:7-8
[26] Mt 25:14-30
[27] Philp 4:4-9
[28] James 1:22-25, Ps 119:105-112
[29] Philp 4:4-9
[30] 2 Tim 4:1-5; Philp 1:27
[31] Mt 19:26
[32] James 2:17-20
[33] Mt 9:29
[34] Mt 25:21,23
[35] “Veni Creator Spiritus”, attributed to Rabanus Maurus, A.D. 776-856. (A traditional Pentecost hymn.)
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