Journal of Christian Ministry | Church Administration – Book Review

Church Administration – Book Review

Church Administration – Book Review


Church Administration:
Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry (2nd Edition)
Robert M. Welch
Nashville, TN, Broadman and Holman, 2011,
309 pages, $29.99, softcover
Reviewed by Kenneth H. Mayton, Ed.D.,
Director, Doctor of Ministry Program
Oral Roberts University
Graduate School of Theology and Ministry
Tulsa Oklahoma

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This book might just as well be titled, 'Almost Everything You Need to Know About Church Administration.'
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This is not designed to be a book on the shelf, but a book for everyday use. It is not so much designed to be read as it is to be used – it is more of a tool. It could be better described as a handbook, manual or encyclopedia and is designed for practitioners of church ministry.

The sub-title describes the nature of this volume—“Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry.” It is a second edition – an updated version of a well-known and well-used book. It is filled with resources to assist anyone involved in administration, including D.Min. Directors.

It is authored by Robert H. Welch (Ph.D., M.A.R.E.) a retired professor of Administration and Hugh Seborn Simpson Chair of Administration in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is presently Chairman of the Christian Education Division and Professor of Church Administration at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. His book indicates expertise in both academics and church settings.

I find the coverage of the subject to be comprehensive. Titles of the chapters indicate the book’s thoroughness: Introduction; Basics for Administration; Documents, Organizing the Church. Chapters 5-12 look at the key facets of the subject; (each begins with “Administering…: Personnel; Resources; Financial Resources; The Office; Risk Management; Planning; Programs; Support.”)

This work is probably more geared to M.Div. students in ministry preparation than D.Min. students. It is definitely textbook quality. For leadership and management type courses, it is a great review. Professors in courses dealing with this subject could find great ideas along with charts and graphs.

Each chapter begins with a reference from Scripture. The author’s connection to Scripture indicates his biblical/theological context to be Evangelical (Southern Baptist). The chapters end with an excellent review of the content.

There are many strong points throughout. I appreciated that the book was laid out in a very academic style with objectives clearly stated (p. 5) for the leadership of the administration’s responsibilities of the church. He includes many examples, forms, descriptions, etc., including a brief case study (p. 36). I found the definition sections to be both academic and practical; for example, Introduction to Management with a description of the various theories (pp. 7-13). The Dynamics of Leadership (pp. 38-46) chapter is superb. The chapters reveal an overview of Biblical, Theological and Practical Issues. His work on church polity was excellent.