The Church Bureaucracy

Speaker: Categories: Nov 12, 1994


This lecture has only one CD/MP3

[1hr, 9min, 21sec]


When is a structure top-heavy? When is it non-functional or unduly limited in function? When is such a structure deemed unsafe or no longer fulfilling its original purpose? Who should be or who is responsible for determining the answers to such questions? What factors might prompt an investigation, a more political and analytic look, to determine the integrity of the system (structure)? To what extent are solutions likely to be reactive rather than proactive or creative?

Dr. Edmund Jones, who recently retired as pastor of the Lancaster Seventh-day Adventist Church (Southern California Conference) after having served in that posting for eighteen years, has given thought to the questions suggested above. He notes, "My thoughts on this subject were stimulated by the financial crisis in the Southern California Conference in 1992. To some extent this crisis extends to many local conferences across North America even to this day." [Editor’s note: It certainly extends to Southeastern California Conference even to this day, as well.]

When the crisis became evident in Southern, Dr. Jones observes further, "The immediate reaction was to cut back on pastoral staff. In some cases districts of two or more churches were formed. Since the funds to support the entire church bureaucracy come from the local church, I believe the care and nurture of the local church is paramount."

Would you agree? What changes or responses have you observed in the conference where you live? Has it affected your church? How do you feel about it?


A native of Arkansas earning his B. A. degree from Oklahoma City University with majors in Biology and Education, Edmund Jones earned his Ph.D. degree from California Graduate School of Theology (Glendale, CA.) in 1974. He has worked as a printer, a teacher, a treasurer and Book and Bible House manager, evangelist, and pastor. In June, 1992, he retired from ministry after forty years of service which included pastoring the Hollywood SDA Church, 1966-74, and the Lancaster (CA) SDA Church, 1974-92. He is a renaissance man with such interests as ham radio (K7CPA) and piloting private airplanes. Though retired, he continues to be active in ministry through spiritual renewal seminars and Sabbath morning guest speaking appointments.

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