I spend a lot of time worrying that I’m a bureaucrat. Sending emails, making schedules, reserving rooms, ordering food and materials: these tasks activate a voice in my head that says, “This isn’t effective. You’re pushing pencils. This isn’t even ministry.”
It’s garbage, I know. Bureaucracy is critical. How many ministry initiatives have I kneecapped before they could even start by failing to attend to these sorts of details? Too many to count. This stuff is important.
Where does that voice come from, though? I think it’s simply a cultural devaluation of work that is concerned with details and process. Nobody ever says “Bureaucrat” as a compliment, not in government or church or school or anywhere else. The implication is that the real work is done by other people, not the bureaucrats.
A friend who serves as a regional church executive listened to me on this last week and replied simply and forcefully: feed the bureaucrat.