sight of most congregants. Even more to the point, folks tend to underappreciate "administration" as a ministry because its aims appear so thoroughly secular. This may be why administration and management are among the most underdeveloped skills in professional ministry, and why the seminarians I teach about UU ministerial leadership practically boil out of their seats to ask "why hasn't anyone told us about all of this!?"
At the same time, lay leaders can feel mired in everyday church management issues, and sometimes wonder how their church work began to feel so much like...work. Church administration without Spirit is indeed just work by another name.
This is where Victoria's genius observation hints at the deep spiritual dimensionality of congregational leadership. Meaning is being negotiated every time people come together around a common purpose. Values are always being prioritized and practiced. The soulful question at the heart of congregational leadership - the essence that makes it different from secular pursuits - is what meaning will we make, and which values will we serve?
Church administration is genuine religious leadership when that meaning and those values are offered a prominent place with Spirit at the staff or board meeting table. The simplest spiritual practices - prayer, lectio divina, singing, sharing testimonials, silence - can alchemize everyday acts of administration into holy practice.
But the secular substance of management and administration can only be transformed through practice, which is why spiritual discipline is required. Depth doesn't descend on church staff meetings just because someone reads opening words. Deeper meaning emerges when people actively practice going deep together. Every moment a board, committee or staff team shares spiritual practice, however modest, and every time they cast their work in terms of meaning making and values living, is a holy moment. Administration - also known as everyday life in institutional form - is redeemed from meaninglessness by this sacred effort.