Local church management of development initiatives : a reflection on five management processes.
Faith-based development initiatives often experience difficulties with efficiency and sustainability. While there are a number of reasons for this, one of the more common reasons is poor management. This study therefore presents a contemporary approach to management, the Management Process Approach, and discusses its relevance for faith-based development work. Because Christians sometimes resist the idea of applying management principles and practices, some of the reasons often given in resistance are addressed. It is acknowledged, however, that secular theory cannot be applied unquestioningly. The extent to which this theory allows for the actualisation of the Christian principles of love, justice, stewardship, humility and dignity is suggested as a useful measure by which the appropriateness of management theory for faith-based development initiatives can be determined. This study investigates four real faith-based development initiatives in relation to the four processes in the Management Process Approach. These processes are planning, organising, leading and controlling. In addition, a fifth process, financing, is included, since this is such a vital and often problematic issue in development work in general that it requires special attention. No empirical data is presented since no hypothesis is being tested. Rather, this study introduces and illustrates the possibility of using management theory to increase the effectiveness of faith-based development initiatives. However, some general suggestions and recommendations, drawn from the theory and case studies, are presented in the final chapter. The ultimate conclusion states that while management theory certainly does have much to teach managers of faith-based development initiatives, a Christian manager should never become so concerned about following the rules set out in management textbooks that he neglects the God whom he serves, and thus fails to uphold Christian principles in his daily interactions with people.