Are you a one-man-band when it comes to team leadership? Do you perform all the duties while the members of your team sit on the sidelines? The expression “delegate or die” rings true for everyone who’s ever been a ministry leader.
The lack of delegation is the number one cause of leader burn-out. It’s a skill that can make or break a leader’s effectiveness and ministry success. Let’s first understand the meaning of delegation.
Delegation can be described as sharing ministry by enabling people to serve the church and community on behalf on an ongoing ministry team, a specific project, or an event. It’s not dumping a responsibility on someone and abandoning them to complete the task alone. By delegating we spread out ministry functions but support the person serving so ministry is shared as a team rather than a lone ranger approach.
In a team ministry setting, this means that each member of the team has ownership in the group, and supports its mission and functionality. So the question becomes-—how are you going to make that happen?
In order to decide which ministry roles and functions of your team can be delegated, determine what:
Can be… Which items can be given to a team member to perform? As the team leader there may be some responsibilities that you just can’t pass to others. This may include items such as casting the vision, enforcing a covenant, or providing accountability. Examine the ministry functions you are doing on a weekly basis and determine which items can be taken off your plate.
Should be…Which items are you doing now that should be delegated to someone else? When I was first married my wife questioned why she was the one who always provided the dessert at my team meetings. Explaining that it was because I was the leader didn’t seem to fly. It was an ah-ha moment in understanding that others needed to be included in this responsibility. When we take on a ministry role that can be filled by someone else, we deny that individual their joy of serving. Every task, no matter how small, can be an opportunity for someone to experience ministry, grow in leadership responsibility, and develop their skills, gifts, and abilities.
Must be… Which ministry functions are you doing now that must be delegated to someone to prevent burnout? A pastor once shared he was spending 12 hours each week making shut-in calls which did not a match his gifts, training, or interest. It kept him from serving in his sweet spot, which was mentoring new leaders. There may be times when you function in a ministry role out of necessity—-and have to make the dessert!—-but with the understanding that it’s short term until someone who’s a better match steps in.
Would help…Which roles or tasks would you like to remove from your plate to help you be more focused on your primary role? 80% of your time should be spent doing ministry that matches your gifting. That’s what will energize you. If you start spending more than 20% of your time doing the things that do not align with your passion and gifts, you’ll be drained of energy.
The temptation is to only delegate the insignificant tasks that no one enjoys doing. We often want to make ourselves the “doers of all significant things” and leave the fluff to others. When we empower our teams to do real ministry we begin the process of developing an equipping church.
Take a look at the services you provide each week and apply these filters to examine where you need to delegate, and where you need to focus. The result may surprise you!