Delegation is a risky business, but burnout is an even riskier.  When I first started in ministry, delegation was a great way to get rid of all the stuff I did not want to do.  Of course, some of that stuff was stuff I needed to do and some of it was stuff no one wanted to do.  Nevertheless, I soon realized that when I delegated to another I was still held responsible for the actions of another.  For example, if I delegated the responsibility of planning a lock-in to a group of college students with little oversight, then I could usually count on a long deacons meeting in the week to come.  I learned that I was held responsible for the actions of those whom I delegated responsibility.  My knee jerk reaction to this poor delegation was a season of doing everything myself.  I did not trust anyone to do the work of the ministry.  I stopped equipping others and started piling on the work. After all, I thought, I am the only one I trust with real responsibility.  I remained on this course for quite some time until I began to buckle under the pressure of a growing family ministry.  Burnout was around the corner and delegation again whispered my name. I shared my dilemma with a fellow pastor friend and he gave me some helpful tips on delegating responsibly.

I concluded that their was a difference between delegating irresponsibly and delegating responsibly. The former was a high risk business yielding an unpredictable and damaging product and the latter was low risk and produced great fruit. The ultimate end for the non-delegator is a life filled with mounting stress, pride, and eventual burnout.

Here are some helpful tips for delegating.

  1. Consider YOUR Contribution. (There are some things only you can and should uniquely do…like being the primary communicator in your ministry.
  2. Know Your Role. (Be familiar with the role of a pastor/church leader in the context of how your church really works)
  3. Pray for Leaders. (Spend time asking God to open your eyes to potential leaders in your church.)
  4. Know your Team. (Take time to get to know the spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personalities, and experiences of your leadership team)
  5. Delegate Rightly. (Ask the Right person–based on who they are, to do the Right job–based on their skill set,  at the Right Time–when they are ready)
  6. Delegate Responsibly. (Be clear about expectations and tasks–write them down)
  7. Follow Up Frequently. (Inspect what you Expect)

Just remember, when you delegate, delegate responsibly.





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