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How To Delegate

Some church members expect their pastors to be supermen. They must be preacher, leader, business manager, caring pastor, active community member, and more. Of course, the standard is often impossibly high. The wise pastor can multiply his ministry by involving others in working toward the mission of the church.

Delegating to Paid Staff Members

In many churches the pastor leads a staff team. It is reasonable that he should delegate to the church staff.
Before delegation occurs, the pastor and staff members must have covenanted together to (1) do the work of the church, (2) be committed to one another in a relationship of trust, and (3) be committed to personal growth in the love of Christ.
Delegating to staff members should be based on job descriptions that give staff members a sense of confidence in areas of responsibility. Since the pastor is the leader of the church, the job descriptions should be developed with the pastor as supervisor. Larger staffs may be organized with different levels of staff supervision, but the pastor is the leader of the church staff.
Reporting and evaluation must also be practiced if delegating is to be effective. Weekly staff meeting, or team meeting, is a good time for reporting and evaluation.
Some pastors find delegation difficult. Delegation is a skill that must be learned and practiced. Here are a few attitudes to be overcome.

Inability to let go.
In a small but growing church the pastor has always led the Sunday School. As the church grows and the need for a minister of education becomes apparent, the pastor may resist letting someone else lead the Sunday School.

Lack of confidence.
If the pastor doubts the competency of the staff, he may find it easier to do the task himself. It would be better for the pastor to equip and train the staff member.

Fear of competition.
Most pastors have inside them a desire to achieve. Some pastors don't delegate because they want to look good in comparison to the staff.

Lack of time.
It's ironic, but true. Some pastors decide, It would be quicker to do this myself than to teach someone else to do it. Yes, growing people takes time, but it is a worthwhile investment.
Tips for Successful Delegating to Staff Members or Volunteers
Secure mutual agreement. Determine the task to be done and how accountability will be carried out.

Seek the right person.
An effective delegator will match people with tasks. Consider the skills and abilities of the person, but don't forget to pray.

Seek to motivate.
Use encouragement freely. Publicly acknowledge those who are doing a good job.
Develop understanding. Make sure what is delegated is fully understood. Give clear, simple instructions.

Allow for mistakes.
The person who makes no mistakes is not attempting anything challenging or worthwhile. Hold volunteers and staff members accountable, but allow for inevitable mistakes.

Encourage initiative.
Growing, gifted, skilled people will enjoy taking some initiative in new actions. Encourage this in those to whom you delegate.

Be persistent.
Don't give up on the person to whom authority is delegated. Bless them with enough time to find their way and succeed.

Expect results.
No need to apologize. If you have enough confidence in people to delegate a task to them, let them know that you expect them to succeed.
(Adapted from Brooks Faulkner, Getting on Top of Your Work, A Manual for the 21st-century Minister).

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