Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Delegation in the Ministry

Do this real quick. Google "Bible delegation" and you'll get over 2,000,000 hits. So I'm not going to write what the Bible says about delegation and what lessons we can learn from different Bible people. Instead, here are some things I learned about delegation in the ministry.

Let go of fear.
When I first started delegating, I was scared things won't go the right way. Then I realized that I was scared things won't go my way. I had to let go of that fear and that pride. It's not my way that has to unfold. It's not even my leaders' ways. It's God's way. When I wasn't scared of what will or might happen, I saw how creative and innovative my leaders were. I saw how God was using them for His way. It was awesome!

Be available.
Delegating doesn't mean you micro-manage and it certainly doesn't mean you disappear. I learned to remind my leaders that I'm only a phone call or text or FB message or email or face-to-face away. I'm there if they need me. I answer their questions, remind them of deadlines, or inform them of any changes in the church schedule that might affect what they're planning.

Give guidelines
I learned that I need to give my leaders guidelines. For example, I would put a leader in charge of Fathers' Day. I tell him/her what needs to be planned and the budget, if any. I remind my leaders to check out our resource cabinet before buying anything, to get what they're going to buy approved first, and to save their receipts. If needed, I point them to places where they can find craft or activity ideas. I also give them lesson options, if applicable.

If lessons are needed, I get more involved because I'm very cautious to make sure that lessons are Biblically sound and agrees with our doctrines.

Give them a little push.
Sometimes, it's not you refusing to let go. It's them! Imagine a baby bird learning to fly. It wants to, but it holds back. But it will never fly without leaving the nest. Sometimes my leaders need a little push.

You can do it! Think about it. What do you think? What are your options? What do you want to do? Have I told you that you can do it? Well, you can!

Thank them. Appreciate them. Encourage them.
People need this. When working with volunteers, this is especially important. When you're in charge, sometimes you would get the praise for a job well done even if you delegated the event. I make sure to point to my leaders. Make sure you don't take credit for their work. In the ministry, all credit goes to God anyway. But God uses the people around you and they need to know they made a difference. So if a praise was given, say something like, "Praise the Lord! I'm glad you were blessed. God used Jane to plan it all. She was very creative with the theme!"

Give them feedback.
I make sure to give my leaders feedback if needed. We're establishing our Toddlers' Class. I rotate teaching with a young leader who was my TA in the Preschool Class. She stepped up to teach, and one Sunday she taught on her own (with her own Teacher's Aid) for the first time. The lesson theme was "God Made Me," but the story also brought in the other things God made (everything). My co-teacher hand drew this great coloring page of the solar system. I really liked it, but it was not age-appropriate to the Toddlers. So I told her how great it was and that it would work better for older age groups. Then I quickly gave her info on Toddlers' worldviews and what they can understand, giving her examples of real kids in her life. It was like a lightbulb went on and she got it. It was quick feedback that we can build on at a later training session.

Give them feedback. Be positive. Relate it to something they know. And build on it later if needed. But give feedback so they can improve themselves.

Watch them grow.
One of the things I gained from delegating in the ministry was watching my leaders grow. I love delegating them to emcee the events they planned. They get scared and anxious because public speaking is a big deal to many people. But there's something about being in front of the entire church, on the altar, behind the pulpit (we don't actually have a pulpit anymore), and on the stage. It's not just public speaking that weighing down on you, it's the pressure of representing God in front of others.

Maybe I'm a little cruel for doing that to my leaders, but I've been amazed at how they've grown. I've seen the same leaders who cowered before rise up and actually lead! Some have even gone on to preach! Like I said. Some need the right push in order to fly. You've got to be sensitive to their spiritual giftings though, as well as their capabilities and their potential.

Have a little faith.
During VBS, I put one of my leaders in charge of the snacks area. It's her first time leading by herself. She had to plan the snacks, prepare the materials, and buy what was needed. I've known her for years and I trust her, but I wasn't sure of her financial abilities. I stepped out in faith anyway. I gave her guidelines, a budget, and the money. And she did amazing! Her mom even thanked me for giving her the opportunity because she took it very seriously. She planned it all down on paper, had the costs, had a running total, divided the materials so they last several days, and was just so responsible. I knew she's capable of so many things, but she showed us that she can exceed what we saw in her.

Sometimes, you just need a little faith in people. Don't be careless, of course, especially when money is involved. But don't be cynical either. People can surprise you.

Have high standards/Aim for excellence
I strongly believe that people in the ministry are held to higher standards of...well, everything. And when you delegate, you need to hold your leaders or volunteers to high standards, to excellence. Some leaders think that their volunteers are doing them a favor. They're putting so much into the ministry already, so [insert action here] is okay. It's not. Essentially, what we all do in the ministry is not for us. It's for God and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

God will raise and put in place the right people to help you in the ministry, so don't be scared that people will walk away if you expect more from them. Don't overwork them like ministry minions, but hold them to higher standards, hold them to excellence. This is for God anyway, so why wouldn't we give our best?

I've been in the ministry for over 10 years, and I've been through moments when the absolute best was expected and when no expectation was communicated. The former had better outcomes. When a challenged is issued, there are people who rise up to it and people who leave. Like when Jesus taught the hard stuff, some followers deserted Him. Those who stayed ended up doing amazing things. Aim for excellence, and if people leave, it's okay. God will provide. And for those that stayed, watch out for how God will use them.

Don't be afraid to delegate in the ministry. There are wonderful things that can happen. Be open to what God will do.

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