Time Management for Church Leaders – Delegate

As we have explored all the time requirements placed on church leaders through this blog series, it is obvious that the demands may be too much for one person to accomplish with excellence.  So how can we get it all done?  A simple answer: delegate.  This is not a new leadership concept.  However, it is often overlooked in the heat of frenzied action that characterizes a church leader’s weekly schedule.  “It’ll be faster to do it myself,” is the cry of a leader desperate to achieve more for God’s Kingdom. But in the end, we find there simply is not enough time to do it all, no matter how noble our motives or how driven we are to grow the Church.  We need to find help.  We need to delegate.

How do church leaders make this much-needed delegation happen?

1) Find Reliable People.

Leaders need people who are available and can be counted on to follow through on any task or assignment they are given.  Successful delegation relies on the fact that volunteers or staff members are going to do what you’ve asked them to do.  This can take a variety of forms.  Some volunteers will be dependable but require follow up and hands-on accountability.  Others can be given a job to do, and they will do it without further assistance or instruction.  Both kinds of people are valuable and can play a big part in helping church leaders achieve their goals and mission.  Those who are not reliable, however, can actually cost the leadership more time and cause backward mobility instead of forward progress.  Leaders can learn to discern reliability over time and with some trial and error.  Finding good, reliable people to come alongside the leadership is essential and will be worth the effort to find them.

2) Find Teachable People.

Not all people who are gifted to help have the necessary skills and experience to be effective immediately.  Many have to be taught or trained before they can really lend a good and helping hand.  Those who recognize they need to learn are the most useful and the most valuable when leaders are looking for people to whom he can delegate a variety of responsibilities.  Servant-hearted people long to learn new skill sets and absorb any new knowledge.  Those are the exact people leaders want on their teams.   Those who are not teachable and consider themselves the “experts” can be a hindrance to the growth and viability of any project.  Church leaders need to find those volunteers and staff members who are willing to explore their own capabilities and who are willing to humble themselves under the appointed leadership.  Most times they will be astounded to see how much they can develop personally while in the process of helping out.  The holistic growth of their church members should be a key objective in any interaction, and especially in the delegation process.

3) Find People with Potential.

A good overall goal for any church leader is the development of future leaders to help carry the responsibility of leading the local church.  When managing time and attempting to delegate tasks to reliable, teachable people, existing leaders should consider choosing those who have leadership gifting that needs to be cultivated.  While some volunteers will be short-term helpers or assigned to only one role, there are other volunteers or church staff members who are committed to serving for the long haul.  Finding people with potential takes a special amount of discernment because those with potential may not exhibit the needed skills or expertise in the present day.  However, with training and education, those with potential can be taught to make a big impact in their area of gifting. Church leaders can seek out those loyal people who seek to learn and grow, and dedicate a portion of their time to mentoring them for future leadership.  In that way, leaders can delegate important tasks, as well as plan for the generations to come, securing a positive future for the local church and its members.  Coaching future leaders eventually saves time, as well as multiplies efforts so the church’s vision can be more effectively carried out today and in the years to come.

4) Teach, trust, and let go.

Perhaps the most challenging part of delegation is actually letting other people do the work we have given them to do.  Will they do it right?  Will they do it on time?  Will they fully understand what has to be done?  Those are all questions that plague church leaders when learning to trust others to get the job done.  But there comes a time when leaders need to trust their staff members or their volunteers and have confidence that the training and coaching they have given will be sufficient to bring delegated projects to fruition.  Leaders need to trust that God holds all their plans in His hands and that He will empower and equip those tasked with implementing these plans.  Leaders must first teach, then trust and let go, allowing those under their care to succeed or fail, all the while keeping in mind the overall goal of holistic growth of the individual.  Delegation only works when leaders actually let those helping them do the work they need to do.

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