Essential Skill #5
The Art of Delegation
As the ministry grows the necessity of delegation grows as well. The need for delegation arises when we reach our natural and spiritual limitations. When a ministry becomes more complex, a point is reached where the leader is no longer able to cope with every aspect of the ministry on their own, realizing that neither time nor their own efforts are adequate to meet the needs of the people they are leading. Before this point is reached a plan for delegation should already be in place.
The inability or unwillingness to delegate to others can stall ministry growth and produce burnout in the senior leaders. This is a common mistake that small ministries make and many times it is the reason they stay small.
A great analogy for delegation is, “the ability to score without touching the ball.” Learning to accomplish things through others involves the skill of delegation and it is an imperative part of effective leadership.
The Art of Delegation begins with self-awareness and an honest assessment of our own limitations. Identifying the areas where we are weak will help us target the right people with the right graces and abilities to compliment the ministry. No one likes to admit they have areas of weakness, but the reality is we all have them.
An honest self-assessment can be difficult and usually requires the input and feedback of other leaders and peers. If you are married, your spouse can be a huge asset in this department. The point is, don’t just trust your own point of view because your perspective can often be filled with blind spots. We all have blind spots and we need others to help us see from a broader point of view. The need for delegation is often a blind spot with many leaders.
In Exodus 18 we see a powerful example of the need to delegate. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he came to a point where Jethro, his father-in-law, had to point out his need to delegate responsibilities. Moses was sincere, but the need to delegate was his blind spot.
Exodus 18:13-23 And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”
Bearing the burden of ministry yourself is never God’s plan. As individuals we are not capable, even with God’s help, to fulfill all He has called us to do. We are called to community and relationships. Every part of the body has a role to play, a function and purpose that will help edify the body as a whole.
Every leader must come to the realization that he needs to surround himself with solid relationships that he can share the load of ministry with. This is the only way to fulfill God’s plan.
There is a powerful truth in Ephesians 4 that will help us understand this.
Ephesians 4:16 – From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.
A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. It is the RELATIONSHIP between the parts.
A healthy joint causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be.
It is the relationships between the parts that bring the needed supply for ministry growth. If relationships are healthy, every part in place effectively working and doing its share, growth and edification in love is the result.
This is why it is so important to be deliberate and intentional about who you delegate to. Maintaining a healthy relationship with those to whom you delegate is essential for success.
Some Guidelines for delegation:
Make an effort to delegate responsibilities early to avoid unnecessary pressure. This avoids undo stress on the leader and sets up the person you are delegating to for success. Waiting until things get to the point of neglect makes it difficult on everyone involved.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ~ John C. Maxwell ~
Ensure that the person has the character to represent the ministry and the time to take on the responsibility. Before sending them out to tackle the new responsibility, make sure the person has all the training and resources needed to succeed.
“Delegate to people who are better than you and let them do the work. Look for people who will aim for excellence and not settle for anything less than the remarkable.”
Be clear and specific on what is expected. Give information on what, why, when, who and where, but leave the “how” to them. Don’t be too concerned about how it gets done, but that it gets done right and on time. Confirm and verify goals and expectations on a regular basis and get updates on progress. This gives you an opportunity to give needed feedback and encouragement.
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton ~
Giving people the authority to make certain decisions, use their own creativity, and even recruit others to help accomplish the task allows the person to take ownership of the responsibility and shows that you value their opinions and trust their judgement. This helps maintain a healthy relationship and grooms them for leadership.
It is frustrating to be given a task and no authority to make decisions on how it gets done. Micro-managing every task you delegate will run people off and prevent you from building a strong leadership team. The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.
“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” ~ Craig Groeschel ~ Founder of Life Church
Evaluate results more than methods. Celebrate the wins and give credit where credit is due. Analyze the cause of any insufficient performance but don’t be too quick to take a project back. Rather, continue to work with the person and ensure they understand the project to be their responsibility. Give advice on ways to improve and be willing to be a resource yourself. This sends a message that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed. This approach inspires people and ensures dependability.
“No Leader will build a great ministry that wants to do it all themselves or take all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie ~
Delegation is one of the most essential requirements for a successful ministry. It is the key to fulfilling God’s vision with excellence and provides an opportunity for others to develop their skills and abilities, gaining enough competence to fill higher positions in case of need.
Every person we lead has amazing, God given gifts and talents. Delegation is a great way for people to function and develop in their gifts. This promotes growth in the individual and brings healthy challenges that stretch their faith and empowers them for Kingdom use.
“The greatest leaders are those who empower others.”
Question: What are two reasons that delegation is important?
Question: Why is self-awareness important when delegating responsibilities?
Question: What are two areas you are weak in?
Question: Can you name three guidelines for delegation?
Question: What was Moses “blind spot” in Exodus 18?
I look in the mirror and what do I see?
The answer is always illusive to me.
I see all my failures and mistakes that I made,
And then I remember the price Jesus paid.
My sin He has covered and though it seems strange,
He died on the cross for a wondrous exchange.
My sins He did bear when I had naught to give,
He then made me righteous that through Him I’d live.
My struggle to see past the person I’ve been
Is now a good fight that I know I can win.
He’s done all the work, this I perceive,
Now all that is left is for me to believe.
One of the hardest things we will ever do in our prayer life is …NOTHING! Ok, nothing isn’t quite the word we are looking for. Silent Waiting is a better way to say it.
Waiting in silence, expecting God to reveal Himself to us, is a powerful and fruitful endeavor. Quietly meditating on who He is and what He has spoken to us in His word or by His Spirit is an amazing exercise of our faith and is very pleasing to our Father.
Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
The Good Shepherd, by the Holy Spirit, is always trying to lead us to a place of peace and stillness. It is a place of refreshing and restoration. It is a place to find direction and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Waiting on God renews our strength.
The practice of silent meditation upon God and His word fills up our spiritual gas tanks and empowers us to run well.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
It is in the Stillness that God is known. Reading God’s word and listening to preaching and teaching helps us to know about God, but spending time in His presence is what we need to actually know Him intimately. God is raising up a people in this generation that will live life from the outflow of His presence, rather than merely living by the principles in His word.
“In our stillness before Him, He prepares us to host His presence.”
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
“Silently waiting on God anchors our soul.”
When life throws us a curve ball, when things get tough and it seems like we are pressed on every side with problems, difficulties and even attacks of the enemy. Silently waiting on God and thinking about His goodness, His greatness, His faithfulness and His amazing love for us gives us strength to stand in faith and trust in His tender mercies and his power to deliver us out of all our troubles.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,
Quietness and stillness should be practiced individually and corporately to keep us from trusting in the world and its systems. The Lord is speaking through Isaiah a strong word of correction to His people for trusting in Egypt for their strength and salvation instead of Him. Unfortunately, they would not have it.
In this age of distractions and constant movement it is vitally important that we practice stillness in God’s presence.
“Peace is the frequency of God. We must tune in to this channel of stillness to hear the still small voice of the Spirit.”
What kind of tree am I anyway?
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.
Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.
If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.
The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”
When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”
We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.
Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.
So the question is: What has God said about us?
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.
God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.
How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.
The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.
When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.
Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.
Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”
This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.
In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.
So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom
“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C. H. Spurgeon
Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.” – Joyce Meyer
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa
“To get the nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” – Billy Graham
“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.” Andrew Murray
“The fewer the word the better the prayer.” – Martin Luther
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. – Matthew 6:7 (NKJV)
It has always been God’s plan to operate through man when dealing with the affairs of the earth. The earth is owned by God, and always has been. But, He gave man control over the earth for a season, to govern and take dominion. God gave man authority over the earth. Man gave away this authority to the devil, bringing sin and death to creation, separating us from God, and cutting us off from our birthright as sons of God.
Jesus Christ has abolished the things that separate us from God, restored our birthright, our authority on the earth, and our ability to take dominion over the power of darkness and destroy the works of the devil. We have a responsibility to exercise and execute this restored authority so that God’s plans and purposes for the earth can be fulfilled.
1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Prayer is simply man exercising his legal authority on earth to invite God’s influence on the planet. Because God will not violate man’s will or His own word, God waits for man to pray so that he can act on our behalf. Prayer is not optional. It is essential for the fulfillment of God’s purpose on the earth. Prayer gives God the right to intervene in man’s affairs.
In the Garden, Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. This is our model for prayer, walking with God. Getting to know Him, discussing man’s mission, his stewardship, his fruitfulness, his potential. Man gets in trouble when he’s not there to meet with God and pray. Adam’s sin, and his new felt shame, guilt, and condemnation made him run and hide from God. This is the response of a sin conscious mind. Though Jesus has restored us all, like Adam, many are still silent and hiding.
The greatest aspect of prayer is our ability to be with Him. He is our Father and we must know Him as such. Let nothing keep us from approaching Him in prayer. If we want God to act on our behalf we must pray.