In a previous post, we talked about how we should never delegate before taking the time to train, and some of the problems that arise if we forget to follow that rule. There are a couple of other issues to consider before we start training a staff member, ministry leader or other volunteer.
The first of these issues deals with us, the pastor or leader who is planning on handing over a task or ministry to another person. We have to make sure that we have prepared ourselves to let go.
We are always eager to move projects from our to-do lists and ministries from our job description, but we rarely seek to give up control of those projects or ministries. We frequently impose our dreams, desires and description on a what we given away.
What does that mean, to “impose our dreams, desires and description” onto someone else’s work? What does that look like?
It means when I need a youth pastor, I interview and hire a young man to be the youth pastor, but I frequently tell him how I did youth in the past and how I think the youth ministry should and what I think should be done during the youth meetings.
When I designate a worship team leader, I call her on Friday night to tell her to find songs to match my sermon topic, or that I’m going to lead worship this Sunday.
It shows up when I delegate or hire someone to oversee a new design for a logo, webpage or ministry space, and then constantly interfere with his work, bending him towards a slightly modified version of what was there, instead of something new and fresh.
We have to prepare ourselves to let go of what we designate. That means:
- Be prepared to receive something different from what you would have done. Unless you’ve cloned yourself to do the work you don’t want or don’t have the time to do, you will not get what you would have created. Because of this one point, all the rest follow.
- Be prepared to receive something you don’t like. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it won’t work. Use it to continue dialogue (because you’ve hopefully started with dialogue). If you aren’t part of the target audience, like unsaved 12 to 15 year-olds, it doesn’t have to appeal to you.
- Be prepared to support the one doing the work. There will always be those who think that you should have chosen a different person, given them more boundaries, or just plain don’t like what was produced. You chose this person, with his/her vision and skill set, for a reason. Don’t let someone else talk you out of it.
- Be prepared to lose the credit. You may have chosen the right person for the right project, but you didn’t do the work. Give that person the credit they deserve.
- Be prepared to follow up. Too often we designate a project, see it completed, and then believe that we don’t have to talk about it anymore. That may be true of a deeper relationship between pastor and team leader, but – especially in a new relationship – follow up is crucial to the future success of that person’s work on the team. Talk about what went right on the project, what the challenges were, how it was received generally and by the target audience. Help ensure that this was not just a productive time, but a learning time as well.
- Be prepared to give it away again. If you’ve delegated a task or ministry once and seen success, why take it away from them? You’ve just started releasing a man or woman of God into ministry. If you’ve followed up and given them the credit for success, the rest of your team will expect that person to continue in the role. In most cases, that person will come to you in the future asking to complete a similar task. Give it to them.