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 in the midst of our first Christmas season in a new pastorate. This week my wife spent an extra day or two buying and arranging decorations for the church. Last night we had our midweek Bible study, and many were glad to see the sanctuary looking so nice.
While I appreciated their joy at the decorations, a comment was relayed that broke my pastoral heart. My wife was told that the church hadn’t looked so beautiful in many years. During one of the decorating days, we heard ladies in the church say that it was so refreshing to have a pastor and wife who cared about how the church looked, because the people were so used to doing it on their own.
Leadership means many things to many people. We lead through vision-casting, administration, calendar setting, ministry creation and development, staff and leadership meetings, facilitation of seminars and workshops, or even assigning a book to read as a team. I know a pastor in his early seventies who told a group of fellow pastors, “I still don’t know what leadership is.”
How many of us think to lead by caring?
Have you heard the news? When you are the “senior,” “lead,” or only pastor at your church, you do not have to do everything. Isn’t that great news?
So many of us have learned to be a jack-of-all-trades: preaching, counseling, Bible study, youth group, worship, kids’ church, home/cell/life groups, finances, building repair, janitor . . . The list can get long when you stop to put it all together. One of the loudest messages for leaders in the last several years is simply this: Do what you do best, and delegate the rest.
We’ve heard a lot about teams, teamwork, delegation of authority and responsibility, and everyone focusing on their strengths instead of dragging themselves through the mud of their weaknesses. Our offices have filled with rejoicing over the chance to work less than 80 hours a week, to spend time with our family, to enjoy life, and even to have a few hours to ourselves each week.
However, there is a key element that we can forget to implement before we delegate: training. To help us and our team members, we must learn to follow an important rule: Never delegate before taking the time to train.