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Why is Delegation So Difficult

Why is Delegation So Difficult

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A message by Daniel A. Brown, PhD, while he was senior pastor at The Coastlands, Aptos Foursquare Church. For more information, please visit our website at http://ctw.coastlands.org/.
A message by Daniel A. Brown, PhD, while he was senior pastor at The Coastlands, Aptos Foursquare Church. For more information, please visit our website at http://ctw.coastlands.org/.

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Published by: Daniel A. Brown, PhD on Jun 05, 2010
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Why Is Delegation So Difficult?Practical Thoughts For Church Leaders 1
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
 W 
HYIS
D
ELEGATION
S
O
D
IFFICULT
?
Practical Thoughts For Church Leaders
byDanielA.Brown,PhD
“ItistoyouradvantagethatIgoaway…”—Jesus,theSavioroftheworld
 Whenweleftourhomechurchinlate1984toplantTheCoastlands,thisscripturekeptcomingtomyheartagainandagain—alongwithasimplepropheticunderstanding:Iwastostructurethisnewchurchinsuchawaythatitfunctioned,aswellwithoutme(initsdailyoperations),asitdidwithme.Inotherwords,disciplepeople;developsystemsanddelegatesignificantresponsibilitieswithinthosesystemstothosepeople.IfJesuslefttheworldinthekeepingofhumans,itishardtojustifyaleadershipattitudethatstruggleswithentrustingchurchworktothosesamehumans.Notthatithasbeenasmoothjourney,butbetweenthebumpsandpotholes(sometimesthroughthem),Ihavelearnedafewthingsthatmighthelpyouinconfiguringyourministrysothatmorepeople(volunteersandpaidworkers)canbeinvolvedmeaningfullyintheprocess.ManypastorsandchurchleaderswithwhomIinteracthaveasubtlemisconceptionabouttheoriginofvolunteersanddisciples;pastorsprayfor volunteersratherthandevelopingthem.Leaderswaitformaturedisciplestomiraculouslyappearinchurch,forgettingthatdisciplesarenotsentfromHeavenbutmadeonEarth.
 
Why Is Delegation So Difficult?Practical Thoughts For Church Leaders 2
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
 Andthatispreciselywheremobilizinganddelegatingtopeopleinourchurchcomesintoplay.Wearedesperateformoreministryworkers,notonlyforourchurchprograms,butalsotomoreeffectivelyreachouttothesurroundingworld.CoulditbethatamercifulandkindGodisgivingusthebiggestcluesimaginable—linkingHismostbasicassignmentforuswithourmostobviousandcontinuousneed?Weneedmoreworkers;Hewantsmoredisciples.Hmmm.What wouldhappentoourthinkingifweconnectedourprimaryfrustrationwithourprimarymandate?Discipleship,likechurchitself,isaprocess,anactiveon‐goingshapingofonepersonbyanother,enablingthediscipletodevelopinwaysheorsheprobablycouldnotdevelopalone—or,atleast,notasquickly.Itsgoalisto
"perfecteverymaninChrist"(Colossians1:28),
anditsmeansincludebothpublicandprivateadmonition.Mobilizingpeople,makingdisciples,anddelegatingresponsibilitiestothosedisciplesisanengrossing,all‐engagingactivityoftheheartandofthemind.Itforcesshiftsinpriorities,timeallocationsandbasicorientationstowardsministry.Therefore,itwillrequirearethinkingofourentireapproachtoministry.
WhyIsItSoDifficultToDelegate?
 Whyisitsodifficultforpastorstodelegatesignificantworkandministrytothepeopleintheirchurches?Thereareseveralbasicreasons,anditisoftenacombinationthatgivesrisetothereluctancetoentrustprogramsandresponsibilitiestoothers.Mostofourbehaviorasleadersisunconscious,butwhat wedoanddonotdosendsunmistakablesignalstoourchurchaboutwhatwe value.Eventhoughwemighttellpeopleto
“getinvolved,volunteer,” 
wecanbesendingconflictingbehavioralsignalsthatcommunicate,
“Justkidding,we’vegoteverythingtakencareofwiththepeoplewhoarealreadyengaged.”
 Whilewerecognizetheimportanceofmobilizingincreasingnumbersofresponsibleministrypartners,werarelydoaself‐inventorytoseetowhatextent we’reunknowinglyworkingagainstthatgoal.Istheproblemexclusivelythat
“It’snearlyimpossibletofindcommittedpeople
”?Herearesomecommonreasonswhypastorsfindithardtoreplacethemselveswithpeopletheydisciple/train:
 
Pastorssincerelywanttoservethepeopleintheirchurches,andthatservant‐heartednesssometimesforgetsthatgivingothersopportunitytoserveisoneofthemostlovingthingsaleadercando.Jesusexplained
 
Why Is Delegation So Difficult?Practical Thoughts For Church Leaders 3
DanielA.Brown,PhD
ctw.coastlands.org
thatthepathwaytosignificanceisthroughtheservantsquarters.Pastorswhodonotwantto“bother”othersandaskfortheirhelpareunintentionallybarringthedoorstothoserooms.
 
Pastorsaresometimesworriedthatthedelegatedtaskwillnotget“doneright,”whichistosay,
exactlylikethepastorwouldhavedoneit
.Perhapsbecauseoffaultynotionsofauthority,somepastorshavecometoimaginethattheyreallyareauthoritiesoneverysubjectandtypeofactivityfromdecoratingtoworship,toretreatplanningtobudgeting,tographicdesign,etc.Aren’twegladGoddoesnotespouse,“Ifyouwantsomethingdoneright,doityourself”?
 
Pastorshavebeenburnedbypreviousexperienceswithdelegation,andtheyarenoteagertobedisappointedalloveragain.Itonlytakesafewdroppedballsbyvolunteerstoconditionpastorsnottotrustthequalityorquantityofothers’work.Actually,mostofthedisappointmentsindelegationhappenbecauseleaders:Miscastpeopleinunsuitablejobs;failtogiveenoughinformationorsupport;choosenottodealwithpre‐existingattitudeproblems;or,unintentionallypreventpeoplefromreallytakingownershipofthejob.
 
Manypastorsconfusedelegationwithdictation.Ifaleaderspendsallthetimetothinkajobthrough,andspellouthowitistobedone,theleaderhasalreadymissedthepointofdelegation.Jethro’sadviceforhowMosesoughttodelegateministrytootherscontainsasimple,butoftenoverlookeddetail:Letothersbethefrontline;letthembethefirsttodealwithsituations,andwhatevertheydecidetheycannothandleshouldbebroughttoMoses—nottheotherwayaround.
 
Pastorsbecometoobusytolookfordisciplesandenlistmoreworkers.Sinceittakeslonger(initially)toadequatelydelegatethanitdoestodoa jobthemselves,pastors,whoarealreadycrunchedfortimebecauseofallthethingstheyaredoingthemselves—becauseitisquicker,haveahardtimejustifyingthe“losttime”thatdelegationandfollow‐uprequire.Eventually,thechurchendsuponlyabletoproducewhatoneextremelybusyleadercanaccomplish.
 
Pastorscanfearlosingimportanceifmanyotherpeoplestartdoinglotsofgreatthings.Prideurgesleaderstokeepthecredit(therebythework)forthemselves;thetruthisthatunlesstheyhaveaprideproblem

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