We tend to associate the highest godliness with the lowliest service. This is perhaps why most of our discussions on Christian leadership focus on “servant leadership” and we do need this kind of leadership. We need leaders who do something. But I would suggest to you that Scripture teaches leaders lead by both doing and delegating, and it’s the latter we struggle with the most.
Many pastors and lay leaders struggle with stress and lack of ministerial fulfillment. I believe that this struggle is real in part because they 'go, go, go' but fail to teach others to 'go.' The best cure for this stress and lack of fulfillment is learning to delegate. D.L. Moody said, “It is better to get ten men to do the work than to do the work of ten men!” Moody’s advice is filled with Scriptural wisdom. The Bible is full of detailed descriptions of leaders who delegate.
Why do we not delegate?
We fail to delegate because we are proud. Most people who never give tasks to others do so because they think no one else can do the job as well as they can. We think that because the other person doesn’t have our experience or education or whatever else he just can’t do the job like we can. How foolish. In order to delegate the way God calls us to we must be humble.
We fail to delegate because we fail to plan. Recruiting someone to help you do something is not delegation. Successful delegation requires successful communication ahead of time. In order for you to be a proper delegator you need to be a thorough planner.
We fail to delegate because we fail to push for advancement. Let’s face it; the reason many churches don’t grow is because their comfortable where they’re at. The same Sunday School teachers, same ushers, same deacons, and same just about everything have left them in a state of lethargy. But in order to have growth, we must have delegation. Spectators become critics, but participants become partners. If we would grow taller, we need to be sure the base of our pyramid is broader.
We fail to delegate because we fail to pray. Many churches just use the same people to do the same things because they fear that’s all they have. But if God intends for us to disciple by delegation than God will certainly open the door for that to become possible. It is natural that involvement in ministry will prompt people to pray for that ministry.
We fail to delegate because we’ve been burned in the past. Perhaps you’ve tried this before to some pretty dim results. But since you serve a God of second chances you should likewise be willing to do the same. Use the great encourager Barnabas as your example. He was willing to give John Mark another chance. It is also possible that your failure in the past is because you didn’t plan it out (Ex., not giving clear instructions, not providing proper tools, not checking in, etc.).
Many faithful servants of God need to pause and listen to the wise counsel Jethro gave to Moses. Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery. In the midst of the desert, Moses now found himself laboring from early morning until late at night attempting to resolve a myriad of conflicts amongst the people he was leading (see Exodus 18:13-16). Moses had become a workaholic. Seeing this struggle, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came and give him some advice: “Divide and conquer” or else be you’ll be too frustrated to continue (see Exodus 18:18-23). In response Moses recruited the aid of 70 men to help him and peace entered the camp.
Perhaps many of the problems facing churches today have less to do with leaders doing, and more to do with leaders not delegating. Myron Rush makes this point: “A person may be in a leadership position, but if he isn’t willing to delegate, he isn’t a leader at all – he is a hired hand.”
 Myron Rush, Management: A Biblical Approach (Colorado Springs: Cook Communications Ministries, 2002) p. 132.
Caleb Phelps graduated from BJU with a BA in Bible and an MA in Theology. After graduating from seminary Caleb traveled in evangelism which took him across the country to many different churches and camps. While he was traveling Caleb met the love of his life, Rachel. They got married and moved to Indianapolis, IN where Caleb now serves as the youth pastor at Crosspointe Baptist Church. You can check out his youth group's website at www.crosspointeyouth.com.
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