The Art of Delegating

the art of delegating: six basic steps

The Art of Delegating: Six Basic Steps

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. — Eph. 4:11,12

Understand Biblical Delegation

Delegation is defined as “the process of identifying your work responsibilities and assigning portions of your work to others, so that workers become fulfilled and the work is accomplished.” (George, Carl, Leading and Managing Your Church, p.117) The primary purpose of delegation is not getting rid of work we don’t want to do — it is developing people! Proper delegation, one of the most powerful tools we have for discipleship, gets the job done and helps people to grow in the process. Reflect on this understanding of delegation for a moment. How is this different from the view of delegation in the business world?

The business recruits people to reach G_________. The church recruits people to reach P__________.

Remove Any Barriers to Effective Delegating

Barriers to effective delegating:

  • “I can do it better myself” fallacy
  • Insecurity
  • Fear of being disliked
  • Refusal to allow mistakes
  • Lack of confidence in others
  • Perfectionism, leading to over-control
  • Lack of organizational skill in balancing workloads
  • Inability to explain tasks
  • No interest to develop other’s gifts
  • Failure to establish effective follow-up

Determine What You Can and Cannot Delegate

All of a leader’s tasks may be delegated except for the following:

  • Responsibility to correct or discipline
  • Fixing major problems
  • Tasks that involve confidential information
  • Responsibility to create and maintain morale (leadership encouragement)

List all of your current activities in your job or ministry:

Acts 6:1-7 — The Apostles delegate a task

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Formulate a Job Description

Before you recruit, it is important for you to have a fairly good idea of what the job entails. If you don’t, people won’t commit themselves to the job, because it was unclear. Of course, you can make minor changes to the job description later on, but the initial job description must be clear enough for a person to make a decision on. A job description should include the following:

  • Job title — the purpose of the title is not to give status or honor to the person, but to effectively communicate a description of the job through a short, descriptive name.

  • Job summary — this is like a mission statement. It defines the end result, and perhaps the goals, of the position.

  • Job duties — List the specific activities for the accomplishment of the end result desired in the job summary above.

  • Working relationships — Indicate who the person is to report to, supervise, or work closely with.

  • Qualifications — This is to be included if you are advertising the job to many people. List what the person realistically needs to be and know in order to accomplish the job effectively (gifts, character, knowledge, and skills).

  • Time commitment — People will be less afraid to make a decision on the proposed job if you let them know how much time is involved each week.

  • Term commitment — Mention if the job is for three months, or three years, especially if it’s for a volunteer position. If you don’t, the people you try to recruit will assume that the job will go on indefinitely and will be less willing to commit themselves to such a job. Also, a specific term commitment makes it easier for you to remove the volunteer from that position at the end of the term without hurting his/her feelings.

Write out such a job description for major jobs (e.g. secretary, Sunday School superintendent). Although you don’t need to write a job description out for small tasks (e.g. setting up a video machine for one Sunday), it is important to have most of the details in mind, so that your recruitment will be more effective.

Recruit People for the Task

Lay out all the possible people whom you could recruit — list them on a sheet of paper with their phone numbers. At the first meeting or phone call, lay out all the expectations up front — at the very beginning, describe the job (use the job description you wrote out), tell how you can help that person succeed, and tell what it will cost that person in time and effort. Let them pray about it — tell them you’ll call back in three days, or more if needed. Don’t pressure them. You should not want anyone to go into a ministry for you, but for God. If “no” is their answer, accept it graciously.

Other Tips

  • Tell them what’s in it for them.
  • Explain why you chose them.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Give instructions both verbally and written.
  • Avoid calling a meeting for the purpose of delegating. People don’t like meetings. Just delegate yourself.
  • Call 5:00-9:00 PM weeknights, and 9:00-11:00 AM Saturdays for best response.

Provide Ongoing Support

This is where discipleship takes place. Here’s your chance to reach them, which is one of the goals of delegating.

  • Thank them — Send little thank-you notes, even if the job’s not finished yet.
  • Pray for them — Ask them if you could pray for anything within the job they’re doing.
  • Disciple them — Show how their task relates to the Christian life, Scripture, the church, and serving Jesus Christ. Spend some time in Bible study, especially with those whom you will be working closely with.
  • Care for them — Be a shepherd to them.
  • Train them — If they need training to accomplish the task, then do it yourself, or arrange them to get the training elsewhere (e.g. outside conferences, seminars, classes).

List some specific ways of how you can support the people whom you have already delegated responsibilities to.