If you can learn to delegate and empower others, you can grow a church. Sure, I know … handing off things you think are your responsibilities isn’t easy. In my experience, for most pastors it’s one of the hardest things you’ll have to learn. If you’re like most pastors, you got into this line of work to do ministry. But let’s be really honest here: the majority of what most pastors do could be done by someone else in the congregation. In today’s effective church, members need to be doing everything except those few things that only a pastor can do. 

Learning to delegate is essential if you’re serious about growing your church. Delegating is doing less so that you are able to do more. Tasks that do not absolutely need to be carried out by you should be delegated to someone else. Finding the right people to delegate or hand responsibility to may be the more difficult task. But once you’ve identified and recruited someone to do the task, delegate the task by providing specific instructions. Delegating looks like “please do this” and “then please do that.” As trust is established, you can be less specific. Once they’ve agreed to take on the task, schedule a meeting with them to make sure the task is being carried out. Again, as trust increases, the number of check-in meetings can decrease. Be sure to allow increasing flexibility in how the task gets accomplished. Just because they’re not doing it the same way you would doesn’t mean the task at hand isn’t being carried out successfully.

Once you are confident you can trust someone with a delegated task, the next step is to empower them. Empowerment helps others take ownership for tasks and decisions, which means they depend less on you to add value. Empowered leaders know what their tasks are and need space to get the job done. People need to empower themselves. Encourage the empowering process by showing support, encouraging the decision-making process, and supplying the necessary tools required for people to act on their decisions.

Only by learning to delegate and empower will you be able to lead your congregation to reach its potential. Delegation and empowerment create a perpetual motion machine: the more the church grows, the more ministry can be delegated and the more leaders can be empowered – and the more empowered leaders there are, the more the church grows. Find your members’ gifts, talents, and passions and get them deployed into ministry. As you do, you’ll be able to concentrate on those things you do best.

Question: How did you make the step from managing ministry yourself to delegating? What was the easiest part about it? What was the most difficult? Share your experiences and thoughts in the Comments section below.