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The Delegation Dilemma

Everything I’ve ever read about leadership talks about the importance of delegation.

“If someone else can do something 80% as good as I can, I give it to them.” – John Maxwell

“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” – Craig Groeschel

“Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.” – Andy Stanley

Man, those quotes sound good, but am I the only one who’s dealing with a delegation dilemma? Is anyone else having trouble finding people to hand off things to?

In my church, we have leaders who want to delegate, but it seems that it’s becoming more and more common that no one is willing to take on the tasks that they’re trying to delegate. And I don’t believe the dilemma is just happening at my church, I believe it’s happening all over.

Since the Covid pandemic started, pastors have had to take on more and more responsibility. We needed to increase our online presence, move people to online giving, navigate cultural and political unrest, call the people who don’t feel safe showing up to church, connect with the people who are showing up, lead a small group, do community outreach, comfort the grieving, conduct the weddings, the list goes on and on.

And all of the things listed above, are in addition to trying to have a good marriage and lead a healthy family.

So, each month thousands of pastors and church leaders are walking away from their positions because the burden has become too great.

For those that remain, we tell them to delegate. Give responsibility away. Hand it off to someone else.

The problem is, many of the people we need to hand things off to, are just as overwhelmed as us and they have no interest in taking on our burdens.

So, what do we do? What’s the solution?

I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I’m afraid for the time being the solution is to prioritize the most important things you do, and lay the rest down. Try to hand things off, but if no one takes them, set them aside for now. Trust me, I don’t love that answer either, but for now it’s all I got.

One other thing to note, that I’ll probably write more about in the future, is those pastors who are choosing to leave vocational ministry, they’re creating a huge number of openings that few people are interested in filling. This will lead to more and more churches having to close their doors.

Yet, with all that said, I’m still hopeful for the future of the Church. I believe currently, we’re in the process of pruning, and although it can be painful, in the end the Church is going to much healthier because of it.

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