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Over the last few years, I have learned how delegating is much more power than I had thought. The act of empowering someone in ministry or in a marketplace job can, not only change your life and the way you view leadership, but it can affect someone else’s life as well. Over the last seven years, I have run a social service organization, as well as the Rock Church Homeless ministry. To date, the social service organization has tripled in size and the homeless ministry has duplicated its efforts all throughout San Diego County. I can honestly say that the success I have had came as a result of seeing people’s talents and having the courage to empower them to be and do what God has called them to do in each of their lives.
I’ve seen people step into leadership positions and find their purpose and calling in life. As a matter of fact, I am one of them. I used to be a student at The Rock Church’s School of Ministry, IMPACT195, and one of the leaders saw potential in me and gave me an opportunity to teach and serve in ministry. Since then, I’ve never wanted to do anything else, but grow in my ability to teach and expand my opportunity to serve. He could have easily done the job himself, but he chose to give me an opportunity and entrust responsibility over to me. Looking back, I am not sure why he trusted me because I did not know anything about teaching, but his trust, belief, and support has been influential in how I serve and lead today. Delegating is not just handing off work to people; delegating is about empowering people.
Do you know the bible talks about delegating and emphasizes the benefits of delegating and how beneficial it is? One of my favorite stories in the bible is in Exodus 18: 1-26, when Jethro went to visit Moses and had a chance to observe what he was teaching the people of Egypt. During his observation, he noticed that too much of Moses’ time was used to answer disputes, inquires, and judge the people who were looking to him for God’s will. Moses was doing great work for the Lord, but trying to complete the work all by himself, which resulted in people not being tended to or being neglected. Does that sound familiar to you?
Jethro warned Moses by telling him that what he was doing was honoring God, but the way he was doing so was not good. His way was not beneficial for himself or the people. Jethro then urged Moses to continue teaching people the law, but to delegate by finding and appointing worthy men with moral and spiritual maturity to implement the law; each given a proportion of the work that was suitable for them.
There is so much that we can take and dig into from this passage, but today I will only focus on three (3) topics:
1. Challenges of Delegating
2. Benefits of Delegating
3. Delegating Effectively
Challenges of Delegating
Many of us can identify with Moses. Maybe we are in Christian leadership or organizational leadership in the marketplace and we are doing really good work, but the way we’re doing it may not be effective. We feel overworked, always busy, and bogged down with demands. Perhaps, like Moses was urged to do, we can evaluate how we can be more effective by 1) realizing you are handling a load that is too much for one person – self-awareness is often the first step to implementing change 2) review the work to see if you can appoint someone else, possibly someone who might even be more capable of completing the work better than you.
The challenge of delegating is giving away, what we perceive as, our power. This very thought is attached to fear and, more often than not, the insecurity that someone else will do the job better and we’ll be overlooked or disregarded. This is detrimental to our growth in so many ways. I’ve learned that giving away power enhances your growth and, ultimately, makes you a stronger leader.
Another challenge in delegating is apprehension that the other person won’t do as good of a job as you, which is attached to fear AND pride. Empowering people is allowing them to experience natural consequences, and in the process you learn how to choose the right people for the job and articulate your expectations clearly. In essence, it is a learning opportunity for everyone involved – both you and the person you choose to empower.
Don’t let the challenge of delegating keep you from empowering other people and learning how to lead better. Leading through the lens of fear will rob you of experiencing all the benefits of leadership.
The Benefits of Delegating
Jethro’s urge to Moses to appoint leaders and put them in charge of hundreds and thousands would result in 1) less, but more productive, work for Moses 2) more endurance to serve the people and meet the needs 3) peace from the people that would be appointed to serve.
In my experience, delegating was difficult when I was enlisting people for a task and not really looking at how that person could benefit from the task. Some of us have a hard time asking people to do something for us because it is simply FOR US; but, if we change our mindset and enlist people based on their skills, how they will grow, and how we can add more value to them, it makes asking easy and, more importantly, fun. So I don’t just consider what needs to be done and who can do it, but I ask myself, who meets the moral and spiritual standards, who could really thrive in this area, and what opportunities do I have for them?
Would you like to do less work and be more productive? If you are in a service-oriented business where you are meeting the needs of people constantly, would you like to give the people benefiting from your service more peace and more avenues to get help? If you answered, “yes,” it will take some leadership on your part. Here’s how…
How to Delegate Effectively
A key factor in delegating is finding the right people. Jethro mentions some key characteristics, in Exodus 21:18, he says, “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” It is very clear that he is not telling Jethro to look for anyone who can get the job done; he IS telling Moses to look for people who can complete the task and have noble character and reverence for God. Character and confidence go hand in hand because when you find someone with character you have the confidence to empower them.
Finally, ask yourself the big picture questions; what, how, and who? For example:
1. What are you trying to accomplish? (This is your vision or goal.)
2. How are you accomplishing it? (These are milestones and objectives.)
3. Who meets the criteria to help accomplish the goal? (Appoint leaders and teams who will appoint team members and/or leaders and give them meaningful responsibilities.)
Delegating is pivotal, especially in Christian Leadership because we are always striving to meet needs. The harvest is always plentiful; so, to avoid burning out or getting to a place of resentment and, more importantly, to really maximize our time, talent, and resources, we too should, as cliché as it sounds, work smarter, not harder. So I urge you to utilize the art of delegation and empower those around you, so that you can experience all that God has for you in ministry or in the marketplace.
Written by Estreanda Yates;
IMPACT195 School of Ministry Graduate, Ministry Leader, World Changer.