A pastor friend of mine told me once that the sanctuary of his church had a LARGE clock in it. It was in a prominent spot, right along the side where everyone could see it, and was a memorial gift, given in the name of a former patriarch of the church. For those of you who don’t know, a clock in the sanctuary is a dangerous thing to feature so prominently. The folks in the pews tend to focus on the clock instead of the worship. They begin to time the services and complain if they go even a few minutes long. The focus slowly switches from being all about God to being all about getting to lunch on time. So…he MOVED the clock to the back of the room, where no one could see it without craning their necks. To help them move away from that focus on time, he spent hours writing a sermon about slowing down, about taking time, about focusing on what was important. He labored and labored over that sermon, until he felt it was nearly perfect. Then…he delivered it! He felt that the people in the pews were hanging on every word. He felt that they were very invested in the message. He felt that he had truly reached them with his thoughts of slowing down and taking time to be holy. To put the period on that sentence, he had chosen just that hymn, Take Time To Be Holy, to end the service. He finished preaching, said “amen”, and sat down with a great sense of satisfaction- job well done! It was at that moment his worship leader stood up, stepped to the microphone, and announced, “due to the time, we will sing Take Time To Be Holy…verses 1 and 4″! Sometimes, you JUST…CAN’T…WIN!!
Fresh out of business
school, the young man answered a want ad for an accountant. Now he was being
interviewed by a very nervous man who ran a small business that he had
started himself. “I need someone with an accounting degree,” the man said. “But
mainly, I’m looking for someone to whom I can delegate my worrying.” “Excuse
me?” the young accountant said. “I worry about a lot of things,” the man said.
“But I don’t want to have to worry about money, so I want to delegate that to
you. Your job will be to take all the money worries off my back.” “I see,” the
young accountant said. “And how much does this delegated job pay?” “I will
start you at $100,000/year.” “$100,000/year!” the young accountant exclaimed.
“How can such a small business afford a sum like that?” “That will be your 1st
We are in the 8th week
of our current sermon series, “Who Is JC? Based on a book by Bishop William
Willimon, this series attempts to peel back the shiny, pristine veneer we use
to cover Jesus and see who He really is…and some of it is surprising,
shocking. The 1st week He was a Vagabond. The 2nd week he was a Peacekeeper.
The 3rd week it was a Storyteller. The 4th week- a Party Person. The 5th week
it was a Magician. The 6th week- a Sovereign. Last week- a Homewrecker. Today
Jesus is a Delegator.
Author and humorist
James Boren once said, “When in doubt…mumble; when in charge… delegate.” What
does it MEAN to delegate? According to the dictionary, to delegate means to
empower another person to act. Delegation is the act of enabling someone else
to accomplish a task. Delegation says, “I believe in you. I believe
you’re capable of following through on this responsibility or task.”
Delegation says, “We’re part of a team.” Delegation in
the church helps others find their niche in ministry. Delegation helps
develop new abilities and a deeper sense of contribution. To delegate to others
expands their level of competence and confidence.
Although delegating sounds
like one of the simplest things in the world to do…it can be one of the hardest
to accomplish. Often, our attitudes interfere with our ability to effectively
delegate. We tend to think things like, “Delegating is really just
relinquishing.” Dumping tasks on someone else without any effort to foster
their success is relinquishment. Proper delegation isn’t anything like
that–it’s actually hard work. But if you fail to delegate because you want to
save time in the short term, there’s likely to be a time in the future when you’re
overloaded with work and don’t have anyone prepared to help you.
We also think,
“Delegating means giving up power and control.” I would argue- not
when done properly. Effective delegation involves retaining control over
the end result. In addition, delegating frees up time that you can use to
pursue new, innovative projects that make you more valuable to God. Maybe
we think, “If I delegate I become nonessential.” We fear that
we’ll lose our value, so subconsciously we decide that the best way to deal
with that fear is to hold others back. Or we think, “It’d be SO much
easier to just do it myself. What I can do in 10 minutes will take 30 if
I have to teach someone else how to do it. If you want something done right, do
it yourself.” But when we think like that, we aren’t seeing the big
picture, we’re not thinking of the long-term benefits. A SHEPHERD can only lead
so many sheep- no one to delegate to. But the number of sheep a RANCHER can
manage is only limited by his ability to delegate to his ranch hands.
Since the beginning of
creation, God has been delegating- empowering others to accomplish a task.
Psalm 8 says, “What is man that you are mindful of him…You made
him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his
feet.” God entrusted His creation to…us…and through us He’s
going to accomplish His plan. God made the animals, but He delegated to us the
job of naming them, taking care of them. He designed the ark, but
entrusted Noah with the job of building it. If God, the Creator of the
universe, entrusts His creation to us, shouldn’t we be more willing to act on
In Exodus 18 we learn
about the “Jethro Principle” (not to be confused, of course, with the
“Ellie Mae Principle”!)…another approach to delegation. Moses is the
leader of hundreds of thousands of Israelites. He serves as the judge for the
people, and they stand around him all day long…he is basically overwhelmed.
But his father-in-law, Jethro, gives him some timely advice: “Select
capable individuals from all the people and appoint them as officials over
thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. This will make your load lighter,
because they will share it with you.”
Hendricks once noted, “Any time you do for someone else what they are
capable of doing for themselves, you are helping to create an emotional
cripple.” As Christians, our job is to develop good leaders, not
just willing followers. God wants His people serving…ALL His people.
Christian leaders are developed as God entrusts us with greater levels of
responsibility and decision-making. However, many people simply don’t delegate,
or respond to delegation, well. But Jesus is not like many people! He’s NOT,
for instance, like preachers who can’t ever let go of the reins of power and
delegate important tasks. Jesus is a delegator. He really does authorize
us to act for Him, to act LIKE Him, and He empowers us to do so.
In the Gospels, Jesus
offers some truths about delegation:
1. Delegation is a trust-
the one delegating AND the one receiving the delegation must trust each other
2. We need to consider a
person’s abilities- setting someone up for failure is never helpful
3. Faithfulness in a few
things is a prerequisite for being in charge of many things- empower someone to
carry out a relatively simple task. If they succeed, they are ready for greater
Let’s look at one of the best-known, widest-impacting Scriptures about
Matthew 28:16-20– Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to
the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17 When they saw him, they
worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All
authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We can learn a lot from
Jesus’ approach as a delegator of ministry in this passage.
What He asked His
disciples to do was something He had already modeled for them.
But notice the specifics
he gave them revolved around vision- an overall approach.
He gave very little
direction on the how-to of the ministry itself – no detailed instructions. They
had seen Him model all of that, and He was encouraging them to be free to use
their own judgment and be who they were as they did ministry. This is a
Deploy-and-Debrief form of ministry training- as opposed to training them for
years on every hypothetical situation before letting them try it. He gives them
authority and power – this is key for delegation. He reminds them to stay focused;
at the end of the day it’s more about their message and their faith and less
about fancy bells and whistles. Jesus delegates authority to all believers to
act in His name–to heal and prophesy, cast out demons, raise the dead, do all
manner of things as we exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And the authority
for these things comes from Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t dumb down
discipleship. He raises the bar pretty high…high enough that we can’t
get over it without His Divine Intervention…and lots of it. Jesus
invites Himself into our lives, gets us prepped, delegates His mission to us,
and the next thing you know we’re Christians on the move.
There are 2 main goals
1. Success- failure is
seldom a good motivator in taking on new responsibilities
2. Development- raising
competence, confidence and faithfulness in others
There are 3 types of delegation:
1. Directing- giving a
specific job with intermittent deadlines to ensure success.
2. Coaching- enabling
someone to design their plan, with coaching and advice, until the job is done.
3. Authorization- simply
turning a task over to someone who is capable and ready.
There are 6 steps to
1. Indentify needs
2. Select the best
person for the job- trust is one of the best forms of motivation
3. Define guidelines and
4. Establish levels of accountability
5. Identify available resources
6. Turn them loose!
In the end, you can
delegate authority, but you can’t delegate responsibility. You can give others
the power to do things on your behalf, but, no matter who does something wrong
or right, the final responsibility always lies with the one delegating
authority. In common parlance, “Blame rolls uphill.” When we DO exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit with love, when
we DO make disciples for Christ, when we DO share the Word of God with
authority and power, then God is glorified. The best way to glorify Jesus is to
obey Him, follow Him, imitate His ways. Reading Scripture is great…but
it’s not enough. We have to get up, get out, and get moving.
Jesus didn’t come to
meet our every demand, make all our wishes come true, or ‘complete us’.
He came to enlist us in bringing in the Kingdom. Jesus is not here to
help us get what we want out of God; He’s here to see that God gets what He
wants out of us. Jesus doesn’t say “please love Me”, or “please agree with Me-
He says “follow Me…and I’ll make you fishers of the most slippery eels to
catch- people.” And through faithful fulfillment of a delegated
responsibility, we experience the joy that comes from having God use us. And we, as it all turns out, are God’s hands and feet in the world.
Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed Sunday! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!
I was going to be an actor. I knew that, at some level, from the time I was old enough to know better. I was ALWAYS putting on shows, doing magic tricks, playing drums…whatever…as long as it was in front of people…entertaining. When I was in Junior High, a group from the High School brought a play they were doing to our school and performed part of it in our gym. If I wasn’t smitten before…I sure was then! I couldn’t wait to get to High School so I could be in the plays. I got there…and promptly missed the auditions for the 1st show of the year! BUT…I was NOT to be defeated! I made sure I knew when the next auditions were. I tried out, and got cast…as @ different characters, no less! I was walk-on #7 and walk-on #11! No lines, nothing to do but…walk on…and stand there. I don’t mean to brag, but I was good! (NOBODY stands and walks like me!!) From there, the roles got a bit bigger with every play. I NEVER missed a performance, 3 plays and a musical each year, my entire High School career…until the LAST one my SENIOR year! (Ouch!) I was…not cast AND I was NOT happy! But, I sucked it up and took the Stage Manager job (I ROCKED it hard, if I do say so myself!!)
Then, it was on to college. I played drums for all 5 “Mainstage” shows that year (everyone thought I was a music major!) in addition to acting in 2 other shows. I was cast more and more throughout college until I had both a co-starring role AND a title role my senior year.
Then I moved into the professional ranks, and that, of course, is tough! I did some live theater (including a starring role) as well some TV commercials. Then I got the chance to be the Business Manager of a theater in St. Louis. It was a steady gig, with decent pay and benefits, and it allowed me to continue to audition for acting jobs. So, I took it. And that began the slow drift away from my dream of acting. The job, while challenging, interesting and fun (I once got to write a check for $40,000 and deliver it to Jay Leno!), was demanding and really DIDN’T allow much time to pursue acting.
Meanwhile, I got married (to the most awesome woman in the world, thank you very much!) and got a house. Decent job IN THE BIZ (as “they say!), great wife, house…all was well. Then, the theater changed hands and the “new broom swept clean”! I was unemployed…with a house payment. I literally stumbled into the photography business, as a way to pay the bills, and ended up staying there 8+ years, climbing the corporate ladder to become an Area Manager, with the responsibility of 20 studios spread over 4 states. I was doing well, there was room for more advancement…but I was NOT satisfied in the least. I had strayed SO far from my dream…it was obvious I would never get back to it. That’s when God started working on me!
NEVER a religious sort, I started going to church just to appease my wife. And slowly, God started chipping away at my skeptical heart. After several years of trying HARD to avoid the call I clearly felt God placing on my life, I finally relented…just so He’d leave me alone!! And once I made that commitment…amazing things started to happen. My home church volunteered to pay part of my tuition. As I’ve shared before, a church I had NO connection to let us use a house they owned…free of charge! AND…God showed me ways to use the gifts and graces for performance I had. I began to play drums at church- which I have continued to this day! I began to introduce creative approaches to the worship services. I wrote and directed and performed in an original Classic Rock musical based on the life of Jesus. Let’s see- acting, writing, directing, playing drums, performing magic, juggling, speaking in front of hundreds of people on a regular basis…this is starting to sound A LOT like what my dream was! That’s when it hit me- God had been preparing me all that time for just such a time s this. The gifts and graces I honed in college theater WERE to be used- just not in the venue I imagined. I get to do ALL that AND serve God as a pastor at the same time. How blessed is that?!
Do you ever feel you have given up on your dreams? Maybe you, like me, just kept beating your head against the wall, trying to pursue those dreams, until finally you said, “Enough is enough!” and chucked it all, only to “settle” for something that feeds the family…but NOT the soul. I’m here to say, “Don’t give up.” Maybe God has a plan for you to pursue those dreams in a way you never even imagined. Maybe God has GREAT things in store for you…the timing just isn’t quite right yet. Pray about it. Ask God to reveal to you the plans He has. It may be revealed in a flash…or it may take some time. Be patient. I didn’t begin my career as a minister until I was 35 years old. God is NOT finished with you yet. hang in there- better days are ahead!
Thanks for stopping by today. I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and stop by again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!