Why is it so difficult to delegate?
There is a principle in Real Estate called best intended use. This principle evaluates real estate based on whether it is utilized to achieve it’s maximum value. There are real estate investors who make their living by simply finding places that aren’t being used for the best intended use, and re-developing them to achieve maximum value.
One morning last week, as I was washing out a coffee pot and getting ready to make coffee for three of my small groups, a thought of occurred to me. I make a great cup of coffee…but that’s not in my top 10 of skills. Am I following the best intended use principle right now? If God has gifted me in certain areas to lead and equip Christians to reach people and serve Christ, am I using those gifts when I fix coffee? Should I have asked someone else to make coffee so that I could be using one of my top ten gifts right now?
How do you decide whether something should be delegated? Here are a few principles that you should think through when deciding what to delegate, and to whom you should assign the task.
1 – Do I have someone in mind that I could give this job to?
This has to be number one, because it’s really where you start the process. Is there someone in your ministry who needs a job? Has someone recently shown a propensity to serve and become a leader for Christ? If so, then start thinking about all of the things you do, and whether some of your duties should be passed along to this new servant.
2 – What is the a cost/benefit to having them do this instead of me?
Don’t be prideful about this, but be realistic. If you are the owner of the ministry, meaning you are devoted to furthering the cause of your ministry, then you’ll be more likely to pay attention to every detail of the task. However, your college student’s main focus is getting good grades and meeting cool people, so they won’t obsess over details like you do.
They might not clean the coffee pot very well before they make a new batch, or they may not put the right amount of coffee/water, but that’s okay. If the task is done at a 75% clip, you are still better off if you’ve been freed up to do something else at 100%.
3 – What if they don’t do a good job, or don’t follow through?
This is similar to number 2, but even in their failure there may be an opportunity for you to grow as a leader. Will their success or failure give you an opportunity for coaching? Maybe this is an opportunity for you to teach the principles of working hard for Christ. Perhaps you could also learn that drinking weak coffee is better than no coffee at all…
4 – What could I be doing right now instead of this task?
The last one is clear, is there something you could be doing for Christ right now if you had delegated this task? We don’t delegate so that we can sit by and watch, we delegate so that we can accomplish more together as a team!
Brian is originally from Houston and previously served as the Connections Pastor at Real Life Church here in Austin. In that position, he served in a variety of roles with this new and growing church. He has also served as a Youth Pastor for Park Hills Baptist Church in San Antonio. Brian has been married to his wife Jennifer since 1999, and they have three children.
Brian holds a Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC) and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX).