Dec 112013

One of the complaints I hear regularly from pastors is that they’re too busy.

  • Too busy for dates with their spouse.
  • Too busy for goofin’ off with their kids.
  • Too busy to take vacations.
  • Too busy to help with homework.
  • Too busy for household chores.
  • Too busy to tend to their own soul care.
  • Too busy to teach, train, and equip church members to do and lead ministry.

And the list goes on…and on, and on, and on.

Let me humbly suggest an early New Years Resolution. (I hear they don’t work, but let’s pretend they did.) Repeat after me: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that from henceforth and forthwith I will assiduously Delegate, Delay, and Delete as often as possible during the performance of my duties as a leader.”

Let’s look at them one at a time.

Delegate You wouldn’t be so busy if you didn’t try to do all the work. Is there work only you can do? Absolutely. Does everything on your task list fall into that category? Probably not. Beginning right now, start giving away all work except that which only you can do. Every time you look at a task to be done, ask yourself the following question, “Who else could do this?” You’ll be surprised how often the name of someone in the church comes to mind. Are they fully prepared to take on the task? If not, invite them to accompany you as you do it “one last time.” OK, it may take doing it with them two or three times before they can handle it. But after that, it’s off your task list. Besides, you’re not just training them to relieve your workload. You’re spending time with them, building relationship, showing trust, and “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry,” which is your job description by the way. Then you can abandon the task. Just don’t abandon the person to whom you’ve delegated the task. They need encouraged, appreciated, and nurtured. Those are your real tasks.

Too often what keeps pastors from delegating is that the other person won’t do it the pastor’s way. I hate to say it, but in some cases that would result in an improvement. Sadly, another impediment to delegation is that some pastors always want to be the center of attention. Insecurity is a terrible motivator. Some pastor’s fear that the congregation may decide they don’t need them. That’s only possible if you see your role exclusively as ministry rather than leadership.

Delay Not every task carries the same level of urgency or necessity. If you question whether something even needs to be done, delay scheduling it. This is not procrastination. It is giving the task the opportunity to prove its necessity. If it never gets mentioned again, it didn’t need doing to begin with. Just make sure you don’t promise to do it later. Promises must be kept. A much better approach is to simply say, “I’m not sure this fits our priorities currently. I’ll have to give it some thought.” If it’s necessary or important, you will hear about it again. That will force a decision.

Delete As you look at a list of tasks, how many are there simply because they’ve always been there. If you can see no current rhyme or reason for the task to be continued to be performed and if no one has commented on it for a significant period of time, why not just delete it from the list? If it needs to be put back on the list, you’ll hear about it. But you’d be surprised as to how many once-necessary tasks are on your task list. If you do hear about it, ask why it still needs to be done. “Because we’ve always done it” is not a meaningful answer. If it does still need to be done, perhaps the person asking about it is someone to whom you can delegate the task.

Just a thought…



 Posted by at 9:00 am