The following is a guest post by my new friend in ministry, Deborah Ike. She is a writer, consultant, and project manager focused on using her experiences to help church leaders grow their churches with zero burnout.
When you start on the journey to planting a church, you’re wearing several hats:
- Volunteer trainer
- Website developer
- …and much more
While it may be necessary for you to do-it-yourself in the beginning, that’s certainly not sustainable over the long run.
As your team begins to grow, you need to start delegating church plant responsibilities. However, it’s in this stage that many church planters face a scary prospect – entrusting part of their “baby” to someone else.
Will he represent the church well?
Will she make decisions like I do?
Can I trust him to take great care of our volunteers?
How will she interact with first-time guests?
Those are all legitimate questions and concerns. However, for your church to grow and thrive (and for your own sanity), you must start to delegate as soon as possible.
Here are four simple steps to delegating with confidence:
Step #1: Document
You could tell a volunteer or staff member to take over the process of training new volunteers. If you just leave it at that, they’ll make up their own process. It’ll likely be loosely based on what they saw you do, but it may not be quite what you want.
To guard against that issue, you need to write down why and how you train new volunteers.
WHY: This is the heart behind the training process
- Why do we encourage people to volunteer?
- Why is serving in their church family important for them and for the congregation?
- Why is training needed?
If the person you’re delegating to doesn’t understand the “why”, they won’t be able to make decisions that align with that purpose.
HOW: This includes the step-by-step process you currently use to train volunteers
- Getting contact information
- Signing them up for a volunteer training session
- Developing training materials
- Setting up the room
- Providing handouts and snacks
- Conducting the training and leading a discussion to make sure they understood the training materials
One shortcut to this step is to have someone shadow you the next time you prepare for and conduct volunteer training. Have this person document every step along the way as you go through the process. Then review the documentation and make adjustments as needed.
Step #2: Apprentice
Have the person you’re delegating to shadow and assist you as you go about this process. Discuss with him why you’re doing things a certain way and why you made specific decisions. Be open for him to ask lots of questions. Have him handle smaller tasks within the process along the way. Also, have him use the documentation you developed so he’s learning by reading the material and by seeing the work done in-person.
Step #3: Reverse roles
In this step you’ll become the assistant as your delegate takes the lead. Resist the temptation to take over when he struggles – just be available to answer questions when he asks. Assist him a few times until you’re both confident he’s ready to go solo.
Step #4: Back away
At this point, he should be ready to move forward. Check-in with him on a consistent basis to get status updates and answer his questions. You don’t have to be completely hands-off, but your involvement should be minimal at this point.
Planting a church is hard work and you’ve probably got a mile-long to do list. Remember Ephesians 4:12 – “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Part of your role as a church planter is to equip others. Delegating church plant responsibilities is part of equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
I’ve been reading Deborah’s blog since early 2015 and always find helpful content. Read up at www.velocityministrymanagement.com and connect with Deborah on Facebook and Twitter (@DeborahIkeVMM).