Delegation For Church Leaders

By Adam Smith


Pastoral time can mean more if a proper use of delegation is employed. Allow me to spend just a few minutes on proper delegation. As churches grow, proper delegation becomes necessary to get the various tasks completed.


Don’t safely assume the person that will be doing the job for you can read your mind. Hard feelings and difficult working conditions often derive between workers when there has been a misunderstanding about what the job consisted of. A list should be made covering the obligations of the position, then studied by the person before
consenting to do the job.

We are in the King’s business….the most important business in the world! Yet, this important task is often times handled in such a haphazard way that effective work is impossible.

Before final decisions are made concerning who is to do the work delegated, meet with the person and bring everything to the surface that will be required. If he wants to back out, let him back out before he starts, rather than work for a short time then decide that he cannot do the job effectively.

Written job descriptions also help weed out ineffective workers if the job is not being taken care of according to the job description list, an interview can be conducted. The results will be favorable, with the person understanding the part that has been left out, or a replacement found that can be effective:


The staff member should have regular reporting periods after the job descriptions have been laid out and assumed. Usually, weekly reporting sessions are held. During these, suggestions COULD BE MADE FOR more effective ways to get the job done.


Periodically, the work of staff members should be evaluated, Evaluation should be conducted on a regular basis. During the evaluation period, the staff member could set goals for his job. Goal setting helps the worker, along with the pastor, to work toward a desired objective.


1. Inability to let go: After the delegation process has taken place, it is important that the pastor let go of the mechanics of the job delegated. Many times, the job is delegated…but the one delegated the authority is hesitant to completely let go of the responsibility. The result is quite often a staff member that feels useless in his capacity. Do not delegate any job that you are reluctant to turn loose.

2. Lack of Confidence: Once a job has been delegated, place utmost confidence in the person doing the job. Do not make him feel inferior or incapable of doing the work…the job itself is the main target of suffering in a situation such as this. Let the staff member know how much confidence you have placed in him. People may betray friendship,
but trust is difficult to betray.

3. Fear of Competition: If the job description has been given properly, there should be no reason for this…but often times this is a difficulty. The pastor has his responsibilities, the staff member has his responsibilities…and there will be Very little contact made…except for review and evaluation.

4. Lack of Time: There are times when one almost feels “I could do the job quicker myself” and maybe this is true!! But, priorities must be given…while the pastor is “saving time” instead of delegating authority, one job is not being taken care of properly.


There are times when delegation has been distorted. Delegation is a great asset to the leader when used for the right purposes, Here are some the distortions of delegations.

1. Shirking responsibility—–Do not delegate just so you will be able to shirk a task that is rightfully yours.

2. Incompetency—–It is futile to delegate the authority if the person is incapable of fulfilling the job given to him.

In closing on delegation, these points should be remembered to maintain effective delegation…..

1. Secure mutual agreement—-An agreement to do the job along with an agreement to be treated fairly and as a brother is a strong relationship to build upon.

2. Seek the right person—–Sometimes the “right” person is contrary to personal feelings. In finding someone to work for – the kingdom of God, don’t overlook the privilege of asking the Builder of the Kingdom for the right personnel.

3. Seek to motivate—–When discouragement’s set in, always try to present a feeling of hope to the person. Everything is going to work out…we’re in service for the King!!!

4. Discover gifts—–The best way to find those “hidden” talents is to use the person. You’ll find artistic talents in that one that you have chosen to teach a class, a talent for properly organizing in the one you have chosen as Sunday School Superintendent. We as humans are hesitant to “toot our own horn”…but much talent is laying wasted, unused in the work of God.

5. Allow for mistakes—–Remember you are working with human beings. They are not infallible. There will be times they misunderstood a job description. Through prayer, learn to weave the mistakes into the garment…and a beautiful product will be the end result.

6. Encourage initiative—-People like to feel that they have something to say. Don’t discourage any idea just because it isn’t yours. If you have talked to the Lord about the staff member, before placing him, it is only reasonable to expect the responsible staff member to pray over the project and the Lord to give him ideas. To keep you informed, and prevent problems that have arisen before; make sure he knows to talk with you before any project is undertaken
officially. You can usually spot pitfalls readily that he, through inexperience, would overlook.

7. Expect results—-When a responsibility has been delegated, you should expect results. If a staff member has a tendency to procrastinate, one of the best favors you could do for him… is to let him know of the results that you will expect. Thus, a habit that could follow him throughout life will be discarded.

Let’s hope this never happens…but more than likely it will at some time or another.


Here are some of the most common reasons that delegation fails.

1. hyper-competitive and compulsively hostile staff members
2. emotionally disturbed staff members
3. unmotivated staff members who have been afforded every known leniency.
4. staff members with too many outside interests.

The pastor should do everything that he can do to rectify the situation. Private evaluations, personal confrontations–eliminating “beating around the bush” techniques and defining the problem areas directly. But if all means have been exasperated… and it is futile, then it is the pastor’s responsibility to act,


1. The hardest step to take is the DECISION TO ACT!! The best way to go about the decision is to ask the staff member to place himself in your position…you need a job to be done, and it is not being done effectively. The work of the Lord is being jeopardized. In the long run, confronting will be best for the pastor, the staff member, and the church.

2. Evaluate the working environment–if the person delegated to type visitors letters and do other church correspondence has been put in the foyer of the church, while there are scores of people in and out, it is obvious why she cannot do the job effectively. A private room, or even a corner, is better than a room where the job could not be
done effectively.

3. If all efforts have failed, and if the worker is a full-time staff member, then action must be taken to terminate employment. The above solutions are workable for both hired and volunteer workers.

(The original source and/or publisher of the above material is unknown.)

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