12 Reasons Pastors Struggle to Delegate

I suspect that this COVID-19 crisis has forced many of us to lean on other church members who are better equipped to work with media and digital options—and we’re learning just how helpful and important these church members are. I hope we’ll continue to delegate post-COVID, but I’m not sure we will. Here’s why we pastors struggle with delegation:

1. We base our worth on results. When we base our value on the success of the organization we lead, seldom do we delegate responsibility to others. It’s simply too risky to do so.

2. We ignore the Body of Christ imagery in 1 Corinthians 12. We deny this imagery when we choose to play the role of every part of the Body—either by doing it all ourselves or by “cleaning up” what others have done.

3. We’ve never seen good delegation modeled. In many cases, our own role models did all the work themselves, and we’ve followed faithfully in their steps.

4. We suffer from “idolatry of the self.” What else can we call it if we believe (a) no one can do it better than we can, and thus (b) no one else should do it?

5. We don’t have time or energy to train others. Training is time-consuming and messy. It’s just easier to do it all ourselves and cloak our efforts under “the urgency of the gospel.”

6. We like control. Let’s face it: with every person we train and release, we move one step away from controlling everything under our watch.

7. We’ve had bad experiences with delegation. Our past stories are defeating. We spent so much time cleaning up messes that it’s just easier to avoid the mess in the first place.

8. We have no system in place to help believers determine their giftedness. How can we delegate to people whose spiritual giftedness and passions we don’t know? And that they themselves don’t even know because we offer no such training?

9. Our churches don’t always see the need. “After all,” they say, “that’s why we hire staff.”

10. We fear others will do better (and perhaps get the glory) . No one wants to admit this possibility, but some of us wrestle with this thinking.

11. We don’t see the vast needs of the world. It’s easy to hold on to everything when the full scope of our ministry is only our church and perhaps our community. Multiply those needs by the 4 billion people in the world who have little exposure to the gospel, however, and the need to delegate becomes obvious.

12. We don’t pray enough for laborers. If we truly prayed like Jesus taught us in Luke 10:1–2—asking for more laborers—we would need to be prepared and willing to share the workload with others.

What other causes for failing to delegate do you see?

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This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com and is reposted here by permission.

Chuck Lawless
Chuck Lawlesshttp://ChuckLawless.com

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.