August 27, 2011

Acts 6:3 “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.”

Delegation and division of duties are vital parts of any organization. Indeed, they could be said to be part of the definition of an organization, or organism, for that matter. Everyone trying to do everything doesn’t work, and making something everyone’s responsibility generally means no one does it. We tend to gravitate to a few people doing all the work and the majority simply being along for the ride, but that is wrong on several levels. Those doing the work come in danger of a great deal of resentment, those not working fail to grow and mature, and the work itself is not done as well as it could be, because not everyone is equipped for every job. Paul dealt with that last point at length in 1 Corinthians 12, as well as touching on it in Romans 12. At issue are both the willingness to relinquish authority and the willingness to accept responsibility. Some people are willing to accept great responsibility for the sake of the authority, and some are willing to relinquish all authority for the sake of getting out of responsibility. Either side of that has lots of problems!

This has been a problem in my ministry from the start. I’ve never been much of a team player, having bombed out in sports in childhood and having felt isolated for various reasons for much of my life. On top of that, I’ve been blessed with a wide variety of abilities, so it has seemed easier to me to just do everything myself, rather than getting others actively involved. That has been a major drag on this church. Past efforts at delegation and division of duties have ranged from mediocre to disasters, but I must not give up. The size of the congregation means that everyone could be actively involved without much difficulty, but there are those who refuse any responsibility at all. At the same time, there are those who are quick to pitch in, but resent feeling like they do all the work. On top of that, there is a lack of understanding of how much work goes into some things that can only be done with specialized training and gifting. What we are doing right now in trying to identify what each person is willing to do and/or feels qualified to is a good step, but it has the limitations of a lack of understanding of what is involved in some tasks and the cultural reluctance to claim ability. I still don’t have the organizational wisdom and ability called for, as I have demonstrated so thoroughly in the past. I’ve got to be fully humble and submitted before God to receive and follow His directions. When I delegate something, I’ve got to give full authority with the responsibility and not micromanage, but that doesn’t mean ignoring the issue or failing to give encouragement, appreciation and praise. I’ve been very weak there. I cannot ignore problems; I’ve got to trust that God has the answers and be active in their pursuit, for the sake of the Body of Christ.

Father, this has laid open one of my greatest weaknesses as a pastor/leader. As this passage talks about, I don’t need to be distracted by it from the ministry of the Word, but that doesn’t mean issues aren’t to be addressed and dealt with. I ask for wisdom and patience, toward myself and others. I really get disgusted with myself that I haven’t gotten any better at this after all these years, but that disgust doesn’t accomplish anything. Help me learn the lessons You are teaching me, faithfully and gratefully, so that the Body of Christ may indeed be built up, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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