Exodus 18:23 “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
This story is the best, most explicit teaching on delegation in the whole Bible. No large organization can survive, or even exist, without effective delegation, but it is a weak area for many. The two things most essential for delegation are trust and faithfulness. The one in charge has to trust those to whom responsibilities are delegated, and those receiving responsibilities have to be faithful in discharging them to the best of their abilities. Failure on either side of that is crippling. Sadly, past experience can make people very hesitant to delegate, because of having trusted unreliable people, and some people are either devious in their motivation or simply incompetent, and so are inherently unreliable. However, there’s no way around the necessity of delegation, and failures simply need to be taken as learning experiences and moved past. That’s not always easy! Accountability is vital here. As Paul said, “It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) Those doing the delegating need to provide accountability structures so that those under them will understand what is expected of them, without micromanaging. That isn’t necessarily easy! Some people are gifted in it, and some aren’t. If there is no structure for accountability, there is no feedback to let people know whether they are doing things right. However, if there is micromanaging, creativity is stifled and the whole purpose of delegation is foiled. God’s wisdom and guidance are essential!
This is a sore subject for me because it’s always been a weak area. I have stifled the growth of this church by failure to trust people with more tasks, but I have also been burned by people who have tried to take over without sharing the same vision. Right now, for the first time in my ministry, I have a formally designated assistant pastor. I’ve got to get it right! In the past I have chosen the easy way of doing things myself, rather than the harder way of training others to do those things. That never works out in the long run. I am very aware that, at least at this point in my life, I really need to be working myself out of a job. That’s not to say that I don’t have valuable contributions to make, but it is to say that my abilities, and my physical life, have a “use by” date set by God, and I have no control over that. I am not to run from any task, but I am to remember that I’m not the only person God can use, and I am often enough not the best choice for Him. I am not to use my past failures at delegation as an excuse now, but learn and grow as God desires, so that I won’t be in the way of Him building His Church, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. This isn’t something I’ve thought about sufficiently, and I need to be more intentional. Help me trust You to work in those around me just as much, and even more, than You have worked in me, so that I won’t get in the way of their growth and the growth of this church. Thank You. Praise God!