Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'd Rather Do It Myself


“Quite honestly, I don’t really trust anyone else to take care of this.” I have heard that comment in some form from pastoral leaders for years. I must admit that I can identify with it to some degree. I tend to be a perfectionist and that is not a good thing! Over the years, I have had to learn how to let go and give others a chance to succeed or fail. Sometimes it means cleaning up a mess, but I have found that it is worth the risk in the long run. The end result is often the birth of a competent, skilled leader.

Church and denominational leaders say that they want more people to step up as volunteers and “shoulder part of the load.” We often say that we want young people to be more involved and to “do their part.” I have found, however, that our lack of trust and dearth of equipping skills often limit untried church members to roles with minimal responsibility and limited opportunities for initiative and creativity.

Craig Groeschel, the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, commented recently that most pastors spend more time “recruiting volunteers than empowering leaders.” Basically the difference is looking for a helper and seeking out a colleague. A volunteer may perform a worthy, time-consuming task, but a leader takes responsibility.

The New Testament challenges us to exercise an equipping ministry. This means that the work of the church is not that of ministers alone but is to be shared with all members of the body based on their giftedness.

Only rarely are these skills taught in seminary. Those who come to the ministry from business, education, or administrative backgrounds may have some advantage in developing leaders, although these skills may have to be adapted to the church setting. Groups such as Pinnacle Leadership Associates provide workshops, retreats, and coaching to help ministers develop these skills. For example, the Vision Infuzion workshop helps congregations learn how to do lay ministry development. Our Disciple Development Coaching © training events and Peoplemap Communication System seminars assist ministers to develop the people skills needed for staff and congregational leadership. Other organizations provide similar training.

I encourage all clergy leaders to do a self-assessment. Do you really want to do it all yourself or are you ready to bring others alongside? One road leads to burnout and frustration but the other leads to personal liberation and ministry growth.

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