To Control or Not to Control

I’ve said it a dozen times on this blog, raising up leaders and delegating some responsibility is the key to a vibrant growing ministry. But what do you do when there’s an area in which that plan isn’t working so well? What do you do when something you’ve delegated begins to faulter?

For most of us, we depend on volunteers. It’s people’s servant hearts that make what we do in ministry possible. And that’s an important fact to remember. Can you hold a volunteer to the same standard that you would hold a paid staff person? Not really. You can, however, lay out clear expectations, a clear deadline for a project and take the time to review how things are going, but in the end…what your volunteer does for you, comes a distant 2nd to their real job, their family and most likely many other things in their life.

Expectations are the key. Be clear about what you expect. If those expectations aren’t being met, it’s time for a conversation. Be gracious, revise the expectations if needed and set a deadline for improvement. If things are still faultering, then it’s time for a change. Here are a few tips:

-Don’t pull the plug too quickly: I’d rather struggle in an area for a time than cut someone without giving them ample opportunity to succeed.

-Have a backup plan: If there’s a struggle, work out a “plan B”. If you end up cutting someone loose, you’ll need to have an alternate option to got to immediately.

-Have a plan for the person: No one likes being in a position of moving someone on. Do your homework, know their gifts, and show them other areas where they can serve. Go the extra mile.

-Take control and train: In the end, you may need to step back in to the role you worked so hard to delegate. There’s nothing wrong with that for a season, but make certain you have someone working that position with you. Ultimately, your goal should be to delegate that responsibility to another person.

In the end, raising up leaders and delegating responsibility should be a passion for any ministry leader. Don’t be afraid to make that investment, but also, don’t be afraid to make a change when it’s called for.

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