I was a part of a ministry with a very gifted pastor. He could do it all well on his own so he did, and this put a lid on his organization. One day we were having an event, and a few men who loved Jesus showed up early to help prep. These key leaders were successful engineers and ran multi-million dollar businesses, but they weren’t released to make decisions here in the church. They wondered if they should make some coffee, but couldn’t decide if they should or how much to make. These men who were filled with the Spirit of God and made decisions harder than this every day of their lives, but had to ask the pastor about coffee. The pastor stopped what he was doing and made this decision himself because he’d created a culture where every decision began and ended with him.
Coffee making is not a senior level decision. Leaders must be released to make decisions. It’s a process that takes time and energy, but we get to choose where we spend our time and energy. Leaders limit their churches when they make all the decisions.
Have you ever noticed that Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same shirt and jeans? I did, and I found out that he does this because he doesn’t waste any energy on frivolous decisions. Steve jobs did the same thing to avoid decision fatigue. Mr. Zuckerberg feels responsible to the billion or so people that use his product and decides to spend his time making decisions for his company and not for his image. How much more responsibility should we feel for the people God has entrusted to us?
Ways to release leaders to make more decisions:
Trust the natural and supernatural gifts God has placed within the people He sent to work along side you. Let them make some decisions. They may not be the ones you’d make, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong.
Teach people your values. Clear values provide a framework for decision making. For instance, the value we create for great guest experiences means all things done well when guests are expected to show up. When people operate from the same shared values they learn to make the right decisions.
Clear expectations help them know what to do in specific situations. Create pathways to share your expectations and document progress. They provide a proven path for leaders to follow when working with people. For instance, what steps should someone take to become a small group leader? Think it through, then set up a pathway in your church management software. This
Make Room for Mistakes
You make mistakes all the time and so will others. Teach people to be brave enough to try something and wise enough to learn from their failure. Celebrate success and help them learn from their errors.
Get Feedback Flowing
Sporadically asking people what they need is not enough. You’ve got to build channels for feedback to flow. Each stakeholder in your ministry sees things differently, and you’ve got to know what they’re seeing. Have a box for anonymous feedback, send out surveys to small group leaders, email blast your congregation, have a response card for visitors, have different teams periodically complete questionnaires or employ any other tactic that allows your members to share their input.
Learn to Listen
Church leaders love talking, and most of them are good at it. Learn to ask good questions to the right people, and let them answer. Don’t to do all the talking. And ask questions even if you know the answer; Jesus did that a lot. Let people talk and learn all you can.
Let Leaders Lead
Don’t claim to be building leaders if they’re not allowed to lead. Release things into their hands. Jesus sent out the 12, and He sent out the 72. He was never afraid to give ministry away, and we can’t be either.
How do you let your leaders lead?