Turning your limitations into opportunities
I am primarily a teacher and writer. I am not a very good pastor. I hate hospital calls, and really stink at giving sympathy. I try, but many a mother has asked me not to come back to visit their newborn babies after I said something harmless like they looked like a baby gorilla. Go figure.
I have several people in my church, including one of my fellow pastors/elders that cares for people deeply. He really likes hospital calls, counseling, giving comfort, checking up on folks to see if everything is OK with them, etc. Now, I can try to grunt up a fake effort or I can empower him, which choice do you think is more satisfactory all the way around?
I am a 10,000-foot-fly-by visionary and not a detail control-type person. I need those who are detailed to keep me grounded, but I die in the minutia of detail. They get giddy when I ask them to crunch numbers and give a report. I like the big picture; they love the details. Both of us are happy and function better when we develop our particular gifts.
This understanding of limitations leads into a discussion regarding delegating. How many people are frustrated because they feel underused in the Church? How many people are sitting in their seat week after week untapped because we won’t let go?
I have an administration mind, a gift for it. When I left the church I was at before planting the one we are still in, it took three full-time guys to replace what I was doing comfortably. I’m not bragging, it is just a God thing. Delegation is a huge part of being able to get a great deal of work accomplished in a shorter amount of time.
Before entering the ministry, I was blessed to be in charge of 16 tax offices for H & R Block. About midway through my second year with them, they fired the guy in the next district. They called me and said, congrats, you are doing such a good job with your 16, here are 16 more.
I went over to the newly acquired district’s main office and called a meeting of the folks there. I explained that I was only one guy and I needed all of them to pitch in. They were shocked. They were never allowed to do anything by the previous, now unemployed manager. As I opened desk drawers I found stacks of tax returns in various stages of completion. Some under audit and others in varying amounts of disarray.
We put our heads together and I asked questions about who was best at doing what. They all readily knew who was good at each task needed and I handed off the jobs as quickly as they shared. Again, shock. But guess what. Everything was dealt with, and job morale shot through the roof. I looked like a genius and everyone was much happier.
Now, I could have said, I’m the new guy, I will take care of all of this, after all, I am God’s man of faith and power for the hour. I probably could have taken care of all of it, but we would have lost so much more by my doing so.
The same is true in the church. Leaders lead and empower others. Leaders help others discover what they are good at and release them into ministry. We don’t have to do everything, nor should we. We must figure out what we are good at, what we are called to do, and then be about that business.
The Apostles knew this in Acts 6:2 and said, we need to keep on in the Word, find some guys to do this table waiting thing. Was it because they couldn’t wait on tables or was it because they understood what their calling really was?
What has God called you to do? What is your primary strength? What is a secondary strength? What do you hate doing but have to do it? Who is around you that probably would love to do what you hate? Why not help yourself, the ministry, and them by giving them the job! Let go and see how much better everyone feels.
For more about limitations and delegating: Recognizing your limitations
Dr. Jeff Klick serves as the senior pastor of Hope Family Fellowship, an age-integrated church he planted in 1993. In addition, he is an instructor with The Institute of Church Management and is on the board of The Council for Gospel Legacy Churches. He has earned a professional designation, CFP, a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry, a Doctorate in Biblical Studies, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry. Jeff and his bride Leslie have been married more than 42 years and are blessed with three adult children and 13 grandchildren.
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