Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ministry Success Through Empowerment

Most Pastors are well aware of the fact a local church simply will not grow beyond the size of which one person can personally manage at a reasonable level. No matter how hard a Pastor works, he will never be able meet all of the needs of a church by himself after the constituency has grown to a certain size (generally about 100-150 people in regular attendance). Many have come to the conclusion that delegation is necessary to maintain a growth mode in a church. Delegation, however, has definite limits with regards to long-term effectiveness and success.

The key to long-term success in ministry is not delegation, but empowerment. The most successful Lead/Senior Pastors do two things. First, they identify and develop leaders. Second, they empower these leaders providing them with information, responsibility, authority, and trust to make decisions and act independently. They realize that when leaders feel empowered to act, they tend to respond with loyalty and commitment. Empowered leaders achieve personal ownership that generates a much higher level and quality of performance.

Workers are delegated tasks to perform. Leaders are empowered with authority and responsibility. There is a significant difference. Leadership through empowerment involves allowing and helping people to use their experience, knowledge, and judgment to make a real difference in the daily affairs of the ministry. This requires a respect and appreciation for the expertise and abilities of others.

This is not to suggest that Lead/Senior Pastors relegate their congregations to a form anarchical mayhem. Accountability is crucial. Communication is critical. Submission and loyalty to the Pastor and his God-given vision is both necessary and a natural byproduct of the empowerment process. Micromanagement with regards to the finest details of the daily operations of the ministry of the church is ineffective, inefficient, demotivating, and demoralizing. Empowerment breeds allegiance, constancy, faithfulness, and excellence.

Often, Pastors are reluctant to empower others because they fear their own personal loss of control or influence over the direction of the church. However, those who truly understand the empowerment principle understand that power and influence are not zero-sum quantities. In order for someone to gain power and influence it is not necessary for someone else to give it up. To the contrary, empowerment of leaders clears the way for the Lead/Senior Pastor to focus more on the big picture vision and direction of the church. It liberates him from the time consuming elements of implementing and executing all the necessary components and functions of the ministry single-handedly. The Lead/Senior Pastor is offered the unique opportunity to leverage his own leadership in a more effective, efficient, and visible manner when he empowers others.

Note: There is much more to say on the subject of empowerment. Future blog posts will cover other important aspects of this principle.

1 comment:

Scott Phillips said...

very good message. bravo