If you’re like most leaders I know, you have a deep desire to be all God designed you to be. You want to skillfully guide your church and family to be healthy and grow. You hope your legacy is something significant.
But many leaders feel they are failing and they don’t know why. One pastor recently told me:
“I’m worn out! I know I’m called to ministry, but I feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. Between sermon preparation, pastoral care, meetings, and church problems, I sometimes don’t feel prepared for all that comes my way. I’m afraid my family is suffering and that I my dreams may be dying.”
I understand how it feels to not be able to manage it all – to be overwhelmed by church responsibilities, while trying to still take care of what matters most – your family, your health, and your relationship with God. We have all felt that way.
I finally learned that ministry success isn’t about getting results. It’s about getting the right results. I came to understand that good leaders observe this succinct seven-word precept – Only Do What Only You Can Do!
Strategic over tactical
The problem is that many of us get too involved in details, in trivial issues, in firefighting, and in micro-managing our team. However, leaders can dramatically improve if they focus more on strategic rather than tactical issues. The best way you can do this is by delegating the tasks that others can do and thereby concentrating on the tasks that only you can do.
For example, here are some tasks that only you as the leader can do:
- Keep your heart spiritually on track.
- Cast your organization’s vision.
- Clearly articulate your ministry strategy.
- Develop your key leaders.
- Build good, personal relationships
Of course the leader cannot ignore all details and issues. Sometimes there’s no one else to do it. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll get into the habit of doing things that you really have no business doing.
Find more hands
If you can learn to focus more on the productive tasks rather than the menial details, not only will you accomplish more, but you will be able to …
Maintain a sustainable pace – Stress in ministry is often related to what you are doing rather than how much you are doing. I know at times it feels easier and better to just do it yourself. But if you keep doing things that are draining your energy, you can’t lead to your maximum capacity. When possible, enlist and train a team member or volunteer to take on the task. In the long run, you will provide better leadership and save time and energy.
Enable others to accomplish more – If you do everything, you never create opportunity for people to step into leadership. Perhaps the best thing you can do for your organization is step out of areas that you’re only pretty good at in order to create space for people who are really good at it.
In Acts 6, the leaders recognized it would be wrong for them to neglect the ministry to distribute food to the widows. Since they had spent three years with Jesus, they were uniquely equipped to teach the Word. They determined to do what only they could do.
Dr. Luke tells us what happened. Suddenly, some new names surfaced and the proposal pleased the whole group. New opportunities existed because the leaders stepped aside and focused on core strengths. The Word of God spread and the church grew rapidly. They did less – they accomplished more!
This commentary originally appeared at churchesunleashed.com.