A bigger measure of your success will not be measured by what you did, but what you empowered others to do. Yes, you should tweet that. More importantly you should act like it is true – because it is.

When hiring new staff, I’m rarely looking for a superstar. I’m looking for the person who gets little credit for the massive work they’ve accomplished through leading teams of volunteers. Superstars are expensive and although they bring a lot to the table, a team builder will deliver far more than a superstar ever will.

I’ve learned the hard way that probably 80% of what I do can probably be done by someone else. We rarely let go of the 80% for a number of reasons.

  • Insecurity
  • Control issues
  • Perfectionism

Just to name a few.

Learning to delegate is one of the best resources in a ministry leaders tool chest. I’m calling myself out tomorrow concerning the things that I’ve been holding on to for far too long. Even after having success with delegation, we can revert back to picking up things that someone else should be doing. Here’s something I’ve learned over the years in regard to delegation.

I’ve had people come to me ready to take things from me, but I didn’t know how to give it to them. I wasn’t ready. It honestly was going to take longer to show them how to do it than for me to just do it myself. I think that’s where many of us find ourselves. We have all these projects that are easier to do on our own, so we never let them go. This however is not a legitimate excuse for hanging on to tasks that other people should be doing.

What I’ve learned is that I have to figure out how to package tasks. Put them in neat little boxes that are easy to give away. Sure, it takes a little while to set up, but once it’s done, you’ll never (or rarely have to do it again). Here’s a few examples:

Video Preparation: We record our elementary large group services. We do this so that volunteers can watch their service and learn and improve. However, the camera we use isn’t very user friendly. It’s a great camera, but it store’s the video file in an unusual format. My computer had the appropriate software to convert the video, so early on it was me doing all the work. However, I invested 2-3 hours into packaging the task. I downloaded the appropriate software to the computer in the elementary space and created a couple of screen recordings showing step by step how to get the video off the camera, convert to a different file type and then upload to vimeo. After putting this together, I trained my elementary staff on how to do this task and now my elementary large group director has trained a few volunteers how to do it. There’s enough downtime between services that a volunteer can do it.

Early Childhood Promotion: Currently, we promote kids in early childhood to new rooms on a monthly basis. We’re going to be changing this soon, but it’s the way things have been set up. However, it’s a 60-90 minute task that must be completed after the last Sunday of the month every month. We have to log into our check-in software, open every early childhood environment and query the birthdates of the kids in that room. Kids who have aged out are the promoted to the next room. It’s a task that takes undivided attention. For nearly a year (4-5 years ago), I owned this task. Then I found a volunteer who seemed to love the details. I typed up detailed instructions and made a screen recording. It took about two hours to create the instructions and about an hour to train the volunteer to do it. She ended up doing this task every month for nearly a year. I did have to train 2-3 other people over the years, but it’s such a small use of my time now compared to when I had to do it. Now my Operations Director owns it and I don’t even have to train anyone anymore as she can handle it.

We’ve applied the same process to so many other tasks such as data entry and posting attendance to events. It’s really easy once you get the hang of it. It just takes making an investment in the front end.

So here’s how you do it.

Perform a task audit. What are all the tasks you’re doing on a weekly/monthly basis. Pick the 3-5 tasks that drain you the most, things that anyone could do but they happen to be on your plate right now.

Create a task training package. Write out detailed instructions on how to accomplish the task. Make it step by step rather than huge paragraphs. Include screenshots if you can. Create a screen recording if it’s computer related. Put all the information in a folder or a single document so that everything someone will need is in one place.

Find someone to help you. I find that the best people to take on some of these tasks are people who are already helping me. It’s a check in volunteer who has some downtime after all the families have arrived. It’s a volunteer who has time in the evenings or while the kids are in school. It’s a production volunteer who has extra time between the services that can knock something out.

Provide great training. Take an hour or two (if necessary) to adequately pass the information on to your helper. Watch the training video together and make comments to fill in the gaps you might have missed when you made the screen recording. The only time they’re really going to watch that video again is when they forgot a step. You might even do the task one or two times to show them how you do it. Then take the time to watch them do the task two or three times. Coach them along the way so they get it. Don’t just do it and then send them on their way. Let them do it while you watch.

That’s it. Yes, the task may only take an hour to do and you’ll spend 2-4 hours packaging the task and training someone, but once you’re done – you’re done. Now you can give your time to doing something that no one else can do.