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Delegate or Die: Small Group Ministry Essentials

Are you a one-man-band when it comes to small group leadership?

Do you perform all the duties while the members of your group sit on the sidelines?  

The expression “delegate or die” rings true for everyone who’s ever led a small group.

The lack of delegation is the number one cause of small group leader burn out. It’s a skill that can make or break a leader’s effectiveness and ministry success. Let’s first understand the meaning of delegation.

Delegation can be described as sharing ministry by enabling people to serve the church and community on behalf of an ongoing ministry team, a specific project or an event. It’s not dumping a responsibility on someone and abandoning them to complete the task alone. By delegating, we spread out ministry functions, but support the person serving so ministry is shared as a team rather than by a lone ranger.

In the small group setting, this means that each member of the group should have ownership in the group, and supports its mission and functionality. So the question becomes—how are you going to make that happen?

In order to decide which ministry roles and functions of your small group can be delegated, determine what:

1. Can be …

Which items can be given to a group member to perform?

As the small group leader, there may be some responsibilities that you just can’t pass to others. This may include items such as facilitating the lesson, casting the vision, enforcing a covenant or providing accountability to the small group ministry director.

Examine the ministry functions you are doing on a weekly basis and determine which items can be taken off your plate.

2. Should be …

Which items are you doing now that should be delegated to someone else?

When I was first married, my wife questioned why she was the one who always provided the dessert at our small group meeting. Explaining that it was because I was the leader didn’t seem to fly. It was an ah-ha moment in understanding that others needed to be included in this responsibility.

When we take on a ministry role that can be filled by someone else, we deny that individual their joy of serving. Every task, no matter how small, can be an opportunity for someone to experience ministry, grow in leadership responsibility, and develop their skills, gifts and abilities.