Monday, April 19, 2010

How Did Jesus Delegate?

The passage about Jesus sending out the 12 Disciples really caught my attention this week...
"Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." (Mark 6:7-13, NIV)
We can learn a lot from Jesus' approach as a leader to delegation of ministry in this passage. Many have found great points from this passage, but here's what I took away this week:
  1. What He asked them to do was something He recently modeled for them. This was very early on in His ministry, the disciples have only been with Him a short time.
  2. As newbies, the disciples got some very detailed direction - Ken Blanchard in Lead Like Jesus points out that leadership style should be situational - motivated new folks do need more direction.
  3. But notice the specifics he gave them were vision plus boundaries - the overall approach, who, where, resourcing, nuts and bolts things that they would otherwise never know - and that would get them completely off target if they got it wrong. 
  4. He gave very little direction on the how-to of the ministry itself - He did not give detailed instructions on what to preach, how to heal the sick, and how to get rid of demons (!) They had seen the Master model all of this, and were free to use their own judgment and be who they are in doing ministry. 
  5. Imagine how much more eager to learn the disciples would be on their return! Adults learn best by trial and error, telling stories, asking a ton of questions, really connecting the dots. This is Deploy-and-Debrief form of ministry training, as opposed to training them for years on every hypothetical situation before letting them try it. 
  6. Mk 7:1 - he gave them authority and power - this is key for delegation.
  7. Also, he sent them out in pairs - there is great benefit to never doing ministry alone.
  8. He reminded them to stay focused, it's about their message and faith, not fancy tools or equipment.
  9. He reminded them that the results are not up to them; shrug it off if no one responds.
  10. This is not an isolated incident - Jesus is consistent, repeating this approach when He sends out the 72 in Luke 10.
We find out later in the Gospels that they had a lot of great success with this method... except when they forgot one little thing... prayer!

How do you give out ministry responsibility to others? Tell them how to do everything? Delegate without direction? Train for every possible situation before letting people serve? Do you model what you ask your people to do and be? Do you paint a clear picture of the desire outcome?

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