Empowerment is the heartbeat of ministry. Do you empower others? Ephesians 4:11-12 states this plainly when Paul tells us to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Practically speaking, you can’t do all the work of ministry by yourself. In fact, if you don’t empower others then the capacity of your ministry is limited to your individual abilities. 

As ministry leaders, we are to empower others to act, make decisions and shepherd others. Nobody said it was easy though! There are several common barriers that keep leaders from equipping other people. See which one of these hurdles you need to overcome.

Ego “I Want The Credit.”

Often, we don’t share responsibility, because we don’t want to share the spotlight. By empowering others, the credit for success moves from yourself to the emerging leader. The loss of direct recognition causes some people to hold on to all the decision-making. Instead, as leaders, we must understand that recognition given to our team members is the highest praise we can receive. 

If not, we are prone to be like King Saul who became envious of David when he receives more credit than him for Israel’s success (1 Samuel 18).

Pause for a moment and ask the Lord if this is a blindspot in your ministry.

Excellence “It Would Be Better If I Did It”

When a leader empowers others, the productivity will initially drop. As an experienced leader, you are in your position because of excellence. 

An emerging leader most likely has never held the responsibility you are handing them. It may be especially nerve-wracking to pass off ministry responsibility to young leaders. Let me assure you, this is an investment worth making. 

At the beginning, the new leader’s production may not match your standard of excellence. But empowerment is not the enemy of excellence. You have to shift our focus from the short-term loss of productivity, to the long-term gain of a new leader.

Expediency “It Would Be Quicker If I Did It”

No leader has ever said, “I just have too much time on my hands.” Often, leaders struggle to fit everything into a normal week. This prevents leaders from empowering others, because it takes time to stop and evaluate how you could do things differently and what decisions you could delegate. 

Also, once you delegate a project to an emerging leader, it takes significant time to train them to do what you do. Much like the excellence barrier, we must focus on the long-term gain, not the short-term loss.

Remind yourself of this as well: we never see Jesus in a hurry and he had way more on his plate than you! His concern was quality and longevity.

Control ”I Don’t Know What Will Happen If I Let Others Do It”

The control barrier is often driven by fear. We worry about what will happen if every decision doesn’t go through our personal filter. The controlling leader has little faith in anyone other than himself. 

He has also naively attributed success in the ministry to their leadership and not God’s provision. If we want our ministry to grow, we must see the potential in people and extend trust. We can have growth or control, but we can’t have both.

Clarity “I Don’t Know What to Give Away”

A common struggle for leaders is to organize their thoughts and externalize what an organization needs. Discernment and intuition are two things needed in a good leader. But unless a leader can externalize what he does naturally, it will prevent him from providing the necessary clarity to empower others. 

It is important for us to take time to identify not just the decisions that need to be made, but the values and the philosophy behind those decisions. Until we unpack what we do naturally and share it with others, we will continue to be the lid for the ministry.

Guilt “I Feel Guilty Giving That Away”

Leaders often feel guilt about delegating responsibilities. They feel like they won’t be fulfilling to the emerging leader because it is either too big, too small, or unenjoyable (to you). Often, the problem is not with the responsibility, but with the leader. Empowerment takes practice. 

For large projects, people need an inspiring vision. For small projects, people need to see the significance of their role. For the “unenjoyable” tasks, you need to find the person who would enjoy it. When we select the right person, give clear expectations, an inspiring vision, and good coaching, emerging leaders will feel energized about their role whether it is big or small.

Complexity “It’s Too Much To Give Away”

Often, responsibilities are overly-complex. In order to contribute, you have to be a staff member, formally trained, or willing to give up all other hobbies and interests. A leader needs to assess the full scope of these responsibilities and identify areas that can be simplified. If a task is too complex to delegate, then it may simply be too complex. 

Additionally, the leader needs to be intentional about providing support and training that will maximize an emerging leader’s contribution.

Empowering others is not only beneficial, it is essential. If you want longevity and quality in your ministry, you must put time and energy into empowerment! 

Consider how empowerment will help those in your church and other leaders from around the country as you look to fulfill your God-given potential through the Replicate Collective!

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