<<entrust, assign>>

To delegate is to distribute the tasks to be done and share the responsibility. If the load is too heavy to carry alone, enlist the help and expertise of others, this requires sharing the vision and surrender some of the control. Give clear instructions with sufficient authority to make necessary decisions and let

Authority structures function best through delegation and teamwork

them accomplish within specified boundaries without your interference. Involving others gives them a sense of ownership, responsibility and a feeling of privilege. Be available to advise if asked, yet allow them to make their own decisions – only if there are major issues should you step in to provide correction. Acknowledge and reward those who ably assist you (Mt 25:21,23). This approach helps develop the potential of others and releases you to focus on the overall larger picture rather than being bogged down in the minor practicalities. Delegation is not getting others to do what you don’t want to do or is your own responsibility, but utilizing the range of resources and ability available (Gal 6:5).

Jesus gave the disciples authority and sent them out to heal the sick, and declare “the Kingdom of God is near you…They returned stating even the demons submit to us in your name” (Lk 10:1,9,17-20). The Great Commission is the mandate for all believers to be actively involved in extending His Kingdom. Jesus has delegated to us, His followers, the task of carrying on where He left off (Mt 28:18-20). He said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (Jn 20:21). What sort of job am I making of these orders by the Saviour?

Jesus gives special spiritual qualities or ministry gifts to various people so they in turn can train and equip others “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph 4:11-13). By working together co-operatively, under the Lordship of Christ, the joint effort will achieve more than the individual inputs. Timothy was instructed to pass on the teaching he had received and train up others so they in turn could duplicate the message (2 Tim 2:2).

Burnout occurs when people think they are the only ones able to do a particular task, and are not willing to hand over some responsibility to other capable team players. Moses, when leading the Israelites (considered over two million) through the desert, was endeavouring to carry the full responsibility alone. He said, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me”. The solution was to involve and mentor others so they became skillful and effective leaders too, although he still retained overall responsibility (Ex 18:13-26; Num 11:14,17; Deut 1:9-18). Similarly, in the early church helpers were appointed to take care of the practical ministries while the apostles gave their full attention to the spiritual matters (Act 6:1-4).

Even in secular society delegated authority is someone who represents God's authority, though many are opposed to God and His ways (Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13,14). All authority belongs to God yet it is expressed two ways. Either directly through His Word or the Holy Spirit, or indirectly through designated people structures, or chains of command that

Obey delegated authority in order to fully obey God

represent Him, such as those in government, family, church and business. The only time we should disobey human directives is when it clearly violates the clear direction of Scripture, and then we must be prepared to accept the consequences (Act 5:29).

See also: accountability, authority, burnout, disciple/discipleship, empower, great commission, mentor.