The Wisdom of God-Directed Delegation

As the leader of a small ministry or church, one often plays countless roles from the top to the bottom of the organization out of sheer necessity. The Lead Pastor is also the administrator, the worship pastor, the visitation pastor, the custodian and sometimes even the groundskeeper because there’s no one else around who can do these important jobs. In my line of ministry, orphan care in Guatemala, these roles look a bit different. But when we first started in working in a small children’s home in the mountains of Guatemala in 2008 and then directing that home in 2010, we played most possible roles in the ministry. I was amateur gardener, part-time therapist, medicine and clothing distribution lady, administrator, social media guru, donor communications specialist, and chief fundraiser. Among other things, my husband was the makeshift handyman and carpenter, budget-balancer, security guard, tutor, driver, construction supervisor, and amateur farmer with mixed results.

After being in leadership over the orphanage for several years, my husband and I found ourselves in this type of situation, albeit on a much smaller scale. The number children in the orphanage had nearly tripled, the budgetary needs had gone through the roof, and the staff more than quadrupled. On top of leading a staff of over 50 people and fundraising for an ever-increasing number of hurt and abandoned children, we still found ourselves trying to fill roles we had no business continuing to fill.  Yet I struggled greatly with the idea of delegation, instead preferring to drive myself to the point of burnout in order to manage everything without the help of others. We knew that much more qualified people were out there to fill roles in construction and maintenance, counseling, hosting missions teams, academic tutoring, and more.

We began to ask the Lord to send them our way. And He did! We began to be approached by extremely gifted individuals who wanted to join what God was doing at the orphanage as missionaries, and the Lord provided funding to hire other qualified individuals in country. Our attempt at farming was replaced by an experienced farmer. Qualified Christian counselors replaced our attempt at therapy. Our attempt at carpentry and construction was replaced by a licensed contractor with over 30 years of experience. I could go on and on! And ultimately, despite my fear releasing control over details of many areas of the orphanage, the children of Casa Shalom have been incredibly blessed by the expertise of people who are truly effective in their respective areas! So much more blessed than if I’d refused God-directed delegation and tried to retain control of all the details myself.

There is great Biblical precedent for delegating to God-appointed leaders and members of our respective ministries.  From the Old Testament to the New, God’s Word is filled with leaders who delegate responsibilities to other believers.  Moses is the quintessential example of Biblical delegation. At the beginning of his time in leadership, duties were limited enough that Moses could accomplish all that needed to be done, as he was called by God. Yet when his responsibilities grew too large for one leader to manage, at his father-in-law’s Jethro’s urging, Moses delegated jobs that others could do, so that he could focus time limited time and energy on the jobs only he was qualified to do (Exodus 18).

Once we were freed of many duties that could be performed by more other leaders in our ministry, my husband and I were better able to focus on aspects of the ministry that only we were in position to do. Fundraising greatly improved, which allowed us to drastically improve the programs we offer the children at the orphanage. While delegation isn’t always possible due to lack of qualified people, if God provides those people, we can’t let our fear of releasing control of the details stand in the way. If we allow God to use those He’s called to come alongside us in ministry, we’ll be blown away by what He accomplishes! We will also be able to have greater lasting power in ministry, so we can finish the race God has called us to run.

Jessica Hanson and her husband Josh are the Directors of the Casa Shalom Orphanage in Guatemala, where 100 boys and girls of all ages are being raised in a holistic, loving environment. The Hansons have been missionaries to Guatemala since 2008 and Directors of the orphanage since 2010. They have two children, Sophia, 6, and Judah, 3.