By Joyce Thomas
Many clergy spouses assume leadership over ministries, church projects, and their own homes at the same time. They often do so without asking for help. However, a team of people working together can be much more effective at completing projects in a timely manner and with much less stress. I have found that delegating things to others who are committed to the goals of a ministry can help improve efficiency and effectiveness.
In working as the leader of a team, instead of on one’s own, clergy spouses can find valuable support. The leader of a team is responsible for:
1) the vision: what the overall project will look like
2) the goal: what is to be accomplished in the project
3) the strategy: what will need to happen to implement the project
Developing these three things is a great undertaking. It is critical for pastor spouses to be flexible enough to release parts of their project to someone else on their teams.
Working with a team gives leaders more time to clarify the vision, goals and strategies for their project. It gives leaders time to pace themselves and better accomplish what the project or ministry is designed to do. It also allows leaders to build camaraderie with those on their teams.
I learned some of these lessons when I worked in the women’s ministry at my former church. I had taken leadership over the women’s retreat committee, which took nearly nine months of planning, visioning, goals setting, strategizing, and delegating. Taking lead on this kind of project was a huge endeavor, as I became ultimately responsible for the whole team. However, I had to recognize my own limits and the fact that there were many able-bodied women willing to help. I also noticed that when I began to grow my team and delegate responsibilities, I started getting buy-in from those who would benefit from what was being offered through the ministry.
Sometimes clergy spouses have to ask for what they need in ministry in order to work smarter and more efficiently. They don’t need to feel rushed, overworked, or frantic at the end of a project. When clergy spouses begin to pace themselves in their church work and work less on their own, they will experience more satisfaction and contentment and less anxiety and exhaustion.
Remember this outstanding quote on delegation by Jackie Jackley: “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”. Dr. Joyce Scott Thomas is the Associate Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration.
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