10 Steps to Completing Effective Handoffs



Delegation is crucial for church leaders. Are you making productive use of delegation in your children’s ministry program? Check out these biblical insights and practical tips from a kidmin veteran.

Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that doing the job alone just doesn’t work. Delegation is essential. I should have listened to Three Dog Night. They tried to teach me that “One Is the Loneliest Number That You’ll Ever Do.” As an avid football fan, I should have noticed that teams with the most depth at key positions win championships.

Moses also learned the hard way about delegation. Exodus 18 notes that Moses did everything in ministry by himself, and it caused problems on the job. That was tough on the people, as well. It wasn’t good for Moses or for his family. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, gave him some very wise advise and counsel. Simply put, he told Moses to build depth!


I know what you’re thinking: “My volunteers can’t teach a class or do children’s ministry as well as I can.” That may be true. But at some point you couldn’t minister as well as you can now. Someone allowed you to interact with kids and improve by doing hands-on ministry. We must embrace delegation and let kidmin volunteers learn by doing.


If you’re doing things that others can do, it will keep you from doing what only you can do. When you’re doing the things in ministry that only you can do, that’s when you will hear, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Let’s look at the most famous biblical account of delegation.

It’s in Acts 6:1-4. “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’”

Here we see it firsthand: The disciples were being kept from doing what only they could do by doing a project in ministry that others could do.

Some people in your church need to be needed more than you need the help. If you continue to do most of the ministry as well as the majority of the oversight yourself? Then they’ll never be able to step up. And, in turn, you’ll never be free to accomplish what God put only you on this Earth to accomplish.

The world would be in a mess without supervisors and coordinators to serve in middle-management positions. Why can’t we set up middle managers to help us? Phone calls and  returning of messages are some other projects we can easily delegate. But I recommend being slow to delegate to others the handling of difficult decisions.

Jethro warned Moses of this very thing in Exodus 18:21-22.But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.  Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.”

You can’t delegate the responsibilities of building relationships with your key workers. This is a job you must do. Defining the vision, evaluation, or fruit inspection as well as being ultimately responsible for the success of the children’s ministry of your church are projects only the leader should do.

With these things in mind, let’s look at 10 steps for effective delegation. These tips will help you develop depth in your volunteers through action. In the process, you’ll become a master of delegation and duplication.

10 Important Delegation Tips

1. Identify what you need to be doing.

Let’s look at Acts 6:2 again. “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables.’”

The disciples weren’t too good to wait tables. But this project was keeping them from what they needed to be doing. Loads of good ideas and church projects prevent us from doing the God-inspired and God-directed projects He has for us to do.

I’ve realized it’s more important that I train, guide, manage, and recruit than teach, sing, perform, and be the only person that the children identify with. The best thing I can do to grow is to allow others to be involved. Being a one-person show doesn’t work.

2. Identify tasks that others can do and let them do it.

Start with jobs you’re doing that others could do if they received proper training and coaching. Next, identify areas where you could use a worker if you had enough helpers. Don’t assume the same actions will bring different results; same actions always bring the same results.

“If you want what you have never had, you must be willing to do what you have never done!” The same is true for every volunteer. You can’t build depth without allowing others to have playing time!

3. Qualify all workers.

The disciples didn’t turn this responsibility over to just anybody. They found people from among them. People who were known. The job came with requirements, such as being full of the Spirit and wisdom. 

Jethro also gave Moses requirements for workers in Exodus 18:21, “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.” A major rule of delegation involves qualifying who you delegate responsibility to. Is that individual capable and able?

4. Define exactly what you want done.

Everyone needs a job description…especially volunteers! They also need checklists to show what you want them to do and to provide a way to communicate what they did. Remember: Always do what’s best for the children, not just for the adults. Rotation doesn’t work in building volunteers through action.

Look at Exodus 18:22“Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.”

This wasn’t a once-a-month job but an all-the-time commitment.

5. Train and teach the people you recruit.

Exodus 18:20 tells us to “Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” You must model to others how you want it done.  Classes are good, but hands-on training is better. Christians are the only people group I know that confuse the word training with verbal instruction. Every secular job that offers training does so by verbal communication in addition to hands-on training and mentoring. 

You don’t have to be the only model. I use my staff, master teachers, and coordinators to help me train and equip others. Everyone should help in the training and equipping process.

6. Push authority down!

It’s extremely important that you always delegate authority along with responsibility. One of the dumbest sayings I know is “The buck stops here.” There are many places for the buck to stop when you give authority to others. Those you delegate to cannot carry out the tasks that you desire without the authority.

7. Put your heart into the level of leadership under you.

A person can’t represent you well if they don’t have your heart. You can’t put your heart into your volunteer leaders without making a commitment to spend time with them. Whenever you can, take someone with you. Be quick to pass on your knowledge to someone else. Allow those around you to ask questions. Establish excellent lines of communication. Take advantage of every communication tool available. I use meetings, newsletters, and e-mails.  

8. Support and encourage those who help you.

It’s imperative to build a support structure around your volunteers. Our job isn’t to do all the work in children’s ministry but to train up others and prepare them for works of service. In the same way, we must lead others by encouragement. This isn’t as hard as you may think.

Here are five sure-fire ways to encourage kidmin volunteers. 

  • Catch people doing things right. Complement volunteers on a job well done.

  • Take calls from your volunteers.

  • Check on volunteers and see how they’re doing. Use your M.B.W.A. degree: Management by Walking Around.

  • Help others be better at what they do, every chance you get.

9. Make corrections and changes when necessary.

What if they quit? Why be negative…if they quit, they quit, but what if they change and become a super leader? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it; in other words, don’t make changes just for the sake of change. Every service can be better than the last one if you make changes and corrections each week. I make a list each Sunday, then spend my week correcting that list. Then next week, I get to make a new list.

10. Always set the pace as the leader.

Be the kind of person you’d like to work for. Dare to lead no matter what. Give volunteers an example to follow and a model worth imitating.

Delegation isn’t an option for people who want to succeed in ministry. First, you must take inventory of where you are. Start small and go from there. I try to recruit my team one worker at a time.

Ask yourself and your volunteers, “What do I need to do differently?” What volunteers do you see potential in? Commit to coach your volunteers, and let them learn by doing. Then you’ll have depth to win championships!


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