Facilitating a small group discussion each week is not the only thing you are responsible to do in your life. Most people have at least one job, a family, volunteer with service organizations, and have other things to do. When you know that you have a busy season of your life approaching, you might want to delegate your facilitator responsibilities.[ref]
DELEGATION IN THE BIBLE
But, is delegation a biblical idea? Let’s take a look at some examples of delegation in the Bible.
Moses was in the wilderness with the nation of Israel and was listening to the people’s disputes against each other from “morning till evening” (Exod 18:13). He was a busy guy and likely had little time for anything else. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, saw what he was doing and told him,
21But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace. (Exod 18:21-23, NLT)
Jethro tells Moses to find some good leaders, to appoint them to a leadership position, and that those men could help Moses with his work.
Paul was writing about spiritual gifts to the believers in the city of Ephesus when he told them,
11Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-12, emphasis added)
Here Paul instructs us that the job of pastors and teachers is not to do ministry. Instead, their job is to equip people to do ministry.
Paul was writing the last of all of his letters we have in the New Testament when he told his disciple Timothy.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Tim 2:2, emphasis added)
Delegation is at the heart of Paul’s words here. Paul is asking Timothy to teach to others what Paul has already taught to Timothy.
Paul told another of his disciples, Titus a similar message.
I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. (Titus 1:5)
Titus was left on the island of Crete by Paul to do ministry. But the time has come now for Titus to delegate that ministry to the elders.
The apostle John was told,
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star. (Rev 22:16, emphasis added)
There are a few levels of delegation here. Jesus gives the message to an angel, and that angel gives the message to John, and John is supposed to give the message to the seven churches.[/ref]
DELEGATE YOUR BUSY WEEKS OR SEASONS
Four Practical Aspects to a Healthy Small Group
You need to have four elements in place in your small group to maintain a healthy and strong group. For the sake of review, let’s take a look at those.
Apprentice, Assistant, Coleader
First, get an apprentice, assistant, or co-leader for your group. This removes some of the burden on you to do all of the work of your small group.
Second, keep an “empty chair” in your small group each meeting. This is a place that a new person can sit in, and if it is not used, it is a reminder to your group to be praying for unsaved people.
Serving at Church and in the Community
Third, have your group serving every year. It is important that a group gets out and serves both at church and in our local community at least once a year.
Fourth, start your group with the Unifying Question each week. This reminds people about what they learned during the message at church over the weekend as well as what they need to be applying to their lives. It also encourages people in your group to actively worship God both in their small group during the week as well at church over the weekend.
Four Benefits of Delegating Your Busy Weeks
When you have a co-leader to delegate the facilitating of your group to when you are busy, it provides you with four benefits.
Frees Up Your Needed Time
First, it frees up your time for other things you need to handle in your life. Maybe you know that a family member will be having surgery, or there is a big project at work you need to handle, or you have family visiting from out of town. Whatever the reason might be, delegating your busy weeks will provide you some much needed time.
Develops Potential Small Group Facilitators
Second, when you delegate your ministry to another person it develops another potential future small group facilitator. Maybe that person will one day have a work schedule that prevents him from being part of your group, and as a result he decides to start another group because he has had experience facilitating your group. Or maybe he moves to another state and finds a local church there and wants to start a small group. When you delegate your busy weeks it allows for the development of future potential small group facilitators.
Gives Others a Purpose in the Group
Third, it gives someone a purpose and role in your group. One of the goals of a small group is to get everyone involved in the organization of the group. Having someone facilitate the discussion when you are busy is one way to get someone involved in your group.
Tells Everyone It’s Not “Your” Group
Fourth, it tells everyone that the group is not about you. It is good to remind people that as a small group facilitator you are God’s servant and available to do the ministries that God offers in your life. When you allow someone else to facilitate your group, it tells the group that anyone can be a facilitator. It also tells them that your goal is for them to learn and grow, but that it does not have to be you as the one helping them do that.