What's in this session?

  • Dustin's Facebook message (0:21)
  • Small church pastors (1:15)
  • Try to understand where they're coming from (2:46)
  • Growth requires delegation (3:26)
  • The process (3:26)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there. Welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we navigate the biggest communication shifts we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’re talking about when your pastor keeps interfering with your creative ministry.

Brady Shearer: The topic for this episode Of Pro Church Daily was triggered from a Facebook message that I got from a guy named Dustin, and I wanna read aloud what he sent.

Alex Mills: Hashtag triggered.

Brady Shearer: Dustin said, “Okay, I showed my pastor the website I built for our church in which I’m very proud of. It’s the first one that I’ve designed, and I think it looks good. Me being the designer, I’m really picky about how things look and how they feel. Well, my pastor asked to be an admin on the website. He said he wants to design his own page called, From the Pastor’s Desk, and I just don’t think I want to let him because he has no sense of design. Should I let him, or should I try to talk him out of it?”

Dustin’s story is one that many of us have experienced firsthand. And I think there’s some context that we can add to Dustin’s scenario that will make this conversation a little bit more helpful. Dustin comes from a church of about 50 people. This is something that we see way more, disproportionately more, in smaller churches than in larger churches. The simple reason for that is not that larger churches are better. But if you are a church of 1000, it is impossible for the lead pastor to do everything. You can’t reach that size without delegating and bringing on people that are either smarter than you, better than you or just have more available time than you, and then you can delegate certain tasks and ministries to them.

We’ve seen this same exact thing at Pro Church Tools, when the Nucleus launched finished, I kind of sat our whole team down and I said, “Look, guys, and girl, I cannot do Pro Church Tools and what we do here with Nucleus and Story Tape and our other products without you.” That didn’t used to be the case. It used to be the case that we hired people and I gave them stuff that I could do, and I just didn’t have the time for, and that was kind of the first step. Now we’ve gotten to the point where, for instance, we have three certified drone operators, yourself included, licensed in Canada and America. I have never flown a drone once in my entire life. That may come as a surprise to a lot of people because wait, Story Tape is like 30% aerial footage, I have not flown a drone. If you gave me the drone, I would break it and then yell at you for giving me the drones to begin with, because you should not allowed me to.

When you are at church of 250 or less, and really the smaller you are, the more this is a problem or potential problem. What you have to understand, and this is the first step I think for Dustin to navigate this situation, to empathize with his pastor and understand where he or she is coming from. If you’re a pastor of a church of 50 people, you are very conditioned to do every single thing yourself. Out of necessity. We see this when the lead pastor is also the worship pastor and they’re also running the student ministry. And they’re also the one that are doing visitation and they’re helping with the outreach, and they’re going to the food bank. Because they’re the lead pastor of about 50 people, and that means they have to do everything.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: If you want to grow beyond that, if that’s a goal of yours to have more people or if it’s a goal of yours to do things that you are just not equipped to do, you need to begin that very difficult process of delegating what you should not be doing or what you cannot be doing. Or what you’re just not able to do to others.

The book that really helped me out as a leader do this, is a book called The E-myth Revisited, it’s probably been the most influential book that I’ve ever read when it comes to managing a team and running an organization. It was the first book that almost gave me a matrix, essentially, of saying, “Okay, here’s what you should be doing. And here’s what you could be doing and what probably shouldn’t be doing. And here’s what you actually are unable to do skill wise, expertise wise.” That really allowed me to kind of fill up those columns each and say, “Okay, this is what I should be doing. And I can delegate this to Mitch, our first employee, and I can give this off to our editor.”

And so, I would first, Dustin, just empathize with your pastor. Understand where they’re coming from. They are not used to being able to hand something off to somebody else. They are so conditioned to doing everything themselves, that it’s just their second nature to be like, “Oh yeah, I’d like to create my own page.” I’m not saying that you empathizing with them will make this conversation or navigating this any easier, but it’s just important to understand where they are coming from. At the end of the day, this is the bottom line for you, Dustin, you cannot do your job if you’re senior leadership is gonna be micromanaging you and not allowing you to do it.

You need to have that conversation with them. First, be like, “Look, I understand. I’m here to help you. Look, you are so good at X Y and Z. I don’t think that you want to be doing web design. I’m here to do that for you.” This is where the conversation becomes a little bit easier, because at the end of the day, you’re just trying to make things easier for them. I’m trying to take less work off of your plate, so that you can do the work that really matters that only you can do. You’re a pastor and a smaller church, where have you seen this happen?

Alex Mills: Yeah. I can speak to this directly because when you were describing that situation of small churches and pastors, you’re reading my mail because I’m an associate pastor of a church of about 100 people. And so, I know exactly what it’s like. This is not true in every case, but in a lot of cases with smaller churches like 50 people, 75 people, 100 people, your senior pastor is likely one of your founding members. Like I said, that’s not true in every case. But in a lot of cases, they built a lot of what your churches is, from the ground up with their own hands and they were the only hands often at some point.

And so, to take some of those responsibilities out of their hands, you used the language earlier, this can be a difficult transition, but it’s one that’s necessary. You’ve seen this, Brady, in growing this company. You Built it up with your own two hands, and then that came to a point where your hands couldn’t hold everything anymore, and you had to start delegating. That’s kind of … It’s foreign territory. It can be uncomfortable and different, but it’s just, it’s necessary.

Something that I’ve done, Dustin, in my own church. I’ve kind of had to surrender a little bit of room for our senior pastor. What I mean by that is, our pastor doesn’t know anything about design, doesn’t care too much about aesthetic on Facebook or whatever, but he really likes to write some of his own thoughts on our public Facebook page on Sunday morning.

At first, when he started asking me, “Hey, can I post something on Sunday morning?” I didn’t know how to say that because I didn’t know what to say. Because I have a daily posting schedule on our Facebook page and what he wanted to post wasn’t really fitting in with what I was going for during the week. But what I found was, when I started saying, yes, and he was breaking all the rules. Like not using any images, no emojis, just writing, just basic text and not doing it in-

Brady Shearer: For this is the day that the Lord had made.

Alex Mills: Yeah, just not doing it in great formatting to get people’s attention on Facebook. Breaking all the rules. What’s so offensive to me about what happened was, every single time his Sunday morning posts that break all of our social media of best practice rules, they always perform better than my posts during the week.

I take so much time to curate all these thoughtful posts, create designs, polls, engaging stuff, all this stuff and a lot of it performs well. But those Sunday morning posts that he used write just blow mine out of the water. And so, I kinda had to let him color outside of this box that I had created. Especially as creatives, we do that. We have this list of guidelines or even brand books or whatever and we have to stay within these lines. But I gave him just the freedom on one day a week to post outside of that brand book, and he surprised me, and our church engages with it more often than how they’re engaging with what I’m posting. So, you never know what can happen with this page that he wants to design and your website. Maybe find a way to compromise and kind of see his vision come to reality., While making that transition of giving some responsibility to you and your creative team.

Brady Shearer: I think what you’re alluding to is the process. It’s not an instant thing where you’re used to doing everything, and then suddenly you’re delegating. At this point, there are only a small select number of things within the Pro Church Tools organization that I do, and nobody else does. Most of it is content based, because that’s really one of the select few things that only I can do. Almost everything else is delegated. It is now so much easier for me to delegate, because I’ve seen how powerful it can be.

The first time I handed something off to Mitch, our first employee I was like, “Mitch, don’t screw it up. Mitch told screw it up. Mitch don’t screw it up.” Eventually, Mitch screwed it up and I had to kind of deal with that first time that happened. But, what was amazing was how much free time I was then given to do the things that I knew that I needed to be spending time on, because he was doing kind of these mundane tasks that I didn’t wanna do. And so, what you’re alluding to here is like, okay, I’m still gonna take the vast majority of this work load because it’s what I need to be doing. I can create this kind of small margin, this sliver, where he can still feel like he’s involved.

It kind of evolves. It just starts smaller or it starts bigger, and then it gets smaller or whatever. You wanna just kind of be beginning to move always forward towards progressing towards everyone maximizing their strengths and weaknesses, while still maintaining the team. It’s very difficult. It’s kind of this endless dance. And so, our best wishes, Dustin. Good luck in this conversation. Feel free to check out that book, E-myth Revisited. It was helpful for me, perhaps it could be helpful for you.

That will do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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