Letting Go of the Know

When you are in the beginning stages of empowering or developing a leader, you probably want to know a lot and control a lot. You are building trust. Once a leader is trained and functioning well, it’s time to “let go of the know.”

Here's an example: Sam Roberts oversees all of our Life.Church campuses and pastors. Because we’ve developed a deep trust, he knows what I need to know. Rather than me interacting regularly with every campus pastor, I interact regularly with one leader.

When someone else knows what I need to know, I don’t have to worry about the details. As we hand off our need to know and control to trusted teammates, we are freed up to lead big rather than micromanage.

The Gift of Not Knowing

We had a group of pastors visiting. When they started asking me questions, I deferred to several trusted staff members. After about 30 minutes of looking to my team to answer questions, one pastor said, “Craig, there are a lot of things about your church that you don’t know!”

When I told him “thanks,” he seemed surprised.

I unquestionably want to know when people need prayer, when major problems arise, and when my help or vision is needed, but there are so many things I really don’t want to know.

If I have capable team members and volunteers who know about issues and can make decisions without me, that’s all I really need to know about those issues.

Instead of always knowing “what” is happening with a project, what we really need to know is “who” is leading the project. If we have the right “who,” we shouldn’t have to worry about the “what.” If we have the wrong “who,” then we need to know the “what.” If you find that you consistently need to dig in to every aspect of what is happening with a certain project, you have one of two problems:

1. You are not an empowering leader.

2. You have the wrong “who" in place. 

Either way, the problem needs to be fixed. Evaluate the strengths, talents, and calling of the team member involved and decide if you need to empower them to lead more fully or if you need to move them to an area better suited to their skills. 

What we've learned:

Having a team around you should help to make your ministry operate more efficiently; it shouldn't mean that you're involved in the day-to-day decisions of your growing staff. Choose talented leaders and help them develop into trusted captains in their areas. Then, you'll be able to delegate projects and trust in the results because you trust in the leaders managing them.

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