One of the most common struggles parish leaders seem to have with discipleship involves trusting in the competence of their adults to truly lead the discipleship groups. This is one reason why I recommend that the actual “program” taking place in the parish be focused on forming, mentoring, and guiding adults to be disciple-makers. Such a program develops these leaders to have a missionary heart, which then naturally leads them to service in discipleship, youth groups, small discipleship groups, etc. The difficult part is that in this model, the actual youth ministers are volunteers.

To facilitate this type of training, and also in order to help parishes develop greater trust in their adults over time, I have outlined five levels of delegation that reflect the amount and type of responsibility for which individual adults are ready. This tool helps to identify the type of tasks each person can handle and what are some concrete steps a leader can take to encourage them in each phase of their growth. Helping adults progress through each of these levels will also help them build their own confidence to lead those with whom they are working.

Level 1 – I Create The Plan

Do exactly what I have asked you to do. I have a plan that often works for people getting started. Report back to me regularly as you do it, explaining what’s working and what isn’t. I want to help you succeed.

Level 2 – We Create the Plan

Let’s sit down and come up with a plan together. I want to help you grow as much as possible as a leader and help you to understand what should be considered as you plan for your group.

Level 3 – You Create the Plan and Run it By Me

Come up with a plan and present it to me. Explain to me how you came up with it . I want to have the opportunity to speak into your planning as needed and approve your plan before you share it with your group.

Level 4 – I Trust You

I trust you and want you to feel free to make decisions on your own because I believe that you understand the vision for discipleship and have the right intentions. I trust that you will keep me informed of what you are doing and will ask permission before doing anything out of the ordinary.

Level 5 – Help Me Help Others

I want you involved in helping other leaders do what I have done with you.

It will be through a process like this that a parish will be able to deepen the discipleship efforts with their leaders. Spending more time with those in the lower levels and letting go and trusting those in the higher levels will allow parish priests and staff and slowly grow a parish of leaders that not only are trusted but have been given what they need to lead with confidence.