From Exodus 18:14-24 NKJ
When Moses’ father-in-law Jethro realized that his leadership style was having a negative effect on both Moses and the people, he gave him godly counsel concerning his priorities. Those of us who lead God’s people would do well to take heed to Jethro’s recommendations as well, lest we be diverted from the things that are truly important.
1. The Priority of Prayer
“Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.” (Exodus 18:19b NKJ)
As a Senior Pastor, I used to take time each day to pray for individuals in my congregation and to lift up those that were going through a difficult time. Taking the causes of the people to God in prayer as a priest is the first priority in the ministry.
2. The Priority of Teaching God’s Word
“And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws...” (20a)
As pastors, we need to be sure that every major doctrine is covered within the course of a year. No pastor can afford to teach only his pet doctrines. He must teach the whole counsel of God, for the sake of the people! When pastors get off balance and teach on only one area, the entire congregation suffers for it.
3. The Priority of Role Modeling
“…and show them the way in which they must walk…” (20b)
If there’s anything the Church needs today, it's godly role models! We need clergy and laymen alike to be examples to the flock. People will find it much easier to walk in the things of God, if they can see it lived out before them!
Near the end of his life, the Apostle Paul was able to say to Timothy, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love [and] perseverance” (2 Timothy 3:10).
4. The Priority of Equipping Believers
“…and the work they must do…” ( 18:20c)
According to Ephesians 4:11-12, one of the main functions of the five-fold ministry is to equip believers to do the work of the ministry. Victory Bible Colleges are equipping colleges! Our Churches are equipping Churches. Several times throughout the year, our churches and regions of churches have equipping times in which they teach and train the believers how to find their place in a team and do the work of the ministry. (Eph 4:16)
Equipping comes from a Greek medical term that means to put the bone into its rightful place in the body. It is vital that people find their P.L.A.C.E. in the body of Christ and do what they are called to do. (To learn more about finding your P.L.A.C.E. please get the VCI Equipping Series book titled Ministering Members).
5. The Priority of Releasing Believers
Jethro went on to give him some invaluable instruction:
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…” (21a)
Notice these were to be able and proven men in their abilities, skills and character! These were men with whom Moses had already spent time and effort in the equipping process. They were men who had previously accepted some responsibility and were willing to be accountable.
As a leader, it’s your job to see that things get done. But as the workload grows you will have to find people with talents equal to the task; otherwise everything will stop growing.
6. The Priority of Establishing Structure
“…and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”(21b)
Moses was only to do what his subordinates in leadership could not do. He was to organize his ministry in such a way that the people’s needs were met, and yet he didn’t have to do all of the work himself!
Jethro gave Moses the plans for a wonderful system; we call it the Exodus 18 principle. No matter how high you rose in leadership, there would always be someone above you to encourage you; and there would always be someone below you that you could invest your life into. This is the model for discipleship, and this is God’s way to build a church that will impact the world!
7. The Priority of Taking Action
“If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18:23)
I want you to notice that the promise in this verse is conditional! Jethro said, “If you do this thing....” Get your priorities in order and delegate some of the work. You won’t burn out, the needs of the people will be met, new leaders will be raised up and you will accomplish much more, with less effort! If you want to be a good leader, follow his example and work smarter not harder.
“Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” (v24)
When you begin to release people to fulfill the call of God on their lives, you have to be secure in yourself because many of the people you raise up will end up being better than you are! As your protégés grow and develop in their calling, people will begin to praise them and give them the credit for much of what you did!
You have to be self-assured in order to release ministries. I suppose that’s why not too many churches and leaders are doing it. Preparation time is a trying time and not too many are willing to stand with you while you are in preparation.Thank God for those who have stood with you and helped you during your time of preparation. Don’t forget to thank them, honor them and do the same for other emerging leaders. (2Tim 2:2)
There is No Limit to what God can do, through someone who doesn’t care who gets the credit.
Yours for the Discovering, Developing and Deploying of ‘No Limit Leaders’.
Dr George Hill