History repeats itself. The Bible shows us a leadership-administrative problem encountered by Moses and corrected by Jethro. The Israelite leader, wearing too many hats and pulled in too many directions, went to his father-in-law for advice. The wise Jethro shared that what Moses was doing (his solo approach to leadership) was not good and was going to wear him out! What he needed was to assign leaders of good character to administrate the work under him. Moses would give attention to the big picture and problems that affected the overall operation while creating an administrative flow chart that would result in needs being met and, criticism being handled, and the freeing up of the leader to give his attention to priority issues. As a result, more leaders were involved and given an opportunity to use their gifts.
J. Oswald Sanders write in his book Spiritual Leadership,
Jethro proposed a two-part plan. Moses would continue to teach spiritual principles and exercise legislative leadership. He would also decide the hard cases at court. But much of his work would be delegated to competent, trustworthy subordinates.
Jethro spoke wisely, for if Moses had succumbed under the strain, he would have left behind chaos – no one trained to lead, no one in charge of anything.
Moses followed his advice and realized several benefits. He was able to concentrate on the biggest problems. The latent talents of many around him were discovered. Those gifted men, who could have become his critics had Moses continued alone, were now allies facing a common challenge. People-problems were solved with efficiency. And Moses laid the groundwork for effective leadership after his death.
The same scenario repeats itself a few thousand years later in the life of the early church. The apostles, wearing themselves out trying to oversee all of the ministries, are neglecting prayer, Bible study, and disciple-making. The answer lies in calling out seven men who will become administrators of the ministries while the apostles could devote themselves to being spiritual directors: to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. The result? “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of disciples continued to increase greatly.” (Acts 6:7)
Involving others in the work creates a healthier system.
Just like a locomotive requires good solid tracks in order to run, so our church needs a sound structure to hold the blessings God intends to give. May we build a solid structure on which He can ride!
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