Exodus 18:13-14 – “And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” NKJV
When Jethro came to Moses in the wilderness and observed him ‘doing it all’ he chastised him in wise loving counsel and told his son-in-law, “The thing you do is not good. Both you and these people will surely wear yourselves out.” [v.17] Jethro further advised him to develop leadership groups training them, something that is often glaringly missing from most local churches in today’s world. I served as lead pastor through an era when it was largely ‘Let the Pastor do it, it is his job.’ A philosophy that does not come from the Bible but for misguided thinking, selfishness, or a delusion provided by the devil that has hindered the church local greatly and spread far too many pastors too thin and allowed them to wear out before their time.
In Ephesians Paul advised that the purpose of the ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers) is for the express purpose of EQUIPPING the saints for the ‘work of ministry, edifying the body of Christ’ UNTIL we all come to the unity of the faith. Are we there? I hope you did not say yes! Our Lord Jesus as he selected the Twelve we find that He appears to have invested more into Three than the other Nine and if our Lord mentored Twelve what makes us think we can effectively pastor and mentor thousands alone? Jesus demonstrated a method for us to not just observe be if the local church adopted His method we would find the ‘pastor’ shepherding ‘under-shepherds’ or captains of ‘tens’, ‘hundreds’, and ‘thousands’ and those men/women shepherding a their groups depending on their abilities and training spiritually.
Who has failed in this process? Is it that people are disinterested and unwilling to become involved making the required commitment to lead? Is it that the ministers have failed to mentor others to lead? Is it a fear of losing position, power, influence, or prestige? Probably a little of all the above but as a minister and former pastor I know that I failed in that aspect at times and as I have learned and look back on the years I now attempt to help young men and women desiring to be in ‘the ministry’ avoid those failures. When I speak to churches and especially church leadership I usually ‘hammer home’, when possible, the fact truth of what the “Pastor’s Job Biblically Really Is”. I have seen some churches buy into that after they took it to heart, prayer, and study and it has transformed their approach and ministry to their communities.
Some leaders do not know how to mentor or delegate and are perfectly content to ‘burn out for Jesus’ as they declare it trying to be a ‘One man/woman show.’ I do not believe that will hear an ‘Atta Boy’ from Jesus on the day we stand before Him and the words of Jethro to Moses will probably be playing in the background as He addresses us.
Church if we want the church local to be the church Jesus described we need to change our way of thinking about purposes and begin to be a Book of Acts Church following biblical principles and as we do I believe we will impact our world in a much more dynamic and powerful manner.
God bless you as you go through your day!