“Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you.” (Ex 18:17-18)
Moses took it upon himself to hear every concern and struggle that the Israelite people had. He thought good leadership meant handling every person and every detail. His father-in-law thought otherwise. Turns out, God agreed with Jethro and not Moses.
Good leadership isn’t the same as doing everything for people. Good leadership trusts people. David had his mighty men. Joshua led Israel’s army as a young man while Moses looked on with staff held high. Jesus had His apostles and sent out the seventy.
I have no doubt that Jesus would have done a better job than the seventy and Moses was more qualified to lead than Joshua, but part of leadership is trusting people, giving them opportunity to work, and letting them learn and grow through the process so that another generation of leaders grows up. That is what Jethro is referring to when he says,
“If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.” (Ex 18:23)
Leadership that delegates doesn’t face burn out and is exponentially more effective. Delegation empowers people to serve and work instead of just being spoon-fed truth by the already mature. To exercise their talents and gifts instead of simply waiting for others to make it happen.
So, how can you help? As the elders and the deacons are working, they will see opportunities to delegate some of their work to others. You can protect them from burn out and strengthen yourself for future leadership at the same time by making yourself available to help and then following through when giving a task. It is a tremendous help to them and to the congregation as a whole! Many hands make light work and there is strength in numbers.
There will be times when you won’t want to do something because you are afraid you might fail – try anyways! Every successful leader has failed along the way, it is just part of the process of growing. Nobody is expecting perfection, just effort.
Think of how much God is glorified when all of his people work together to volunteer, share the load, delegate, and make new leaders for the generations to come! That is what Paul meant when he talked about entrusting the gospel to others who could teach the next generation.
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2)
And one final note, these principles don’t just apply in the local church. They also apply to our families. Give your kids chores – you are building their character when you do!