READING – Exodus 18

MEDITATION – God was doing good things! When Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, visited him and heard of the spectacular works of God in their behalf, they thanked God with sacrifices and held a celebratory meal (vv. 10-13).

But God’s appointed leader, Moses, was doing too much. Notice the description, “all that he was doing for the people” (v. 14). Moses was busy doing good work and apparently it was not selfishly motivated. We might even say he was practicing servant-leadership. But one man was doing too much.

Would Jethro’s evaluation of Moses’ work be similar for you – “What you are doing is not good”? A leader doing all the work will eventually wear out. And he is actually hurting the people he is trying to help.

One of the most important responsibilities of leadership is identifying, enlisting, and equipping people qualified by ability and character to share the work (19-22). An effective leader proactively determines his role and primary responsibilities and prioritizes them. He enlists qualified people and equips them for additional roles and responsibilities that help the group fulfill its purpose. The result of working this way is an enduring ministry and an effective ministry.

A lot of emphasis is placed on servant-leadership in Christian teaching, and rightfully so. But this can lead to a misperception of how one leads effectively according to a biblical pattern. Serving others does not mean doing everything yourself. Leading effectively includes knowing one’s role and discerning the responsibilities and tasks necessary to fulfilling that role, then enlisting and equipping others to fill roles, take responsibilities, and complete tasks that fulfill the purpose of the group or organization.

PRAYER – Father, thank you for endowing your church with people who are gifted so together we can build up the body of Christ. Give me wisdom to discern my role and primary responsibilities so I can enlist others in fulfilling theirs.

Humble my heart so I will be open to the constructive advice of outsiders.

Enable me to distinguish between pragmatic business models and efficient ministry practices. Guide me in implementing practices that are truly good for all – both the leaders and the rest of the people.

Lift my head from existing day to day. Open my eyes to a long-term view of ministry. Deliver me from unwise practices that wear me down or burn me out.

By your grace, make my ministry both effective and enduring.

Keeping Your Voice Strong for Lifelong Ministry

Have you heard of glottal fry? Should you preach with a sore throat? Want to nerd out with a speech pathologist on vocal mechanics? What are some bad speaking habits you should avoid? Should you use amplification even in smaller settings?

Every trade or profession has its tools. A carpenter uses a saw, a surgeon uses a scalpel, a graphic artist uses design software, and so on. As a minister of the Word you have several instruments you use to do your work. One that is very critical is your voice.

You need to take care of your voice, use it correctly, and protect it from damage. A strong voice is essential to long term ministry of the Word.

Episode 19 of the Shepherdology Podcast is an interview with Speech-Language Pathologist Elena Kimbrough. She has a passion to help communicators develop and protect their voices. Listen and learn how to keep your voice strong so it will last as long as your ministry. This info applies to online preaching too!

Click here to listen to Shepherdology Podcast Episode 19 – Keeping Your Voice Strong for Lifelong Ministry.


BIBLE READINGExodus 17:8-16

Believers face daily battles. Ministry leaders help them learn to rely on God for victory.

Our conflict today is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Moses had learned from previous experience that God fought in the Israelites’ behalf. He trusted in God rather than battle plans or superior fighting capability.

As a leader, your dependence on God is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose. Your example also reminds those you lead that success comes from God and, not only leaders, but everyone must continually depend on Him.

Moses’ upraised staff may have signaled the Israelite army to attack, or might have represented an oath of destruction against Amalek. But most interpreters understand this action to represent reliance on God through prayer in behalf of the people as they fought. It represented his trust in God and reminded the Israelite warriors to do the same while in the midst of battle.

Those in leadership can grow weary, as Moses did, of the labor of continual reliance on God. That sounds strange, but prayer is hard work. It does not happen naturally. Fighting our natural bent toward self-reliance is exhausting. Committing the time to pray and refraining from other activity requires self-discipline.

Just like Moses had Aaron and Hur to help him, people in our lives can challenge, encourage, and assist us to depend on God. These may be pastoral team members, deacons, prayer partners, or friends.

Moses’ uplifted staff became Israel’s rallying standard – “The Lord is my banner.” Confidence in God swelled their hearts and compelled them forward into battle.

Moses’ action lifted their gaze from man to God, from opposition to sure victory. Through their confidence in God they won the day.

As a leader, be careful about cultivating others’ reliance on you. Model dependence on God and encourage them to rally around Him.

Father, help me remember that each day I enter spiritual battle and lead others in war. We cannot do this in our own strength. You are our victory.

I pray for those in my spiritual care. They go to war today. Remind them that you are their source of strength, wisdom, and victory. Help them rely wholly on you.

Give them victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. At the end of the day, may they know success came from you and thank you for it.

You are our banner. We rally to you!