Consider Moses. We see in Exodus that he was hesitant about leading. He recognized his human limitations and was wise to ask the Lord for companions to compensate in the areas where he saw shortcomings. And the Lord, rather than respond harshly and tell him to go it alone, provided leaders like Joshua and Caleb to help carry the load.
In Exodus 18, we see Moses’ father-in-law, spending some time with him and concluding he is on burnout pace.
Allow me license to move pastor Moses forward to our present time. I picture his father-in-law meeting him at 6:30 am where Pastor Moses leads a study for men. Without much time given to conversation and sharing life with these men, Moses moves on at the prompting of his PDA to make his 9 am breakfast meeting with a local businessman who is considering membership in his church. By 10:30 AM Pastor Moses walks past his secretary into his office and sits behind his desk with its Post-It notes and to-do lists scattered about. It is not a minute later when his secretary walks in carrying her black book of deadlines and details asking if he has a moment. Thirty minutes later she finishes reminding him of appointments, meetings and people in hospital and heads back to her spot in the outter office.
“Is this a normal da-” Jethro’s question is interupted by a beep on the phone and the secretary telling Moses that a deacon would like to know if he has “a moment” to discuss “an issue.” He can’t well turn away a deacon so he welcomes him in.
The moment turns into a half an hour in which his friend tells him of “a lot” of people who are considering leaving the church because “they” don’t like the style of the new worship leader. He knew that Moses would want to know.
He has time to return two quick calls before the monthly lunch meeting with area pastors. Moses and Jethro head out the door running late. By 1:00 they sneak out the back of the room to head to the hospital to make three quick visits and then are back at the church by 2:30. As they walk through the office the secretary reminds Pastor Moses that his monthly letter for the newsletter has to be to her by 3:30 because she leaves at 4:00.
Moses sits at his keyboard and begins typing his article. He isn’t fifteen minutes into the process when the beep on the phone brings the familiar voice telling him that the new worship leader is on the phone and would like to talk to him. Moses knows his worship leader has most likely gotten wind of “people” being unhappy with changes. He sighs and picks up the phone.
As he hangs up having one more fire put out, his secretary pokes her head in the door to tell him she is leaving for the day and tells him that the newsletter is on hold until he gets his letter done.
“Honey, I’m going to grab supper here tonight,” he tells his wife on the phone. “I have to finish this article and then go to the deacons meeting tonight. Kiss the kids.”
I can imagine Jethro calling timeout and being firm with his son in law. He sees that his work load is out of balance. In fact, while it is holding things together right now, his solo approach is limiting ministry and not allowing others to grow by leading. Jethro helps his son-in-law share the load by showing him how to delegate tasks and develop team systems to share leadership.
Here today, too many of us enjoy the ego-stoking thrill of being THE ONE who calls all the shots and makes all decisions. But, our human limits are far below what God desires to bring about through team leadership. Team leadership allows us time to connect, time to breathe, time to commune with God. Team leadership ensures that others share the load and have the opportunity to grow in their relationships with the Lord.
Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.