Praying for our leaders is Scriptural and commendable, but it’s not enough. We can conduct ourselves in such a way as to bring a smile to our leader’s face. Like Aaron and Hur who found a practical way to support both Moses and the Israelite army in time of battle (Ex. 17), there is something each of us can do that will make a real difference.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
(1 John 3:18)
I know of a particular leader who works very hard to daily communicate with a large membership as best he can. Recently, a member demanded that he personally and immediately respond to her questions, even though he was actually working at his family business. Others were demanding his home telephone number to be called at all hours of the day and night, even though the leader has commented on the numerous phone calls he answers every day. Others were indignant that he chose to take a day off to spend with his family. These people were not willing to have their questions and concerns answered by any of the staff; only the head man would do.
I was surprised to hear another member ask, “Well, why shouldn’t he take my phone calls and answer all my questions?” Someone gently pointed out that the leader often was so overloaded with phone calls, he could not operate his business, and that other staff members could easily answer those questions.
The Plan to Rescue Leaders from Overload
This type of situation is not new. Moses had three million people wanting him to answer their individual concerns. Little wonder Jethro advised him to delegate his responsibility of caring for so many people to qualified men. (See Ex. 18.)
Those qualifications listed in Ex. 18:21 were:
- Able to lead
- Men of truth
- Hatred of dishonest gain
With these key character elements as the core of their being, they would be fit and ready to aid Moses as extensions of his ministry.
Jethro’s advice is valid for leaders today. Unfortunately, many leaders do not know how to draw boundaries for themselves and their families. Some feel they are somehow being disloyal or unfaithful if they do not personally comply with every demand. They, perhaps unwittingly, create an unhealthy environment of dependency, rather than encourage the personal growth of the members. These leaders need healing and the freedom to say “no”.
Other leaders would gladly delegate if they could find qualified, willing people to help shoulder the burden. People do not always recognize when the season has changed, and that it is time for learning to adapt to new demands of growth and maturity. For some, offense rises before the shift can be made into a new season of function and authority.
Sadly, so many leaders burn out and quit the ministry.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (Heb 13:17)
“So Pastor, what do you do the other six days of the week?”, he asked.
When a person is inexperienced, he often underestimates the labor and challenge involved in being a leader. He can only see that, from his perspective, his questions and concerns are paramount. It is like young children who are surprised that Daddy is too tired to play “horsie” anymore.
Maturing saints want to ease the load of their leaders, rather than add to it. At times, requests are made that are simply thoughtless– made without thought to what inconveniences would be incurred to comply with a request.
For example, someone drops off a household item or craft or a collectible to the pastor, intending the pastor take the gift somewhere to be exchanged for cash. Would it not be better for the giver to sell the item first and then bring the proceeds to the ministry? A small step such as this shows personal initiative and consideration, and would save the pastoral staff a great deal of time and effort.
Another simple way you can reduce your leader’s load is to leave complete messages on his voice mail, rather than “Call me back.” Saying “I want to talk about plans for the picnic” is much better and helps the leader prepare for the conversation. Consider what it would be like to have to answer ten messages from ten different people which say “Call me!” without explanation!
Giving Reasons to Smile
Have you ever worked with a person who was such a joy that you would love to have several more just like her? When ministry leaders find that one who is such a jewel, who adds so much strength and help, they feel the same way.
Praying for our leaders is Scriptural and commendable, but it’s not enough. We can conduct ourselves in such a way as to bring a smile to our leader’s face. Like Aaron and Hur who found a practical way to support both Moses and the Israelite army in time of battle (Ex. 17), there is something each of us can do that will make a real difference. Sometimes, it is as simple as taking care of a small detail that frees the leader from an inconvenience.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Col 3:23)
Applying what you are taught so that you no longer need to always have someone “hold your hand” will cause you to be a part of the solution. Learning to live in faith, with your emotions and thoughts brought to the obedience of Christ will add support and reassurance to those around you as well as your leadership. Your courage and steadfastness give strength and hope to your community.
As you overcome temptations and offense, you earn a greater degree of authority and become that much more valuable in building His kingdom. Pioneers and champions pave the way for others to follow.
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
May your ministry leaders have the same heart-felt prayer on their hearts and lips as this one:
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” (1 Thess 1:2-4)