Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Help for the Leader

But you should select from all the people able men, God fearing, trustworthy and hating bribes. Place them over the people as officials of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens... they can bring you every important case but judge every minor case themselves. In this way you will lighten your load and they will bear it with you. - Exodus 18:21-23

The following is an excerpt from a book I recently purchased and placed into my library. The author’s transliteration of Exodus 18 was very insightful to me.  Hope you enjoy!

 One day Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came up over a sand dune and looked down on a long line of people. It was an interesting group, and it was apparent that all were not happy wanderers. Fights, arguments, discord and disenchantment would be good words to describe this group of Israelites. Every once in a while a person would just get discouraged and leave the line.

Jethro noted that at the head of the line was his son-in-law, sitting under a tent listening to the various people who made their way to him. So he went down to see what was going on. “Mo,” he said, “what’s going on here?” “Well, honored father-in-law,” Moses responded, “God made me these people’s leader. They have disputes, and I am here to listen to them and settle the problems. I sit here day in and day out listening to all these gripes, solving personal and marital problems, and trying to explain theological issues.” Jethro was astonished. Had not Moses read Drucker during his years in the Pharaoh’s palace? In the kind words of a father-in-law, Jethro responded; “You’re crazy!” Having expressed his true sentiment, he went on to explain, “If you keep this up, you are going to experience burnout in ministry. What will become of my daughter if you go over the deep end? But worse yet, what will become of the people? God has made you their leader. If you are not able to lead because of fatigue, then they will suffer, and God’s purpose for them will not be achieved.” Now Jethro was a Midianite priest, which made him a leader. Good leaders know you do not pose a problem without providing a resolution. So he told Moses, “Select some men who are prominent in the nation. Look for quality men who are moral in character and righteous in virtue. Place them in charge of portions of the nation. Don’t overwhelm them. Assign the most capable person to groups of one thousand, then give them two lieutenants who can lead five hundred each of that group. Keep dividing the group into smaller units with leaders of each subgroup of one hundred, fifty, ten, or whatever. Now each subgroup leader is to be responsible to the leader above him. Let these various leaders solve problems at their level. If they can’t solve the problem, then they have someone over them whom they can take it to. That way you can reserve your decision-making responsibilities for the biggies—responding only to the issues that the leaders of the thousands bring to you or issues to which God directs you. Now if you listen to my sage advice, not only will it be easier for you, but you will develop some leaders as well.”
Robert Welch; Church Administration: Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry, p 2

No comments: