Exodus 18:17-18 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.
Pastoring a church is an awesome task. If it were just preaching every week it would be easier. But the job of Pastor includes psychology, administration, political strategy, business administration, warfare, bereavement, community development, sermon if preparation, research, conflict resolution, vision casting, staff management, volunteer recruitment, community engagement, target practice go critics, and the list goes on.
If you are a member of a congregation hopefully you are benefiting from the leadership of a committed pastor and he or she is benefitting from a supportive member like you. There are some members however that are killing their pastors.
Moses was the first model for a pastor or shepherd of people. He led close to a million people out of slavery in Egypt for 40 years. It was supposed to be a four day journey but was extended because the people were rebellious. At the beginning of their journey Moses’ father-in-law notices a particular paradigm that was poisonous. Moses sit in the seat of judgement all day listening to the concerns of the people while everybody stood around watching him do it. Jethro said, “you’re going to kill yourself doing ministry like this!”
Many pastors die or burn out from ministry because they suffer from this “let’s sit back and watch pastor do it” syndrome. We think that ministry can only be done by spiritual professionals. Jethro believed otherwise.
1. Teach them the decrees and laws of God on how they are supposed to live. Pastors are primarily teachers. They need to be freed up so that they can devote themselves to teaching the congregation. In Acts 6:2 the apostles had a similar problem when the Grecian widows were being overlooked in the food program and the people were complaining because they were short handed. They said, “The twelve apostles called all the disciples together and told them, “It’s not right for us to give up God’s word in order to distribute food.”
2. Select people who are trustworthy. Exodus 18:21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. There are capable leaders sitting out in congregations who need to be empowered to help with the leadership load. Each member should be asking themselves, “what is my capacity for leadership?” Am I a thousand person leader or a ten person leader?
3. You solve the simple stuff and bring the difficult to the pastor. Exodus 18:22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.
The days of sitting back and watching your pastor and a select few do all the work is over. The church is the priesthood of all believers. We are all disciples of Christ. Jesus said, “If anyone would follow him they must deny themselves daily, take up their cross (pick your area of responsibility) and follow him. Do your part so you will not kill your pastor!
Dear God,the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. I’m praying that this year you send more workers. Stir the heart of people who have been sitting and watching to stand up and serve in ministry this year. Help us to move from a spectators position to a participatory position. Every member has a gift they could use. Show them what their gift is so they can use it to help others and help their pastor to live and not die. We are your servants. Use us as you see fit.
In Jesus Name,