Thank you Jethro: Lessons learned about Leadership


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I was reading Exodus 18 the other day and a story I've read before, but didn't really equate to anything from this text to my ministry and then it hit me like a ton a bricks. Moses has been leading the people out of Egypt and he is running like crazy to keep up with the work. I firmly believe that Moses had convinced himself that he was doing God's work.

Along comes his father in law and observes Moses' frantic pace and I think offers advice that saves Moses' life and the ultimately the life of the community.

The advice goes along the lines of this:

-Leadership is a heavy load

-Leadership is to big to go about alone

-Leaders must be prayerful

-Leaders raise others up and pour into them so they can pour into others.

The phrase that just nailed me was the words from Jethro to Moses that what Moses was doing was not good. Do you believe that? Doing God's work was not good? It's not that doing God's work isn't good, but that doing it the way Moses was going about it, franctically, operating from any empty well unable to be replenish himself, and not being able to rest is unhealthy. It is certainly the fastest way to burnout.

So, I was reading this story and then it floored me. I have been Moses over the last three years as a youth minister. I have been spinning my wheels and busying my self with all the work that needed to be done that what I have been doing has not been good. It has come at great cost to my family and my health and even my out look at times on ministry.

So, tonight at my August parent/teen meeting I shared my discovery from Exodus 18. And then I got done with the time in the Word, I began to recruit parent volunteers to take over certain areas of the youth ministry. My wife and I have decided that this meeting really would make or break us in our ministry. This meeting for us was either sink of swim. I had really asked God to show up and fill in the gaps where they were not being filled. The response from our meeting was awesome. The outpouring of volunteerism from my parents was overwhelming. The help I have been craving for the last three years surfaced and my wife and I left the meeting encouraged.

If you want parent involvement. You have to ask God, pray and set a vision for the youth ministry and stick with it.


3 Responses to “Thank you Jethro: Lessons learned about Leadership”

  1. Anonymous Tim 

    I've always been a team-player kinda guy. I like to recruit and use volunteers in youth ministry where their heart and passion lies. However, I usually feel like some of the volunteers and parents are like, "Why are you finding volutneers for this? This is your job, isn't it?" I do my best to build a youth minsitry that's not centered and based on me, but it's almost like they won't let me do that! Kinda frustrating, ya know? I'm a team guy, but apparently some others in this church aren't.

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  3. Anonymous Chad Nall 

    Jason,
    Thanks for those thoughts. I'm in the middle of a transition into a new youth ministry in a new town and one of the things Deana and I have committed to each other is the priority of involving other caring adults in the ministry to students, especially parents. We can't do this alone. The task is too big. I'm always reminded of Jesus in the gospels when he sees the crowds, has compassion on them and then prays for more workers.

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