A Work in Progress: Jethro’s Demand for Delegation

18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.  – Exodus 18:18

I am a BIG FAN of delegation. I suppose Moses would have said the same thing if you had asked him. But when push comes to shove, somebody needs to get the job done!  Moses was a committed follower of Yahweh with a desire to care for the people in his oversight. He worked from sunrise to sunset (Ex. 18:13) attempting to solve problems and meet needs.  No one can blame Moses for being lazy or unmotivated.  That is why it probably came as a shock to Moses when his father-in-law challenged his effectiveness as a leader (Ex. 18:18).  He straight up told Moses that his leadership style was a train wreck waiting to happen for both Moses and the people.  Ok, he didn’t mention a train. But you get what I mean. 

Even though Moses desired to help the people, he was taking his cues from Egyptian Leadership 101. Egyptian Lesson One: make everyone dependent upon you. Egyptian Lesson Two: remind everyone that no one can do what you do as well as you do it. Egyptian Lesson Three: limit the amount of time you have for those most important to you because you are busy solving BIGGER problems that demand your constant attention. Egyptian Lesson Four: burn the candle at both ends. Don’t concern yourself with proper management of personal eating habits, exercise, or downtime. You are the leader. Everything depends on you. 
Jethro’s solution was simple: delegate.  Delegate to gifted men who can lead thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens (Ex. 18:21). But don’t just delegate your tasks, delegate your authority. Empower others to make decisions that would be helpful for the community. Trust them to handle the details while always knowing they can check back in with you when they need some advice, help, or direction.  Jethro didn’t tell Moses to stop working. He told him to work smarter.  The result would produce personal endurance for Moses and peace for the people.

Now the truth is, I have never singlehandedly organized, implemented, and executed a worship service. But I came pretty close to attempting this feat for our midweek service at Family Baptist Church this past week.  My Wednesday evening started with turning on the av system, uploading the PowerPoint presentation for the evening, and setting out all the microphones. While running home to grab a quick bite to eat, I passed Heather in the hallway of the church. She was brewing coffee and getting the music ready.  I scarfed down some amazing meal that she whipped up and rushed out to the church van to begin picking up youth from North Minneapolis for our Wednesday evening services. Before I reached the van, I stopped to unlock the church for the early arrivers.  I forgot to unlock the upper door last week and that caused a major back up of traffic from the Transformed by Grace crew. 😊

I arrived back at the church with a van full of kids and teens. Then stopped by the gymnasium to make sure we had someone to lead the teens in a couple games while I opened the Transformed by Grace service and led congregational singing.  Our son-in-law, Travis Tumlin was ready to lead the game time! That was a blessing.

When I entered the auditorium, I was blasted by the heat of a very warm auditorium. Apparently, something wasn’t right with our boiler system. The gentleman who oversees our boiler system was recovering at home from a total knee surgery. I did the only thing I knew by asking a couple guys to open the doors to cool things down, while I quickly recruited another of them to help run the sound system upstairs. I tried to keep it simple and told him how to mute any microphone that squealed. He did a marvelous job… especially given my 30 second tutorial of the system.

After leading the singing, I ran to the gymnasium to join the teens in playing a game of football. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of “taking over” the game time from Travis when I perceived that the teens were not as engaged as I wanted. Truth was, they were finishing a game of knock-out.  Several of the teens had already been eliminated from the game while the remaining five participants finished up.  What can I say, I am a work in progress and need to grow in my delegation and application of biblical leadership!  I needed a Jethro to help me see straight.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that I am Travis’ father-in-law and pastor, he simply let me kickoff a new game without saying anything to me.  What a gracious guy!

At the end of the game, we headed downstairs, and I taught the teens a lesson on how to understand God’s will.  The night ended with dropping off the crew we picked up and making sure the church building was all locked up for the night.  Needless to say, I was exhausted. As I entered the parsonage, my phone alarm went off at 9:35 PM reminding me to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest (a point I made in a previous blog).  That evening, I admit, I asked God to send some harvesters our way. 😊

Please keep praying that God will bless our ministry efforts at Family Baptist Church; that He will help me grow in the skill of delegation and provide more people to help us run the sound system, drive a van route, turn on lights, unlock doors, greet people, oversee security, support the faithful children and youth workers, serve in the nursery, and help bleed the boilers! 😊 

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