By Eric Bryant on Sep 4, 2011
Eric Bryant reminds leaders of a familiar story that holds a secret for avoiding ministry burnout.
I was reading Exodus 18 a while back and something about the passage struck me as odd: Moses was so busy helping people (day and night) that he sent his wife and kids away to his in-laws.
We don’t know for sure if that is why he sent them away, but it sure seems like it, as the passage mentions that Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was coming to see Moses and he was bringing back Moses’ family. Uh oh. Not a good move by Moses.
Here are some other thoughts on this passage:
Moses recounts his miraculous story of escape from slavery and Jethro worships God. What we overcome points people to God, but we can’t live on past accomplishments. Jethro saw that what Moses did was great (freeing his people from slavery), but also that what he was doing was bad (trying to help everyone by himself).
Moses believed in ministry leadership myths which burn out leaders and create unhealthy relationships:
“I have all the answers or at least I know more than the others around me do.”
“It’s just easier to do it all myself.”
“People need me to connect to God.”
Jethro encouraged him to raise up other leaders. Leaders who could oversee 10, 50, 100, and even 1000 people. More people are capable than we think!
Jethro encouraged Moses to teach them the scriptures (emphasis on why we do what we do), show them the way to live (emphasis on who they become), and show them how to do it (job description, more of the big picture). Moses could entrust to these new leaders how to do it (details—Moses never shared with these new leaders instructions on what to decide in each case), when, what, and where. We need to invest in leaders and entrust leaders.
Moses was still available for the hard cases (didn’t disappear). Sometimes the leader needs to make the hard decisions.
The result = the people were satisfied (the new leaders and those whose disputes were solved by these new leaders).
What changes do most leaders need to make to avoid burnout? What changes do you need to make?
Related Preaching Articles
By Eric Mckiddie on May 30, 2017
How you get your sermon started matters. It can be the difference between someone being on the edge of their seat or slumped in their seat. Here are ten common mistakes that make for a less than optimal introduction to your sermon.
By Brandon Kelley on May 10, 2017
A Step-by-Step Approach to Efficient Sermon Preparation
By Karl Vaters on May 10, 2017
When your message is off-center, the quality matters even more.
By Brian Croft on May 5, 2017
There are all kinds of different sermons a preacher can preach, but the most helpful for a pastor to feed his people with week after week is expository sermons.
By Joe Hoagland on Apr 22, 2017
What if I told you there is one main thing you can improve to make people want to come back time and time again.