Summary: This is an examination of some guidelines for all who wish to provide godly leadership within the Lord’s Church.
1. Accept the Leadership Role (and Set Your Eye On the Goal), Verses 1-4.
Numbers 27:15-23, "Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, ’May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.’ So the LORD said to Moses, ’Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him. Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.’ Moses did just as the LORD commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses."
Joshua 1:1-4, "Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, ’Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.’"
God has always desired leaders for His people to help them reach the goals He has established. Today, until a Scriptural Eldership and Deaconship can be ordained, the Lord wants all of the male members of a congregation to be good leaders.... to help the entire congregation reach its heavenly goal.
One cannot lead others, however, without paying a price. It takes time, effort, and energy to be a good leader for God’s own. Yet, each brother (young and old) should accept the responsibility voluntarily. Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
2. "Be Strong and Courageous" Verses 6, 7, 9.
"’Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous;...Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed..."
Once the brethren accept their role as leaders, they must exhibit strength and courage in the carrying-out of those duties and obligations that are necessary to keep the congregation functioning and moving closer to Heaven.
The phrase "be strong" is interesting. It literally means, in the Hebrew, ’to fasten upon, to seize’. It means to get to work and diligently apply one’s self to the obligations at hand. It has the idea of being alert and busy rather than being inattentive and slothful.
Note, in Verses 10-11, how that Joshua immediately exhibited strong leadership: "Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ’Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ’Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’"
A congregation is not a static body, it is always a dynamic body. By that I mean that it is always moving either backwards or forwards. It takes leaders who are alert and industrious to keep a congregation moving forwards - maturing spiritually. Good leaders soon learn that leading a congregation forward is not always easy work.
The path to Heaven is strewn with difficulties, trials and tribulations. To keep each member within the fold and seeing to it that everyone is marching forward is an incredibly challenging task. Brethren need strength to be successful leaders - the willingness to labor within the congregation to keep it healthy and Heaven-bound.
It also takes "courage". This means a firm and undaunted mind, a spirit of boldness and determination. Forces from within and from outside the congregation will try to hinder good leaders from fulfilling their responsibilities. Yea, forces even from within the leaders themselves will periodically do this. People and situations will tempt the leaders to compromise and lead the congregation on a not-so-strait and narrow path... pursue a direction that requires less strain and demands. But a godly and sincere leader must have the courage to stand-up and say - ’I don’t care how powerful the pressure may build, I am going to continue to lead these people in the way they should go." For, one day, I will give account for the way I’ve led their souls.’ Hebrews 13:17, "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account."