Summary: This sermon takes a look at the advice Moses’ Father-in-Law Jethro gave him and how it applies to church leadership today.
Title: Shared Ministry
Text: Exodus 18:13-27
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: Next Sunday we will be electing 3 new Deacons. Deacons serve a very important role here at Sulphur Spring Baptist Church. I consider the Deacons of this church to be my Partners in Ministry as we do our best to serve the Lord by serving and ministering to the members of this church and community.
Some churches mistakenly believe that the Deacons should serve as the Board of Directors for the church and that they should make all of the important decisions. On the other hand, Sulphur Spring Baptist church believes the two main responsibilities of Deacons are: (1) To serve as Spiritual Leaders of the Church and (2) To Assist the Pastor in serving and ministering to the people of this congregation.
I thank God for each of the men who have served as Deacons during the last year, and look forward to what God is going to do through the Deacons who will be serving in the year to come.
One of the most common mistakes that many Pastors make is trying to do everything themselves.
Some Pastors do this because in reality that’s what their church members expect them to do.
For other Pastor’s it is a matter of trust. They find it hard to trust anyone, even their deacons to do the job the way it needs to be done. They fall back on the Philosophy of…. “If you want the job done right, then do it yourself.”
For others it’s a control issue. Unfortunately, some Pastors are control freaks and refuse to allow anyone else to make a decision or do anything without consulting them.
Unfortunately because of these and other misconceptions thousands of Pastors experience what experts call Burnout every year and many of them end up leaving the ministry altogether. I still find this hard to believe but according to an article I read the other day as many as 1,000 ministers leave the ministry every month.
This morning I want us to look at a story out of the book of Exodus in which a man named Jethro warned his Son-In-Law Moses about the danger of trying to do everything himself.
Jethro, who lived in the Land of Midian, made the journey to Mt. Sinai where Moses and the people of Israel were living. Apparently, Moses had sent his wife Zipporah to tell her father Jethro that God had delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians. Upon hearing the good news, Jethro decided to accompany his daughter and grandsons back to Mt. Sinai. When he arrived he took time to visit with Moses and observe everything that was going on. Let’s pick up the story in verse 13 and we will read through verse 27.
Jethro gave Moses some very good advice here, advice that applies to the modern day Church as much as it did the nation of Israel. Let’s take a few minutes to look at His advice.
1. The first bit of advice that Jethro had for Moses was TO STOP TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING HIMSELF.
EX 18:17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good.
EX 18:18 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.”
One of the things that I appreciated Eric saying last week in His sermon, was that I cannot single handedly make this church grow. There is no way that I can do all the preaching, all the teaching, and all of the ministry that needs to be done, it’s just not humanly possible, and more importantly it’s not the way God intends for the church to operate.
The Apostles learned this lesson when the church in Jerusalem began to grow so rapidly following the Day of Pentecost.
They told the church that it wouldn’t be good for them to neglect their responsibility of teaching and preaching the Word of God, in order to make sure that all of the widows were getting their fair share of the food. In other words they were saying that it would be wrong for them to neglect to pray, study God’s Word, and preach, in order to do something, that someone else could do.
That’s when the Apostles encouraged the church to choose 7 trustworthy men, who were full of the Holy Spirit to oversee the daily distribution of food.
That leads us to Jethro’s second piece of Advice to Moses, which was…
2. TO SHARE THE LOAD.
Look back with me if you will at verses 20-22. He says to Moses,
EX 18:20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.