Principle of Shared Leadership

Every Christian leader has felt the burden of ministry. Some have felt so inadequate for the task that they wished they were dead. Like Moses they would rather die than to be around for their own demise. No matter how well the pastor preaches and teaches there will always be some who say, “I’m not getting fed around here.” Christian leaders who feel the burden of ministry should keep in mind that the two most powerful kingdom figures in the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, both requested to die during their ministry experience.

The Lord told Moses, “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people” (Numbers 11:16). The Lord would take of the Spirit that rested on Moses and put it on them and they would carry the burden of the people. Jethro gave similar advice to Moses in Exodus 18:17-23. Jethro wasn’t suggesting an authoritarian or hierarchical rule. The organizational structure was for the purpose of appointing others so as to relieve the burden of Moses who was trying to do it all by himself.

Why don’t Christian leaders enlist the help of others who they know to be leaders and officials? Some are co-dependent and need to be needed. Others are overly conscientious, thinking, "I have been called to do this, so I better do it." For some, it just never crossed their minds to enlist the help of others. Sadly some have a messianic complex. They think they are the only ones who can do the ministry. Professionalism can impede the work of the church if we believe that only the elite are qualified to help others. The purpose of Christian leadership is “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Paul wrote, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

When the Spirit rested on the elders they prophesied only once, but Eldad and Medad continued prophesying. Joshua wanted them to stop prophesying. But Moses said, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them” (vs. 29)! As Christian leaders, do we want the Spirit of God to rest on others as He does on us? Do we want the Lord’s anointing to be as obvious on others as we would have it rest on us? Do we get as much delight when others have the spotlight in the kingdom of God as we do when it is our turn? Do we earnestly seek to help every person in our churches reach their highest potential even if they can do some aspects of ministry better than us? Do we rejoice when others bear fruit and get more attention than we do? We do, if we are servant leaders.

Dr. Neil

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