The story of Moses and Jethro can help us understand the role of leadership and the importance of relationships. In this text Jethro bluntly tells Moses that his leadership style stinks -“What you are doing is not good.”
Jethro could do that because they had known each other for more than 40 years. They had a deep relationship. Based on that relationship Moses listened. The key to all mentoring and equipping is trust between the parties. What are you doing to build trust?
Jethro then laid out the following hints about leadership.
Leaders Teach, Equip, and Mentor. Jethro said, “Teach them the decrees and law and show them the way to live and the duties to perform.” It is never enough to simply teach. This is one of the mistakes of the past fifty years. We have had great teachers who taught us what to believe but not how to apply it to life. Without applying God’s truth to life is a waste of time.
Leaders select the other leaders. “Select capable people who fear God and are trustworthy.” Effective leaders are moving away from nominating and electing leaders. Such practice is nothing short of a popularity contest or a horse race. It is certainly not God’s way of selecting leaders.
Leaders empower and hold accountable. Jethro told Moses to have these capable leaders handle most of the issues but to bring the more serious ones to Moses. I can just imagine the confusion at first as no one was really sure what needed to go to Moses and what didn’t. In time they would learn, but Moses had to empower them with the knowledge they needed to make such decisions.
I liken Moses to pastors today who try to do everything and rob the people of the blessing of serving. Try Moses’s approach. Allow what I call “demonstrated credentialing” instead of elections. Let people minister to one another based on their spiritual depth instead of merely winning a horse race.
This means we need to take time to select, equip, mentor, and empower. Such a ministry takes far more time than just doing it. However, if you take the long term view, you will find that far more gets done as a result.