In the book of Exodus, Moses learns a valuable lesson from his father-in-law, Jethro (lol – I just don’t associate that name with biblical times). Moses is really the first pastor we find in the Bible. God called him and appointed him to be the leader of Israel. In a way Moses was leading the first mega church.
Since Moses was the “leader” everyone came to him with their problems and disputes. Exodus 18 tells us that from sun up to sun down Moses sat and listened to all their problems and helped give them godly counsel. When Jethro saw what Moses was doing, he gave him a great piece of advice that pastors need to embrace.
He told Moses this isn’t going to work. You are going to wear the people out and yourself. The people are going to be miserable because they have to wait forever to get some help and the leader is going to burn out! What great advice. If we operate our churches with the mentality that the Senior Pastor is the only one who can visit people in the hospital, do counseling, preach, and everything else that goes with running a church, then everyone is going to be frustrated.
I believe that churches everywhere need to heed this advice. Being a pastor is very demanding. I know what most of you are thinking, “But you only work 1 day a week.” If you think that, then come follow me around for a week. What you experience in ministry is that the emotional strain is almost more demanding than the schedule. You never leave your work at work. It always goes home with you.
I must admit, sometimes I approach leading a church with a sense of urgency. Saying to myself, I have to get this or that done soon. I feel like I’m in the blocks getting ready for the 100 meter dash. But what’s in front of me is 26.2 miles of road. I know that if I want to be in the race in 10 years, I must pace myself and take a different approach to ministry. I’ll share more about that in the next blog. Until then, pace yourself.