Sunday, February 02, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Exodus 18:13-24(NASB)
13 It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. 14 Now when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?" 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 "When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws." 17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 "You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 "Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people's representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 "Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 "Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 "If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace." 24 So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.
How does this apply today? First, don't overwork your pastor. Make sure he has time to pray and time for R&R. Get him to delegate more if he's a micromanager. Give him the time to do the things he does do well. Second, make sure to follow verse 20; teach people God's word and teach it well, then many of the problems won't get to his desk. A Bible-savvy church will (hopefully) have fewer problems and have the problems that do come up more likely to be handled by the laity. To borrow from that great theologian from Knoxville, create a pack and not a herd. It's better to have people acting on God's word independently rather than sending problems up the church's chain of command. Third, have the church divided into subsections so that each "elder" (or whatever term you use in your church) is responcible for looking after a small number of people. Not every church has a set up where small groups of members get together on a regular basis to pray and share burdens together. Adult Sunday school serves that purpose in some churches, home groups or weekly Bible study groups in others. To keep someone from falling through the cracks, you need to have a person who knows the people in his group well enough to get them on the phone if they weren't at church last week, not to castigate them for not being there, but to check on their well-being and pray for them and council with them if a problem has cropped up.

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