I decided to read my bible more in 2014 and so as an experiment, as I read through the scriptures each day, my goal is to use my blog to journal a devotion or a thought each and every day. Yep the goal here (if all goes according to plan) is to write a something each day and end the year with 365 sermons ready for 2015.
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”
This is where the phrase, “who died and made you boss?” came from. Maybe you didn’t say this when you were a kid, but we said it all the time. It was usually when one of the kids started telling the other kids how we were going to play. “You do this, and I’ll do this.” I guess adults could use the phrase to, but it seems a little immature.
The irony of Moses’ situation is, here he has been the leader for a real long time and he has a history of being the guy who talks to God and yet some of the crowd has the nerve to question his authority.
This brings up the question of ordination and leadership. What is ordination? Ordination is a power that the church gives to its leaders as a symbol of authority. Ordination typically is recognized that it comes from God first – and that the church merely “recognizes” the ordination.
Acts 7:10 God gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
Notice God ordained Joseph with wisdom and goodwill and then Pharaoh ”recognized” God’s touch and gave Joseph actual leadership authority.
So the problem that Moses seems to have is that his leadership is no longer recognized by the people. In his situation, it probably stemmed from jealousy. In the passage it says, “why should you be in charge, when there are plenty of Godly leaders among us?”
But the truth is, these accusers seem to be questioning God’s choice of Moses, which is a scary thing to do. And it may have been in how Moses led, he wasn’t always the perfect leader. Moses made plenty of mistakes. Which raises the question, if you are in leadership now, how might you continue to “lead” and exercise your authority without drawing heat from those who you shepherd?
A few bits of advice:
1. Reward success and offer encouragement. You are not a one person show. None of us could lead if it were not for our ministry teams and volunteers. Make sure you have a system in place that offers encouragement to those who do the daily grind.
Hebrews 10:24 says, Encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
2. Punish neglect, laziness and disobedience. This is a tough one. As a church leader we think that our first instinct should be to offer grace and forgiveness and that’s true, but sometimes avoiding making the tough call can be seen as a leadership weakness. Don’t allow your staff or volunteers to bulldoze you – you are the leader. If someone does not “get in line” with your leadership, they are disobeying the scriptures.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
3. Correct directions when the ship veers off course. As the leader, you have the wheel. That means when the ship starts to veer, or you see the masses beginning to loose focus, your job as the leader is to “correct.” Ultimately the bride of Christ should be pursuing Godly objectives, winning people to Christ and caring for the world.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
4. Sometimes you have to “throw people under the bus.” That sounds harsh, but there is a real leadership lesson here. Sometimes there will be voices of dissension and mutiny within your organization and nothing will silence them. There are people who are toxic and they are hell-bent on division. Suffice it to say, they are not your “fans.” Of course we should try to do everything we can to win them over.
Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
But if the person seems to have an agenda that goes beyond just a grievance or something that can be “worked out” then they have to go. Jesus continues…
But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
5. Have a mentor. There is nothing more smug that a leader who isn’t led themselves. If you have no human authority that you submit to, then you are not practicing what you preach. Even Moses went to his Father-in-law Jethro for counsel. Admit that you don’t know everything and find a wise person you can sit beneath and allow yourself to be led.
Ephesians 5:21 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
6. Be fair. Another way to say this is – don’t have favorites. As a leader you have to exercise an attitude of justice and fairness. Someone who has favorite people or shows favoritism to certain groups draws lines in the sand and alienates other groups.
Proverbs 21:15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
7. Be clear. I think sometimes leaders can be a little fuzzy with their expectations and with their goals. It’s hard to follow a leader who hasn’t communicated effectively. A rule I like to adopt is “over communicate.” How many different ways can I get “the word out?” Email, Facebook, Sunday announcements, mailed home newsletter, twitter, insta-gram (it’s amazing how much social media can help you- and it’s free!). Use pictures, use words, use meetings, discussion groups, posters, even music! Be as clear as you can be and you will find that your message will become more well received.
Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge
8. Be realistic. I know the temptation is to sometimes step into a leadership role and present some grand idea to your flock. “We’re going to reach 4 thousand people by next year!” Wow, that sounds like a grand goal and it may even be what God is telling you, but sometimes unreasonable or wild instructions can be overwhelming and defeating for people. For some, hearing a goal or an instruction that sounds out of reach, will cause them to throw up their hands and walk out.
Start with small obtainable goals. And then quickly reward them when those goals are reached. Another thing is know your congregation. If you get to know the people you are leading you will better know what “they can handle.” Who knows, you may have a few people who love crazy unreachable goals, it only makes them try harder! Know that those people are rare – and most people would rather you gave them reasonable instructions.
In other words, if your choice is to start slow, or to hit the ground running. Start slow.
If your choice is to lead people by the hand or to kick down the doors and start pushing… well, you know the answer.
9. Give reasons. When I tell my son what to do, as his dad, I am allowed to say “because I said so.” However, that is not a good reason with those who follow you. Your authority is not a wall you can use to push others forward. This piece of advice goes hand in hand with “be clear.” Leadership rarely should involve “secrecy.” So when you are communicating what you expect, give the reason behind your actions. If it means you have to be open and transparent – go for it. People like to know “why” they are doing what they are doing. Otherwise, how will they measure success? If you gain a sense of satisfaction when something is accomplished, those who follow you should to.
John made it very clear why he wrote his book, it wasn’t because he was the authority, he did it to bring glory to God.
John 20:31 “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
10. Be humble. Jesus said famously in a leadership seminar
Luke 14:11 “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I think when the mob with pitchforks knocks on your door and they’re shouting, “Who died and made you boss?” we have to adopt some of the blame for that. People who are led well and led clearly, rarely question authority. Leadership is a privilege, not a right. Each us in leadership should realize what a huge blessing and responsibility we have.