One of the books that shaped me and my philosophy of ministry is The Purpose Driven Church. Another way of identifying or describing a purpose-driven leader is as an intentional or strategic leader. It’s no accident that Jesus instructed us to be “shrewd as serpents.” (Matthew 10:16) Purposeful, intentional, and strategic should be words in the vocabulary and arsenal of every church leader.
I don’t think what I’m about to say is black and white or cut and dry, but in my experience and travels, the biggest difference I see between small church leaders and mega-church leaders is grasping this concept of equipping others.
I know I’ll take some heat for this, but most small church leaders are doers, and that’s why most churches in America never grow beyond 200 people. I mean really – how many people do you think one person can handle? Two hundred is it. Mega-church leaders know that they have to multiply themselves, understand Ephesians 4 and the equipping style of leadership, and lead accordingly.
The reason I say this isn’t cut and dry is because as I’ve blogged about before, another huge difference between small churches and fast-growing churches is fast-growing churches are externally focused – that’s another issue altogether, but for the purpose of this blog series, I want to focus on the leadership style of a doer vs. an equipper and how that affects one’s capacity for leadership.
Moses is a revered leader in our Bible and seen as one who accomplished much in his time, but even he had to learn this lesson from his father-in-law Jethro.
Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can’t do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They’ll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases, they’ll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also.” Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. – Exodus 18:17-24 (MSG)
Thanks to Moses’ father-in-law speaking the truth in love to him and opening his eyes to effective leadership, Moses learned a valuable lesson, and because it was recorded in Scripture, it’s there for us to learn as well. Moses became an intentional and strategic leader.
I use these words in the context of our discussion on Equipper vs. Doer in order to bring clarity to our calling as pastors and in light of the Ephesians 4 passage we looked at earlier. If we are intentional about what we do and don’t do and strategic about who we delegate to, empower, and free up to lead and take risks, we can experience unbelievable fruit in our ministries and the joy that only comes from doing what you were created and called to do. Not only that, we get to watch others get to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory, too.
My prayer for and encouragement to you is to be intentional and strategic in your leadership. Ask yourself daily, “Is this something I alone can do? OR “Is there someone who is more passionate and gifted to do this that I can hand this off to?” So with our 3-day look at being an equipper vs a doer, where do you see yourself now? I’ll ask the original question: Are you an equipper or doer? And today’s question: Are you intentional and strategic as a leader?