There is hardly a better investment in this life than recruiting, mentoring, and releasing leaders into the service of that over which God has given you authority.
Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 18:13-17
Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law, Jethro, saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.” Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good.
This a story in Exodus 18 provides us with some helpful insights into why we should raising up leaders and how we can go about it—whether that be in our home, business, church or any other arena of life where God has given us influence.
First, the why: in the work of the Kingdom, good is often the enemy of the best. You will notice in Exodus 18:9 that “Jethro was delighted to hear of all the good things God had done for Israel.” Israel had witnessed the mighty hand of God — divine protection, outstanding miracles and supernatural progress. But they had settled for something less than God’s best. As the story continues, Jethro watched Moses wearing himself out administrating the blessings, so he said Exodus 18:17, “What you are doing is not good.”
God’s blessing on a thing is never an excuse to settle for that—it is never the end. The blessing is only the beginning for more blessing, which always requires a realignment of the way we administrate God’s favor. God blessed Israel—that was good—but a release of even more blessing required Moses to release leadership to others to help administer it—that was better.
So Jethro showed Moses how he was to recruit leaders to take on ministry—which would release Moses to even greater productiveness. Here are six laws of leadership recruitment that worked for Moses, and will work for you:
The first law of leadership recruitment is SELECTING. The Exodus 18:21 calls Moses to “select capable people—they fear God, are trustworthy and hate dishonest gain.” Your assignment as a leader is to continually watch for people with leadership potential. How do you identify those capabilities? Jethro says they are to: One, have a deep reverence—they have the fear of the Lord. Two, have proven themselves dependable in smaller matters—they are trustworthy. Three, have pure motives—they hate dishonesty
The second law of leadership recruitment is EQUIPPING. In Exodus 18:20, we see there must be an ongoing, systematic program to train all people in the principles of Godly leadership. Not everyone will become a leader, but everyone can benefit from the principles of leadership. That’s because they all will have roles of influence somewhere…home, business, community. Training all the people in your sphere of influence will expand the leadership pool from which you recruit.
The third law of leadership recruitment is MENTORING. In the last part of Exodus 18:20, Jethro said, “Show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” Basically, your responsibility is to reproduce yourself in the lives of others. If you’re not doing that, you are not a leader—or a very effective one. But good leaders show by their lives and their actions a good pattern for others to follow. That implies you have an intentional plan for mentoring, and not just a hope that others will pay attention to what you’re doing.
The fourth law of leadership is EMPOWERING. In the last part of Exodus 18:21, Jethro says that Moses is to appoint them as “officials”. In other words, don’t just give them a title and a responsibility, give them authority to lead.
The fifth law of leadership recruitment is ACCOUNTABILITY. In Exodus 18:22 Jethro says that with responsibility and authority there must also be accountability: “Have them bring the difficult cases to you.” There is to be a system where the new leader circles back to the chief leader, whose discernment will always be needed. So they will have to be accountable to you, and you will have to stay involved monitoring their ministry progress and effectiveness.
The sixth law of leadership recruitment is SANITY. In Exodus 18:23, Jethro says to Moses, “if you do this, you will be able to stand the strain of leadership and all the people will be satisfied.” Leadership should never drive you crazy or stress you beyond your ability to cope or destroy your personal life. Leadership is meant to be a joy. And your leadership is meant to produce deep satisfaction in the lives of those you lead. The presence of unrelenting stress in the leader’s life and dissatisfaction among the people is a clear indication that these godly principles of leadership development have been ignored.
Then Jethro gave the best reason of all to put these principles to use when he said to Moses and by extension, to you and me, in Exodus 18:23, “And so God commands.”
There is hardly a better investment than in recruiting, mentoring, and releasing leaders into the service of that over which God has given you authority.