Reluctant leaders

“But Moses asked God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” Exodus 3:11

Moses, that great man of God, was a reluctant leader. Whodathunkit?! In fact, if you take the time to read about God’s call to Moses to be a leader you might notice that Moses was a very reluctant leader. In fact, Moses was so reluctant that God actually got mad at him. Nevertheless, in spite of repeated excuses and pleadings with God, Moses fulfilled his duty to be a leader.

In scripture, reluctant leadership is not unique to Moses. Jonah was reluctant. Gideon was reluctant. Paul was reluctant. Yet all three got over it and ultimately fulfilled the call for which they were chosen. The reason I bring this up is because I believe that there are in the Church today thousands—if not millions—of reluctant leaders, hoping God will shut up and go away so they can get back to quietly avoiding responsibility. Every Sunday in nearly every church in America there are announcements made from the pulpit or posted on a bulletin board or in a bulletin about the need for more people to step up as leaders. They need more people willing to lead adults in Sunday School classes, more leaders willing to take responsibility for Vacation Bible School, to organize teams and committees to handle the business of the local church, to step up and lend a hand in the nursery or even just vacuum the fellowship hall. The call goes out every Sunday, and every Sunday 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. We should be ashamed. Too many of us are not merely reluctant leaders, but willfully obstinate leaders. And make no mistake, as Christians, we are ALL called to be leaders. A parent is a leader to their children. Employers are leaders to their employees. Students lead their friends by example in action and in attitude. If you are called to Christ, you are called to lead.

But, you say, “Oh, no, God couldn’t possibly be calling ME to do something…” Wanna bet? Moses was a murderer with a nasty temper and a speech impediment. I seriously doubt you have a better excuse than that. (If you do, I’d love to hear it!)

Leadership guru John Maxwell wrote, “Leadership is influence.” I like that. But Jesus showed us that leadership is service as well. Leadership in the church, then, takes on a thousand different forms. Sometimes it is standing in front of people and preaching the Gospel. Just as often though, it’s simply accepting the opportunity to help, to influence quietly, perhaps behind the scenes, maybe even when no one else is around. And yes, you might feel under-qualified and overwhelmed, but if God is truly calling you, then consider His response to a reluctant Moses. In verse In Exodus 3:12 it says, “He answered, ‘I will certainly be with you…” If God is calling you to lead, He will be with you too.

READ: Exodus 3:1-4:17

THINK: Why are you here? God has a purpose for you in this life, and it involves two things: His glory, and other people. How are you intentionally fulfilling that purpose? How are you influencing others for Jesus Christ? Be specific. Also, it is generally true that 80% of the work is being done by 20% of the people. Apply that to your church. Are you in the 20% getting it done? Why or why not? It may be time to get more involved…

PRAY: Ask God to help you understand how you can be more influential for His sake. Thank Him for the opportunities you have every day to make an impact in people’s lives through your actions and attitudes. Pray that He would open the door to verbally share Christ with someone this week.

ACT: Make a list of all the legitimate reasons you can think of why you shouldn’t be taking responsibility for a Bible study, Sunday School class, or other servant leadership role. Talk to a spiritual leader in your life, pastor or campus minister, for instance, about the list and ask them what you can do to get rid of it in order to be a better leader in God’s kingdom.

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