Leadership Lessons


We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit will open our hearts and minds as we pray together ... We gather here, Lord God, in your sanctuary to hear your Holy Word for us.  Surround us with your Spirit that we may know of your presence and learn the truth of your love and grace.  The more that we read the Bible, the more we discover the complex nature of our world and your constant message of hope and peace. Speak to us through your Holy Spirit so that we may grow in faith and understanding as disciples of Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray.  Amen.


THE SCRIPTURE READING                 Exodus 18:13-24                                         Jethro’s Advice

The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening.  When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people?  Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.  When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.” 

Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.  You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you.  For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.  Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you!  You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do.  You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.  Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves.  So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.  If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their home in peace.”  So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

HYMN #494                                               “Step By Step”

O God, you are my God, and I will ever praise you. (2X)  I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways;  and step by step you’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.


A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN                 All children in the congregation may come forward to the Chancel and sit with Rev. Dr. Jones.


THE SERMON             “Leadership Lessons”        


Leadership can make or break any organization. From the fledgling Hebrew nation to the modern church, leadership strength can measure success and failure. As we read, watch, or ignore the 17 GOP candidates running for president. Some will make it to the Iowa caucus and many will not be running by the time we get to vote in the primary next spring. Much will depend on their personal leadership and the leadership capability of those on their campaign staff.

I just finished reading another Jeff Shaara historical novel on the siege at Vicksburg, MS. The Civil War tested the leadership of many Generals and officers. The expectation of a short war became frustrated by the lack of leadership skills in many generals. The Union went through a series of Commanding Generals as they failed to find a formula for success in defeating the Confederate States Army capably led by Robert E. Lee, although, the south also had their fair share of leadership voids. The events of Vicksburg one example of leadership lessons learned in hind sight.

Shaara describes a conversation between Colonel JR Waddy and General Pemberton when the CSA has been trapped for weeks by the Union Army led by General US Grant. Pemberton states, “I suppose, colonel every responsibility must eventually settle onto this . but I cannot make every decision, guide every hand. Perhaps you will have a command of your own one day. You will learn what I have learned, how often if feels as though a rope is ted to each limb, each one pulling in a different direction. It is more than any man can bear for long. I would rather not speak of this any longer. The subject is simply too….distressing”

General Pemberton needed the advice of a father-in-law like Jethro. One cannot bear the task of leadership without sharing it with others. Jethro, wise advised Moses to lead through delegating several tasks to other leaders empowering them with particular tasks. Moses headed this advice and selected capable leaders to guide the community of faith so that he could concentrate on the overall organization. For 6,000 years, God’s people continue to select leaders with gifts for ministry to guide and lead.

As Presbyterians we select ministers, elders, deacons and committee members to work together in leadership. Our nominating committee is praying and working to listen for God’s voice to present a list of officers to the congregation in September. The Nominating Committee is charged with discerning God’s call in other member’s lives to help lead this congregation as we move into the future. Elders will help with making decisions and Deacons will extend Christ’s compassion to our homebound members. They will also find leadership for the WoF Board and the Memorial Committee.

Beyond these elected positions, others are needed to be committee members who help to keep the Body of Christ moving effectively and efficiently toward the goal of being faithful to our Lord. Members don’t just take up space but learn lessons of leadership by helping to complete the tasks. It’s important that committee members prepare themselves to volunteer for tasks so that the elder chairperson can endure their term of service. Functioning committees assist leaders to feel productive. When others don’t volunteer, leaders get a feeling that it’s easier to do the job themselves, do go it alone. But solo leaders become isolated then they get worn out and don’t want lead again.

Like Moses, when leaders and the people get worn out, it’s time to look at our leadership structure and find capable men and women who exude trustworthiness, the love of Christ. We will elect them officers to serve Christ. If you’ve not served recently, examine your own commitment to serve and join a committee. TGBTG Amen.

  January 2018  
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