“Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest…” – Exodus 28:1
We live in a time where many organizations, even church organizations, are turning to a multi-leader format. It’s a pretty frequent thing to see organizational charts and graphs that are basically ‘flat’, rather than in the old pyramid structure that was the norm. Someone is always coming up with another idea for taking the hierarchy out of corporate structures. Usually the reasons given for decentralizing the authority model have something to do with there being a lack of quality ‘leaders’ or the fear of getting a leader who might be a ‘control freak’ or simply not good enough. The problem is that these ideas are neither effective nor based on biblical truth. Aaron and his sons were set apart from the rest. We read in the New Testament that Jesus specifically choose certain ones to lead, so did the apostle Paul.
Of course, we are all created equal in God’s sight, and each person is worthy, but Scripturally, someone is always set apart to lead.
As a man who was the ‘senior’ leader for the majority of my ministry, and now is called upon to support another as he leads… I have a unique perspective. I’m often asked, which I liked better – being the ‘main’ guy in the spotlight, or the ‘behind the scenes’ guy. My honest answer is; “Both have their blessings and challenges, however, when the Lord calls me to something (regardless of what it is) He will always empower me to do and to ‘be’ whatever He is calling me to. I just need to seek His Holy Spirit’s anointing and guidance in whatever that might be.”
Joshua was referred to as Moses’ minister in Joshua 1:1. The verb form of the word minister means: to attend, to contribute to, to minister to, to wait on, and to serve. So it’s easy to conclude that Joshua’s main job (during the time he was ‘under’ Moses) was to wait on Moses, to contribute to Moses’ success, and to serve Moses in everything that he did. As a former ‘senior leader’, I know all too well the cry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers all across our land who are currently crying out for a man or woman like Joshua to come to their aid. “Oh God, send me a Joshua! Send me someone who will sincerely contribute to, minister to, and simply serve in this intense calling You’ve placed upon my life! Someone who will hold my arms up so that I may accomplish all you’ve asked me to accomplish.”
The problem is too many people have their own agenda. Too many folks have the idea that there is an unseen ‘ladder’ that is supposed to be climbed. Too many individuals define ‘success’ as reaching a higher (or the highest) position in an organization. For this reason, children’s workers are seen as more important than church janitors and senior pastors are more successful than youth pastors. When the truth is, all who are serving the Master and allowing themselves to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in their ‘job’, are successful in the Lord’s eyes. And while this is absolutely true, it is also very true that some of those successful ministers are also set apart by God to be the ‘leader’. This is not a ‘promotion’, just as if someone were called from teaching a Men’s Bible Study to teaching a Third Grade Sunday School class should not be considered a ‘demotion’. Both require a person being obedient to God’s call and submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leading and empowerment.
I am grateful for the opportunities the Lord has given me to serve Him. Sometimes He has set me apart to be the main ‘leader’. Other times He has asked me to hold another’s arms, while they lead. Either way, my heart is to be obedient and faithful to the Lord… never seeking my own agenda, but His… never questioning His decision of who will be the leader, but recognizing that He is the wisest and best at knowing exactly who that is supposed to be.
*A few times in this short blog I mentioned ‘holding up arms’. If you don’t know what I am referring to, please read Exodus 17. It’s an awesome story that perfectly illustrates the importance to God’s agenda of those called to serve the leader that God has ordained.