Independent leaders – those who try to do the work of ministry alone – are more susceptible to deception, pride, error or exhaustion. They have not learned to properly partner with others. They also have a difficult time keeping their ministry priorities in order. They may be tempted to quit ministry or become angry at God for calling them. Their marriage or family may suffer the results of neglect. Leadership is not easy; even Moses felt overwhelmed at times with the many responsibilities of leadership (read Numbers 11:14,15).
One safeguard for not becoming an independent leader is to raise up godly leadership who will serve alongside you. Every church leader needs help; and every believer needs the opportunity to use their gifts and serve the Church of Jesus Christ!
By building leaders to serve with you, a church leader can also fulfill one of his primary responsibilities: to train and equip others to be ministers! In his second letter to young Timothy, Paul instructs Timothy: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Tim 2:2).
ALIGNING OUR PRIORITIES
The importance of team leadership and keeping right priorities in ministry is seen in the first century New Testament Church.
“Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.
“Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’…Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (read Acts 6:1-7).
There are several key points to consider in this passage:
a. The Priorities Of The Apostles
The apostles had walked with Jesus for more than three years and, since His death and resurrection, had been working very hard. They were teaching and preaching, serving tables, feeding the hungry, helping the needy, etc. But now the number of disciples was multiplying rapidly, too quickly for the apostles to adequately serve them all. When problems began to arise, this led the apostles to evaluate their priorities.
The apostles were not trying to avoid work. But they realized they needed to give most of their time to their primary calling:
- the teaching of God’s Word, and
- leading the people.
These were the same primary roles Moses was to fill (Ex 18:19,20).
b. Leadership Involves Godly Partnership
The Holy Spirit once again affirmed the biblical pattern, as He did with Moses. The apostles were to involve other people in the day-to-day leadership responsibilities.