13 The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. 14 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?’ 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 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.’ 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. 18 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. 19 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; 20 teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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.’ 24 So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” Exodus 18:13-24 (NRSV)
The Bible is full of stories about God’s people needing to shift gears and adapt to new circumstances. (See Acts 6 for the story of the apostles seeking lay leaders to coordinate community social services, for another example.) It’s what the faithful need to do: Read the times, evaluate the demands on leadership, and adjust. That’s a change you will see happening in Calvary’s leadership this year too.
On February 10, at the first meeting of the 2015 Church Council, the Council elected four people into leadership on the Management Team: Paula Fowler, President; Larry Reintsma, Vice President; Pam Prescott, Secretary; and Jackie Russo, Member at Large. Sounds pretty typical so far, but take a closer look (if you are at all inclined to read council minutes, that is), and you will see that we are asking these leaders to take on specific responsibilities that we hope will lighten the load for everyone. Paula will preside at the Council meetings and provide leadership for both the Management Team and Council, but Paula will be assisted in her presidential responsibilities by Jackie Russo, who will develop the Management Team agenda and the preliminary Council agenda each month and preside at Management Team meetings. Our hope is that “many hands make for lighter work.” I also feel confident that many minds committed to the task will make for more creative and collaborative leadership—which will benefit us all. Larry will be giving special attention to the task calendar items that affect personnel and budget planning for the congregation. And Pam will serve as our veteran secretary, making sure we say what we are doing, and do what we say we want to get done.
Paula, Jackie, Larry, and Pam have committed themselves to these tasks. And now they need our support, encouragement, and feedback. The work that they have before them will sometimes be daunting—they are acting both as church leaders and as (State of Washington) corporation leaders. But they have accepted their respective responsibilities because they love this congregation, and they want to see Calvary thrive. Please pray for them in their leadership. Please pay attention when they ask for your support and expertise.
When Moses followed his father-in-law Jethro’s advise (and God’s command) to let others “bear the burden” with him, not only was Moses’ load lightened, but the people benefitted. May this new way of leading not only lighten our leaders’ burdens, but set the tone for shared leadership and greater creativity in all our ministry and life together at Calvary.
Thanks be to God.
Your Sister in Christ,
Pastor Lori Cornell