A Plurality of Leaders (Exodus 18:23) - Radical

A Plurality of Leaders (Exodus 18:23)

“If you do this, God will direct you. You will be able to endure. And all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
– Exodus 18:23

This is an incredible summary statement at the end of this chapter. That basically talks about how Moses was presiding as judge over all the people of Israel. But what was happening is, because there were so many people there was a backlog of all these cases, all these people needing to see Moses.

This Verse Raises the Need for Leaders

So his father-in-law, Jethro comes and says, “What you’re doing is not good. You need to raise up other leaders among the people. Men who fear God, who are trustworthy. And place them as leaders over thousands of people, and hundreds of peoples, and fifties, and tens. So that everybody gets the care they need. And then you can handle certain cases but not all of these things.

And here in Exodus 18, there’s so many lessons we learn, truths we see in this chapter. But one of them is the value of a plurality of leadership among God’s people. So obviously Moses had a unique role in the people of God. The problem was the whole company was focused on him instead of all kinds of men who could lead in certain ways among God’s people.

The Biblical precedent for leadership in the church is that it is immensely valuable to have a plurality of leaders.

Exodus 18:23 Shows God’s Design for the Church

So when you get to the New Testament, and you see God’s design for the church, you see pastors, elders, overseers. Those three terms are interchangeable in scripture. And they’re called by God to oversee, care for the church. And it’s not just one pastor, or one elder, or one overseer, it’s many pastors, many elders, many overseers. So it’s really important that we not just look to one pastor. But that whenever possible we look to multiple pastors, elders, and overseers. And not just pastors, elders, and overseers, but we also see deacons in the bible. So other leaders who are serving in different ways, and caring for people in the church and meeting needs according to God’s word.

So God has raised up a plurality of people to be involved in leadership in his church. And there’s qualifications for those leaders, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, just like here in Exodus 18. God was saying, “Raise up people who fear me, who are trustworthy, who hate bribes. So people who will point others to me.” And this is God’s design for the church today.

Exodus 18:23 Encourages Us to Pray for Our Church Leaders

So I just want to encourage us then, to pray for leaders in our churches. God, we pray for pastors, elders, overseers in our churches that you have entrusted with this responsibility together, not alone, but together. To shepherd and love and lead, oversee your church. God please give them wisdom, please give them grace, please give them strength. Please give them your eyes to see, your ears to hear. Please fill them with your word. Please help them to teach your word accurately. And to lead faithfully according to it.

God we pray for all sorts of leaders, not just pastors, but deacons in the church who are leading out in all kinds of different ways. Who are meeting needs in the body of Christ according to your word. We pray for your blessings on them. We pray that you would cause in each of our churches there to be a healthy culture of leadership. Such that in an Exodus 18:23 kind of way, that you are directing your church through these leaders. Such that they are able to endure. This will be healthy for them and their families. In all of this, they will provide peace in your church.

God we pray for this, in Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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