At, HighView Church where I serve as Lead Pastor, I am currently preaching through the book of Exodus. While we only a month or so into our series in this epic book, I have been so energized and encouraged by how this book is affecting our local church in a host of ways.
As a 4 1/2-year-old church plant, we have placed an intentional emphasis on developing leaders from the earliest days of the planting process. At HighView, we talk a lot about leadership development. We have leadership pipelines, cohorts, workshops and training pathways, all of which have produced tremendous fruit, by God’s grace, as more leaders emerge and current leaders grow into Christ-likeness. I encourage church planters that I coach to start thinking about developing leaders before the church ever launches. But in all of the systems and assessments and workshops, it can be easy to miss the small, simple ways, God develops leaders.
In Exodus 2:11, Moses is a successful royal leader in Egypt. At 40 years of age, Moses was mighty in “word and deed” (Acts 7:22). That is another way of saying that Moses was an impressive leader.
Moses had the best possible education.
Moses had power.
Moses had influence.
But, as the story unfolds, we see that Moses as far from a finished product. In a vain attempt to liberate God’s people in his own strength, Moses responds sinfully the abuse of an Egyptian slave driver, kills him and then is forced to flee into the wilderness of Midian.
At 40 years old, Moses was an unmarried, royal outcast and wanted murderer who had been rejected by the very people he longed to liberate. In the wilderness, however, God’s leadership development plan for Moses was only beginning. In Midian, God began a 40-year leadership development plan for Moses that would prepare him to go back to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage.
2 Things God Taught Moses in Midian
How to Serve
In Midian, God gave Moses a family and used that family to shape and develop him as a leader. Moses enjoyed 40 years of domestic service and a 9-5 working as a shepherd. It was in the mundane service of daily life that God was developing Moses’ character as a leader. Before God used Moses to part the Red Sea he taught him to wash dishes. Before God used Moses to lead His people out of slavery, He taught Moses how to lead his family.
Before God allows us to lead, He teaches us how to serve.
How to Wait
One of the most important leadership lessons that all leaders must learn at some point is how to wait. Moses was 40 years old when he arrived in Midian. He was 80 years old when He encountered God in the burning bush and was commissioned to go back to Egypt. For forty years, Moses lived the mundane existence of a family man in Midian. James Montgomery Boice wrote of Moses’ life:
“Moses spent 40 years in Egypt learning to be something and 40 years in Midian learning to be nothing.”
It is significant to point out that God did not choose to use Moses “in his prime”, as a young, impressive, zealous leader. No, God chose to use the older, weakened, wise leader who had been prepared for leadership by years of humble service and waiting.
For every 1 year of ministry in his life, Moses spent 2 years preparing.
Regardless of where you are in your leadership lifespan, there is a lesson in God’s leadership development plan for Moses: God is usually doing His greatest work in us when no one else is looking.