Leading Softly – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Leading Softly

Genesis 33:13, 14

Genesis 33

  • 13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
  • 14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

Intro: I want to preach this message to the entire church this morning.

In this chapter, we find a key leadership principle that is vitally important.

This thought was laid on my heart during Bro. Watson’s message on Tuesday night on the Grace of God.

When he gave that illustration of the church moving forward and some lagging behind, this message came to me.

  • Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

FAIL: behind; to come late or too tardily; to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the

goal, to fall short of the end; fail to become a partaker, fall back from; to be inferior in power, influence and rank

People that say, “I don’t feel like I fit in.” They usually don’t. But that is their choice. Their decision. Not the church’s.

It is your job to fit into the body of Christ; not make the body of Christ fit into you.

  • Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

ILLUSTRATION: I have been here 8 years. In biblical mathematics, 8 is the number for new beginning.

God put it in my heart to turn a corner this year.

I started explaining this back in the spring.

New guidelines for leaders; updated staff manual.

Time to move forward and upward.

I’ve tried to give everyone time to get on board so we could move forward together, and we are for the most part.

Jubilee was a test. It was a fleece for me.

I grew up with Campmeeting and Jubilees. They are interchangeable actually; pretty much the same thing.

They are basically events that are designed to draw people that love church and can’t get enough.

Some of you experienced that this past week for the first time.

I’ve been going to them all my life.

I. The Direction that is Charted

Staying where they were was not an option.

Notice what was waiting for them in Succoth: booths or shelter

  • Vs. 17 – A Place of Permanence – they build a house
  • Vs. 17 – A Place of Protection – they made booths for the cattle
  • Vs. 18 – A Place of Provision – came to Shalem (John 3:23) there was much water there.
  • Vs. 18, 19 – A Place of Planting – Padanaram – he bought a field
  • Vs. 20 – A Place of Prayer – he erected there an altar

Where we should be going is not up for debate.

The direction of this ministry and this church is set.

We are going to continue to identify as an old, fashion, old-time religion, King James Bible preaching church.

We are going to continue to sing the hymns and old songs that are doctrinally and biblically pure.

We are going to pursue holiness, godliness and righteousness without apology and without hesitation.

We are going to go after sinners and strive to reach the world with the gospel.

We are not going contemporary in any sense of the word.

We are not going to comply with the progressive ideology, either politically or in the ecclesiastical realm.

We are going to continue to expose the fallacies of evolution, abortion, sodomy, the trans-movement, antifa, Black Lives Matters agenda, socialism, Marxism, communism.

We are going to protest tyranny, any politician or government official that tries to infringe on our liberties and freedoms.

We are going to train up our children to fear God, respect authority, obey their parents and love Jesus.

We are going to separate ourselves from the world while doing everything within our power to reach the world.

We are going to continue to build this church on strong, bold, fervent, Holy Ghost anointed, Bible preaching.

We are going to wave the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ without fear, favor or apology.

Where we should be going is not up for debate.

The direction is non-negotiable; however, the pace is.

This is where the struggle is real for a pastor.

II. The Discernment that is Crucial

Jacob knew the state of his people and his flocks. See verse 13

  • 13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.

TENDER: tenderhearted; tender, soft, delicate, weak; weak of heart, timid

  • Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

The pastor is the overseer of the flock of God according to Acts 20.

  • Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
  • Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

PASTOR: In the Hebrew ra‘ah is shepherd; herdsman.

III. The Distinction that is Clear

There are diverse groups in the church.

  • See 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 

There are diverse levels of spirituality and growth in the church.

  • See 1 Corinthians 12:18-24

Some are strong and some are weak.

Some grow and some don’t. 

Some are hungry and some aren’t.

The importance of unity is stressed throughout the scriptures.

  • See 1 Corinthians 12:25-27
  • Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith…

What is a pastor to do with those that don’t want to follow, grow, participate, be unified?

IV. The Delay that is Costly

Urgency is required.

We don’t have time to waste.

There is a serious side-effect of leading too softly.

In essence, we are allowing the weak to set the pace for the whole church.

The weak and feeble that are still on milk are in danger of holding others back from strong meat. 

1 Corinthians 3

  • 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
  • 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
  • 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Hebrews 5

  • 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
  • 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  • 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
  • 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
  • Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;

There is always a danger of yielding too much to unlearned and foolish people. 

Unlearned and unstable people will always wrestle the scriptures; that’s just what they do.

  • 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Setting unfaithful and unholy people up as examples and leaders presents a grave danger to the church.

Those that are tender; weak; feeble; failing behind cannot be leaders and set the course for the whole church. 

It is also possible to give too much credibility to those that will never follow God’s will for the church. 

The time has come to move forward.

Those that don’t want to cannot keep the rest of the church from moving ahead and growing.

If they haven’t gotten on board by now, they probably never will.

There are men of God that have been preaching for 30, 40, 50 years that have the opportunity to sow into our church.

I want to hear them.

There are doctrines and truths that I want to expound and preach on that will take us deeper into the Word.

I want to dive deeper into the Word and explore the treasures of this Book.

I cannot continue to stay in the ankle-deep water.

It’s time you learn how to swim!

Grow some teeth and develop an appetite for meat! Trade that baby bottle in for a steak knife!

Conclusion: Esau had the idea in Genesis 33:15 to leave more people with Jacob to help him.

Jacob’s answer was clear. “We don’t need more helpers; more workers; more chaperones; more babysitters.”

We just need to pace ourselves and take our time so we don’t kill the kids and flocks.

It’s up to you to pick up the pace.