The Load of Leadership – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Load of Leadership

Part 1

Numbers 11:10-15

Intro: There is a horrific lack of leadership in this country.

  • We need leadership in our communities.
  • We need leadership in our country.
  • We need leadership in our homes.
  • We need leadership in our churches.

But not everybody wants to be a leader.

Many of those that ARE in leadership simply do not know what a leader is.

God wants to show us some major truths about leadership from this chapter.

I. The DISTINCTION of Leadership – vs. 1, 2, 10-14

Moses was distinctly different from “all this people.”

It is important to understand that being a leader means being different.

NOTE: The leader is not better than the people; he is different.

Leaders are different.

  • They think different.
  • They act different.
  • They look different.
  • They respond differently.
  • They do everything differently.
  • They have different desires; dreams; expectations.
  • They see things differently; they process information differently.
  • They listen differently; they interact differently.
  • They handle problems differently; they pray about things differently.
  • Leaders have rules to follow others do not.
  • Leaders have responsibilities that others do not have.
  • Leaders have accountability that others do not have.
  • Leaders have a relationship with God that others may not have.

There are a multitude of Scriptures that teach the simple yet important truth that leadership is a heavy burden to carry.

Leaders have a load to bear that other people do not have nor understand.

Churches today are falling into apostasy because of weak leadership.

Churches have lost God’s touch and power because of sin in places of leadership.

The reason is simple – being a leader is not easy; it is not for sissies and wimps.

Pastoring a church in 2022 is a constant struggle, battle – both spiritually and mentally.

A true leader never escapes the load of leadership.

It is not something that you put on in the morning on the way out the door.

You don’t hang it up in the coat closet when you come home in the evening.

That load is something that you bear 24/7.

ILLUSTRATION: I am coming up on eight years as the pastor here at Calvary Baptist Church.

Eight in the Bible is the number for New Beginning.

After praying and years of patience, I feel strongly impressed to raise the bar in our leadership.

I have been burdened to address this subject for both the current leaders and prospective leaders of our church.

As the pastor, it is my responsibility to define and maintain leadership requirements.

It is my responsibility to recruit, train, strengthen, equip and lead our church leaders.

Any failure on the part of our church leaders is my failure.

The buck stops here.

  • If we have leaders that are not doing right, it’s my fault.
  • If we have leaders that are unqualified, that is my fault.
  • If we have leaders that were not trained right, that is my fault.
  • If we have a two-tiered justice system, that is my fault.
  • If we have leaders that are not sincere or faithful, that is my fault.
  • If we have leaders that are not qualified, for whatever reason, it is my fault.

Either I didn’t train them right, or I haven’t pulled them in and addressed it like I should have.

Problems in leadership do not fix themselves; they must be confronted, or they escalate.

It is my responsibility to establish the guidelines, set the boundaries, define the expectations and uphold them.

Nobody else can do it; nobody else has the obligation or the responsibility to do it.

God has burdened me to be a better leader and pastor.

God has impressed upon my heart to do a better job training and equipping the leaders in our church.

The pastor was placed in the church by the Holy Ghost to be the overseer of the flock.

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

OVERSEER means a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent

God has burdened me to fulfill my role as the pastor better.

God has burdened me to help every leader and every future leader in this church.

God is blessing this church, and He has much more He wants to do.

If the pastor and the leadership begin to back down and slack off, so will God’s blessings.

I don’t want to jeopardize God’s blessings on this ministry because I won’t deal with problems that are my job.


               1. Eli was the priest didn’t restrain his sons, who were also priests. (I Sam. 3:13, 14)

God’s punishment was that the iniquity of Eli’s house would never be purged forever.

               2. Samuel’s sons, who were judges, were corrupt. It was because of this that the people wanted a king. (1 Sam. 1-5)

               3. The churches in Crete were out of order. Titus was instructed to set in order THE THINGS THAT ARE WANTING.

WANTING: to leave, leave behind, forsake, to be left behind; to lag, be inferior; to be destitute of, to lack; to be wanting, to fail

This involved a multiplicity of things.

Titus was instructed FIRST THING to ordain qualified elders in every city.

He was also instructed in chapter 1 to deal with unruly and vain talkers, deceivers and evil workers in the church.

Leaders are distinct in that they are tasked with fixing those things in the church that are not right.

Establishing order; addressing those things that are wanting.

Not everybody can do that; not everyone WANTS to do that.

II. The DIFFICULTIES of Leadership – vs. 11-15– vs. 11-15

Biblical leadership is not easy.

Most people don’t want anything to do with it.

Many that are leaders wish they weren’t.

Who does a leader go to when he wants to cry?

Where does he turn when he is overwhelmed?

  • vs. 2 “…the people cried unto Moses, and Moses prayed unto the Lord.”
  • vs. 10 – “Moses heard the people weep…and Moses said unto the Lord…”

The people cried to Moses; Moses in turn cried to God.

The people complained to Moses; he complained to God.

The people went to Moses for direction; Moses went to God for direction.

Moses was in such a state of overwhelming despair that he prayed God would kill him! – vs. 15

The Bible says that the anger of God was kindled greatly.

It also says that Moses also was “displeased.” That is Hebrew for not happy!

Moses was displeased with the:

               1. Wants of the People – vs. 4 “…the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting…”

               2. Wickedness of the People – vs. 5 “we remember…which we did eat in Egypt freely…”

               3. Weeping of the People – vs. 10, 13 “…every man in the door of his tent..” He called them babies.

               4. Weight of the People – vs. 11-15 “…layest the burden of all this people upon me…”

III. The DELEGATING of Leadership – vs. 16-17

There were several key elements to this aspect of the story that stood out about this group of 70.

               1. They were handpicked by Moses for their current leadership ability – vs. 16b

Moses didn’t pick them based on their family or tribe, but by their leadership capabilities.

It was not a popularity contest.

It was not based on who brought the most offerings in chapter 7.

It was not based on who Moses liked or who liked him.

It wasn’t a buddy system.

They were chosen for their leadership abilities and ability to influence and impact people.

               2. They gathered IN the tabernacle and stood with Moses THERE. – vs. 16c

You can’t stand WITH God’s man if you’re not there.

They gathered IN the tabernacle and stood with Moses THERE.

I’ve heard people in leadership say, “Pastor, I’m standing with you.” If you’re not here you’re not!

They were standing WITH Moses because they were all in the same place.

God did something unprecedented, and they were there to witness it and experience it together.

               3. They met in the tabernacle and was spoken to directly by God. – vs. 17a; 24

It is crucial that those recruited to serve in leadership know what it means to meet with God.

Meeting with God on a personal and intimate level is a key missing ingredient with many church leaders.

The Bible doesn’t say that 50 or 60 of them met in the tabernacle while the rest went on vacation.

They didn’t skip this meeting to go to a family reunion or ball game.

There wasn’t a livestream video that they could go back and watch at their convenience.

Nobody had to bring them up to speed and fill them in and keep them in the loop because they were missing.

               4. The same spirit that was upon Moses was put upon them. – vs. 17b; 25

God didn’t give Moses the spirit of the seventy men.

He gave the seventy the spirit of Moses.

Not a similar spirit, or a kindred spirit, or a sympathetic spirit, or a loyal spirit. It was THE SAME SPIRIT.

It is the spirit of Moses; just like Elisha wanted a double portion of the spirit of Elijah.

It was the essence of the man.

NEW TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATION: The Apostle Paul repeated this same key element in NT church leadership.

Unity is vital to success.

  • Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

               5. Their assignment was to bear the burden WITH Moses; not FOR Moses. vs. 17c

God didn’t take the burden OFF of Moses; He just let him share it with seventy others.

That’s how much burden there was on him. Enough for seventy people to bear.

He didn’t take his hands off the wheel; he didn’t take his eyes off the ball; he shared the load.

               6. They experienced something supernatural like they never had before.

Once they received the spirit of Moses, they were able to do things they had never done before.

Their leadership went to another level.

Their energy level increased; their impact increased; their ministry increased.

NOTE: There were two that missed the meeting. We don’t know why. (vs. 26-28)

God was merciful and they too received the spirit of Moses, and the ability to prophesy.

They didn’t start out right, but they got right.

They didn’t get off on the right foot, but they stepped up and helped Moses bear the burden.

               7. Moses was thrilled to the point that he wished everybody could experience it. – vs. 29

Joshua was afraid that these two would overshadow Moses.

Moses was not insecure.

He wanted every person in Israel to have the ability to minister and share in the load of leadership.

The Load of Leadership

Part 2

Ephesians 4:11-16

Intro: We are going to examine some of the loads of leadership within the New Testament church.

EXAMPLE: The Levites were literally called “burden bearers” in the Bible. (Numbers 4)

They were a select few.

They were given specific tasks.

They were given roles of leadership and service.

They lived by a different set of rules than everybody else.

The Levites were chosen by God to bear the burden of the ministry.

In the New Testament church, we do not have “Levites”, but we do have leaders.

There is a burden and a load of responsibility that is placed on those that serve as leaders in the church.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul referred to “the care of all the churches” as one of the many afflictions he had to endure.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

CARE: care, anxiety

Same Greek word in: 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Let us examine a few of these cares; these loads; these burdens.

I. The Load to Conform

One of the most important burdens of a leader is to be conformed into the image of God’s Son.

  • Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

If you are not willing to comply with God’s effort to change you into His image, you CANNOT be a leader in a New Testament church.

If a life of sinful disobedience doesn’t bother you, you cannot be a leader.

If open rebellion against light and truth and holiness doesn’t bother you, you cannot be a leader.

If you’re comfortable being carnal, backslid, worldly and unscriptural in your practices, you cannot be a leader.

More importantly that what you DO, it is who you ARE.

Notice Ephesians 4:13

               1. “…till we all come in the unity of the faith…”

               2. “…and of the knowledge of the Son of God…”

               3. “…unto a perfect man…”

               4. “…unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

God is a strong proponent of leadership requirements.

Old Testament priests had rigid rules to conform to.

New Testament qualifications for leadership are stressed repeatedly.

Over and over, Paul reminded the churches to follow him AS HE FOLLOWED CHRIST.

He set himself as a pattern.

Paul said repeatedly; follow me as I follow Christ.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

He told Timothy that he was to be a pattern.

  • 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

One of the heaviest burdens of a church leader is to be the example of the believer that God intended.

II. The Load to Confirm

In our text, the burden of personal conformity is part of the load, but that is not all of it.

One of the burdens; the loads is the spiritual welfare of others.

  • Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Not only do we have the responsibility to conform to the image of Christ, but we also have to see that others do.

The spirituality and the faithfulness of other Christians are our responsibility.

It can be overwhelming.

If you are not helping others grow; become more like Christ; encouraging them in the Lord, you’re not a leader.

If you sympathize with backsliders, you’re not a leader; you’re a loser.

You are not a discipler; you are a detractor.

The Apostle Paul’s response to being stoned to death was to get up and get back to work.

Notice Acts 14

  • 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
  • 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
  • 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

CONFIRM: to establish besides, strengthen more, to render more firm, confirm

Acts 15

  • 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
  • 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

Notice the group that is referred to in Ephesians 4:11-16.

This passage is often used to describe the job of the pastor.

But the pastor is not the only one mentioned in verse 11.

That verse also includes teachers.

If you are a pastor or a teacher, your job is clearly defined in verses 12-16 of Ephesians 4.

III. The Load to Confront

Notice verse 15 – “…but speaking the truth in love.”

Notice chapter 5:1, 2 – the Bible says we are to walk in love.

We like that part of leadership. Loving people, caring for people, being sympathetic and understanding.

But keep reading chapter 5!

From verse 3 all the way to verse 13 teaches us that speaking the truth and walking in love involves rebuke!

  • You can love them, but you cannot side with them! – vs. 3, 4
  • You can love them, but you cannot be partakers with them. – vs. 7
  • You can love them, but you cannot have fellowship with them! – vs. 11
  • You can love them, but you cannot even talk about their sinful lifestyle! – vs. 12
  • You can love them, but you must reprove them. – vs. 11, 13

I don’t profess to understand all there is about this point.

I’ve been meditating, studying, praying about this aspect of leadership for weeks.

We’ve discussed it in staff meetings and kicked this around.

One thing is clear – one of the heaviest burdens of a leader is the responsibility to confront people and issues.

Jesus said in John 10

  • 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
  • 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

A biblical description of a hireling is a shepherd that won’t confront the wolves and protect the sheep.

He flees – he avoids his duty – he sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep to the wolf.

A heavy load of leadership is those times when you have to confront.

  • Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

The Bible is clear about the church.

  • 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

If the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, how does a church no longer stand for truth?

We know these facts:

  • God is truth. – Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;
  • Jesus is truth. – John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
  • The Spirit is truth. – John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…
  • The Bible is truth. – John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

So – how does truth fall in the street?

How does a church fall into doctrinal and biblical error?

How does apostasy creep into a church?

I can list a host of ways, but one of the most prominent is the failure of leadership to confront error.

It is usually through the negligence of the leadership; the pastor; the undershepherd; the overseer of the flock.

It is expected that the people of God; the church; the flock; the sheep will stray from truth.

That is no mystery.

The purpose of the pastor is to keep the sheep on the path of truth.

  • 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

If judgment must begin at the house of God, who initiates that process?

Illustrations of confrontational leadership being the catalyst for revival and/or judgment.

1. Moses and Korah – Numbers 16

Why didn’t God drop Korah into the pit alive before he had a chance to influence the other 250?

Why didn’t God destroy Korah without Moses having to be the one to denounce him?

Why did Moses insert himself into the judgment of God on Korah?

God told Moses in vs. 20, 21 that He was going to destroy them.

But in verse 28-30, Moses made a point to mention his authority as their leader.

2. Joshua and Achan – Joshua 7

Why didn’t God deal with Achan when he sinned?

Why did God have Joshua handle it?

Why did God make Joshua and the people cast the stones and kill him and his family?

3. Samuel and Saul – 1 Samuel 15

Saul spared Agag and the best of all the flocks.

Why didn’t God deal with Saul right then?

Instead, God went and told Samuel in vs. 10, 11 and it grieved Samuel and he cried unto the Lord all night long.

It was in verse 14 that Samuel confronted Saul about his sin.

4. David and Nathan – 2 Samuel 12

NOTE: David was saying “Amen” to the preaching until Nathan told him it was HIM he was preaching to.

David agreed with Nathan.

David clearly saw the injustice and wrong in that story.

God didn’t deal with David until he was confronted by the man of God.

5. Peter and Annanias and Sapphira – Acts 5

Why didn’t God strike them dead when they lied to the Holy Ghost?

Notice God’s command in Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression…

  • Jeremiah 1:10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.