The Moses Method and the Jethro Plan

Moses is a wonderful Old Testament picture of the New Testament Apostle. He was God's man, full of faith and power, able to freely enter the heights of God's Glory and deliver the Word of God to the people. However, like many modern day individuals who minister with an Apostolic Anointing, Moses had no idea how to properly care for those who had collected around him.

Moses, the Apostle and Prophet

The church of Jesus Christ
is full of powerful leaders
like Moses;
successful in delivering
God's message
- but missing a clue or two.

The church of Jesus Christ is full of powerful leaders like Moses; called and anointed of God, sent to do a task, successful in delivering God's message and in bringing a large number of God's people out of bondage and on their way to "the promised land" - but missing a clue or two.

Moses, the "Pastor"

Moses is also a perfect picture of the non-Biblical church office we today call "the pastor." On his desk sat a sign saying, "The Buck Stops Here." He did not know the limits of his abilities and gifts. Nor did he know how to utilize the leadership abilities of others. Everyone went to him for everything - for instruction, to settle disputes, to receive wise counsel, and for care when they were in need.

The Moses Method of "pastoring," duplicated by so many today, is a sure recipe for leadership burnout and laity frustration. The leaders are asked to give more than they have. Their followers are in need of more than they receive. There has to be a better way. Fortunately, there is.

The Man With the Plan

When Moses father-in-law Jethro dropped by for a visit he saw Moses sitting all day, governing. He was exhausting himself and wearing out the people. Jethro not only saw the problem, he provided the God-given solution.


Exodus18:13 - 27 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.

Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land. (KJV)

Jesus anointed and appointed 12 Apostles as part of the foundation of the New Testament church. There were also 120 close associates in the Upper Room. On the Day of Pentecost 3000 souls were saved. If each Apostle was over a group of 10 trained leaders, and the 3000 divided up among the 120, each of those would have had a group of 25 for which they were responsible. No one can adequately disciple, train, lead or pastor more people than that.

The Pattern for Pastoring

It matters not how this pattern is instituted in the local church. There is no set plan. God may lead one church to set up cell groups, another to do something entirely different. Even among churches who have instituted cell groups there are a number of models from which to choose and to adapt to the local body. While each church needs to hear from God for their own situation, it is imperative that every church move away from the one person leadership and ministry model. It is not Biblical and it will not work.

The spiritual landscape is full of churches that were founded by people of great vision, powerful Apostolic Anointing, and a pure heart after God. These churches, whether large or small, are full of grateful people who have been greatly blessed by the anointed ministry of the person who is leading them. They are also full of very frustrated people because no church, and no church member, can function well, or come to the fullness of their potential in Christ, until that church moves from the Moses Method and adopts the Jethro Plan.

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