In the Old Testament, Moses for a time was managing all the conflicts among the tribes and peoples of Israel. He was burnt out. Thankfully his father-in-law witnessed the burn out and gave Moses some Godly advice as recounted in Exodus 18: 17-23. “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone…look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 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.’”
An MAOL student in PNG headed Jethro’s advice. This student, who asked to remain anonymous, is a president of an evangelical denomination in the city of Lae. He oversees 16 church as well as pastors his own church. For a time he was leading based on the hierarchical leadership model created by the denomination. As a result he was managing all conflicts. After taking the ‘Servant Leadership’ and ‘Conflict Management and Resolution’ MAOL courses he realized he cannot sustain this practice. He will soon burn out. So he gathered all the leadership of the 16 churches together to teach them servant leadership principles and to teach them how to manage conflict in a Godly manner. In that moment he empowered the churches to make decisions for themselves and empowered pastors to lead their congregations through rough waters.
He shares further that as a result of this change, “we are strategically reorganizing the Lae churches so that the power of the church, which used to be way up in the hierarchy, is now decentralized down to the people in the congregations so people feel responsible to share in the work and in solving problems. I am no longer an idol they look up to.”