One of the primary and most difficult roles of a leader is leading change.When leading an organization, a church, a ministry, a small group, or even ourselves, we must be on the look out for two warning signs that will fight against change.
Warning Sign# 1: Slavish Thinking
Moses was faced with leading a massive change project. God asked Moses to lead a people out of place they knew well to a an unknown land. And though it was, “a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey” compared to a land of slavery, hardship, and oppression…that didn’t make the change any easier of a leadership project.
In spite of what they would be gaining compared with what they were leaving, we could assume the people would run toward the change. But we find that is not the case.
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12 ESV)
And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:1-3 ESV)
the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3 ESV)
What we see time and time again is a people who resist change. A people caught in the rut and trap of slavish thinking. And even when the had traveled to the destination of change and were about to be the recepients of the change…they balked. Again, they could not let go of the bondage of slavish thinking.
Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. (Numbers 13:31-32 ESV)
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:1-4 ESV)
In other words….they wanted to stay slaves.
They did not want to change. They were unwilling to go through the work of change. And in refusing to change they were setting themselves up to wander.
not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. (Numbers 14:30 ESV)
And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last ofyour dead bodies lies in the wilderness. (Numbers 14:33 ESV)
Moses spent 40 years wandering the desert walking the slavish thinking out of those people.
They wanted to wander because the direct route of change can be so hard. We do the same. We all fall victim to slavish thinking. We must be on the look out for that sort of thinking. We must always remember that a life in Christ is change. It is the ultimate change.
Warning Signs #2: False Gods
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” (Exodus 32:1 ESV)
They got a little nervous about change and the create their own gods.
We do the same. We create false of god to save us from our fears.
Strategies, tactics, and methods
Our past successes
We make God’s of our past. We make God’s out of our present.</div>
For leaders and followers alike it is all to easy to forget to worship and trust in one True God.
Be On Guard
When the wilderness gets tough…too many of us want to turn back to and return to captivity. Our job as leaders to guard against that kind of slavish thinking.
A poor leader doesn’t know the way. A leader points the way. A servant leader models the way.