Jethro’s Advice to Pastors

Barry Buzza February 3, 2019 The Red Thread

Big Idea: The Pastor’s primary responsibility is to equip (repair and prepare) the people of the Church to do the work of the ministry.

Introduction: Pastor Moses was born a Hebrew but trained as a leader for forty years in Pharaoh’s home. When God called him to lead Israel out of captivity, Moses thought he knew how to lead and to deliver his people. But God had to retrain him in His way, and so he sent him to be a shepherd and work with sheep in the Wilderness of Midian for another forty years.

When Moses finally stepped into his Pastoral ministry, he still had the idea that, as leader, he was the most qualified for every job. He was the anointed appointed Leader. His father-in-law, Jethro, came to visit, and retaught him one of the most basic principles of leadership. Delegation and empowerment.

Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are
doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.

Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”
Exodus 18:17-23 NASB

My life Scripture as a Pastor:
… then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.
Exodus 18:20

… and you shall kill the ram and take part of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tips of the right ears of his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet, and throw the rest of the blood against the sides of the altar.
Exodus 29:20 ESV


Three primary responsibilities:

  1. Teach the Word. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
    2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

  1. Teach the Way. … and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he (Paul) found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
    Acts 9:2 ESV


Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Psalms 27:11 ESV


  1. Teach the Work. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
    Ephesians 4:11-13 ESV


Application: The whole Church, young and old, male and female, are called to be ministers and to serve Jesus with whatever gifts he has given to them. We are to know the Word, walk in the Way and do the Work of the ministry.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:10-11a ESV

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