Organize God’s People, Like Jethro Did, So that All Serve

Share Responsibilities with Other Shepherding Elders

Those who teach children should read study #81 for children.


Prayer. “Dear Lord, help us to organize in the way that Jethro advised Moses.”

Choose activities that fit current needs and local culture.

1.    Prepare Your Heart and Mind with God’s Word.

Find in Exodus chapter 18 how God used Moses’ mentor, Jethro, to organise social groups among the Israelites.

·         If you do not recall how Moses met Jethro, then, please, read Exodus chapters 1 through 3.

·         How did Moses make sure that every Israelite family received care from a spiritual shepherd?

·         How many people did Jethro recommend to have in their smallest shepherding groups?

·         God gave those new elders basic rules by which to govern His people (Ex. chapters 19 & 20).

·         Those laws were the Covenant between God and Israel, based on the Ten Commandments.

·         Those rules were the heart of God’s ancient law for Israel, which the Jews call ‘Torah.’

·         The shepherding took place in the small groups, of ten.

·         A shepherd can hardly listen to more than about ten families, to care for them all properly.

·         The leaders of the larger groups coordinated the administration of justice and government.

Balanced leadership combines four duties, which these four biblical leaders modelled:


1) Moses, a seer, saw into the future and inspired his followers with his vision of what God would do.


God gives to some leaders the ability to start flocks in new areas. They help shepherds to plan and to multiply these flocks.

2) Joshua, a fighter, carried out Moses’ vision in a practical way. He sometimes used military force.


God gives courage to some organizers to keep serving Him even when people oppose them. They spur workers to persevere.

3) Aaron, a manager, was High Priest and made sure that other priests carried out the daily priestly duties.


God gives to some organizers skill to manage accurately the details of a ministry, making the work easy for the other workers.

4) Barnabas, an encourager, was compassionate. He helped people to work together in harmony.


God helps some organizers to make His work socially enjoyable. They assure and console, and enjoy dealing with people’s needs.


Good organizers balance these four strengths, often combining them in a team of leaders.

·         Which of these four strengths for organizing do you do well? For which do you need help?

·         A good organizer works closely with helpers who have spiritual gifts that he lacks.

·         Rarely can an organizer attain well all four of these strengths, like Jesus, David and Paul did.

Good organizers share leadership responsibilities. Jesus, David and Paul did not work alone.

Initiators start new congregations and new projects, or they begin God’s work in new areas.

·         A visionary leader sees in his heart what God will do, and shares this vision with others.

·         They might mentor other leaders quietly, like Moses who let Aaron do the public speaking.

·         Peter and others who organized new congregations in the book of Acts were initiators.

·         A visionary leader, like Moses, knows clearly what God wants his flock to do. If no one provides such foresight, then shepherds cannot lead, because they do not know where to go. Teaching by itself is neither organizing nor leading. And simply enforcing rules leads nowhere.

·         Managers carry on the work in organizations that initiators started.

·         Titus stayed in Crete to train shepherds for the new flocks that Paul had started (Titus 1:5).

·         Good managers organize to do what God requires of a flock. Flocks are to tell about Jesus, pray, give, counsel, teach, serve the needy, develop fellowship, strengthen families, organize to serve, develop virtues, worship, start new flocks, train leaders and send missionaries.

Which are you, an initiator or a manager? (Very few organizers do both well over a long time.)

Visit believers who should serve as shepherding elders and help them to get started. If any leaders need to learn more about organizing correctly, then review this study with them.

2.    Plan with your co-workers activities for the week.

Meet with your co-workers and help them to organize the way Jethro told Moses to do so.

Play a game of ‘Wolves’ to compare bad organizing with good organizing (do not do this during worship).

·         Ask ten or more people to play sheep. Let them stand in a long queue without moving.

            – Name three wolves and a shepherd. They may move.

            – When you say ‘Go’ the wolves will try to capture sheep. If a wolf touches a sheep, it has to fall down.

            – If the shepherd touches a wolf, it has to fall down. Stop when several sheep are ‘dead.’

·         Let the shepherd organize his sheep into small groups, with a new shepherd to guard each group.

·         – Say “Go!” again and stop when the wolves are dead.

·         Ask the believers,
“Which is more valuable, a sheep or a human soul?”
“Why did Jethro advise Moses to name shepherds for small groups?”
“Which is better, to have many shepherds leading many small groups of believers, or to have one shepherd leading one very large flock?”

·         Discuss why God wants us to form small groups.

3.    Plan with your co-workers the upcoming worship time.

Tell or act out how Jethro told Moses to organize his people.

Ask the questions from Part 1 of this study.

Explain the leaders’ four duties from Part 1 (vision, firmness, thoroughness and kindness). Let believers give reports of help received from a group small enough to deal with their needs

Let the children present their drama and other things that they have prepared. Explain the need for both initiators and managers in God’s work. Memorize together God’s rule for shepherds, from 1 Peter 5:2-3. Sit in groups of two or three to pray, make plans and encourage one another.

Before the Lord’s Supper tell how Jesus fed 5,000 men (Luke 9:12-17). They sat in groups of about fifty each, to make sure that everyone was fed. We, too, may eat the Lord’s Supper in small groups, so that all believers can join this ‘participation’ in the body and blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).