Leadership principles of Moses


1) Introduction

2) A man called by God

3) A close walk with God

4) A man of integrity and character

5) A man of faith

6) A man of prayer

7) A man of single mindedness

8) A man of vision

9) A man of boldness

10) A disciple maker

11) A man who delegates

12) A man of humility

13) Conclusion


Leadership Principles in the Life and Ministry of Moses


            Moses is one of the most well known individuals in the Bible, and this is for good reason.  Moses was the person whom God used to lead His people out of slavery, and also to deliver His Law to Israel.  Moses had a relationship with God that was unlike any during his lifetime.  As a result of being chosen by God to lead the great nation of Israel, Moses provides many good principles of leadership to learn from. 

A man called by God

            One thing that is essential in being a leader in ministry is a clear call from God.  An individual should not “test out” being in leadership.  In the life of Moses a clear call to leadership is seen.  God first introduced Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Exod. 3:2-9).  After talking with Moses for a little bit, God lets Moses know that he is the one chosen to lead Israel out of Egypt (Exod. 3:10-16).  God made it very clear to Moses that he was the one to tell the Israelites the plan, and then go speak to Pharaoh on behalf of God.  An individual who is going to be a leader in ministry should know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is called by God to ministry.  The Bible makes it clear that those called to the office of pastor should not do it for any other reason than the fact that God has given them pure and holy desires to be a leader for Him (1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Pet. 5:2).  If someone is called to leadership in ministry they will know that there is no other thing that they could do because God has given them such a burden and desires to be a leader for Him.     

The call of an individual to leadership should not be a surprise to those around

him.  There should be evidence of leadership ability in the life of the man claiming to be called to leadership.  There should be spiritually mature people that know the individual that can recognize and authenticate the call to leadership.  The people did not just have to take Moses’ word for it in regard to his call to leadership.  There is outward visible evidence that Moses is the chosen leader.  Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh, which means that he was very well educated (Exod. 2:10).  His attitude toward the Israelites was not in doubt after his reaction to their mistreatment (Exod. 2:11-14). 

Another reason the calling of Moses was not in doubt was as a result of the miracles that God allowed him to perform in front of the Israelites (Exod. 4:1-9, 28-31).  God used these miracles to authenticate the call of Moses, so that the people would follow him.  The leadership of Moses was proven in an incredible way at the Red Sea.  God enabled Moses to part the Red Sea so that he could lead the Israelites to safety from the Egyptians, and to close it to destroy their army (14:21, 26, 31).  The Lord also showed the people that He spoke to Moses in a way that was different from the way He spoke to anyone else.  God spoke to Moses individually, and this was to prove to the Israelites that Moses was their leader (19:9).   

Moses was certain that God had called him to be a leader, and the Israelites were certain that Moses was called by God to be their leader.  Moses listened to and accepted God’s commissioning of him to lead His people, and be an example for them.  The Israelites saw Moses’ education, abilities, and miracles that he performed.  The people recognized and accepted this visible proof as enough evidence for the calling of Moses. 

A close walk with God

An essential aspect of ministry leadership is a close walk with God.  There is no chance for true success without knowing what God wants done.  The life of Moses is a great example of a close walk with God.  The first example of this is seen when God tells Moses that He will speak to him directly, and teach him what to do (Exod. 4:15-17).  God establishes the fact that He and Moses will be in frequent communication, and Moses will be learning from God what He wants done with His people.  If Moses was not talking with God he would have to guess what to do, and that would not be good. 

As a result of Moses’ close relationship with God when success comes Moses gives the credit to God (Exod. 17:15-16).  This shows that Moses realizes who God really is, and that God does not share credit for the things He accomplishes.  This is very important for leaders to remember throughout time.  When God blesses your ministry and your leadership the credit goes to Him alone.  A leader must praise God when success comes because it only came as a result of God’s goodness. 

The relationship between God and Moses is incredible.  Moses had an intimacy with God that none of the other people could know.  God spoke to Moses alone, and then Moses would go to the people on behalf of God (19:3).  Moses knew that he was not to teach the people things that God had not commanded him to speak.  He knew that God was the one who was in charge.  The people knew that Moses was allowed special privileges with God that they were not allowed.  They were told by God that only Moses could come near Him (24:2;16-18).  The Bible says that God spoke with Moses face to face, just like a man would speak with his friend (33:11).  This is something that all leaders should desire in their own lives.  This kind of intimacy with God is available for all that have entered into a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Moses took the time to seek God with all of his heart. 

Moses said some things to God that were very bold, but very necessary.  God told Moses that He would not go with the people because of their rebellious ways, but Moses told God that if He was not going to lead the people to the Promised Land then they did not want to go any further (33:15).  This is the kind of intimacy and honesty that all leaders need to have with God to be able to lead His people effectively.  If we do not understand what God expects in our personal lives, or the direction He wants us to go then failure will be the end result.  There were times when the needs of the people were beyond what Moses could fulfill, so he told God that He would have to meet the needs of the people (Num. 11:10-15).  It seems like a bit of a temper tantrum, but Moses knew that he could not fix the problems.  Moses knew that only God could meet the needs of the people, and he told God that if He would not meet the needs to kill him.  This is something that leaders need to constantly remember in their ministry situations.  Only frustration will result from trying to fix things on our own.  These are God’s people, and we need to ask Him to help His people.  The prayer of Moses shows passion, intimacy, an understanding of who God is, and faith that He is the Almighty One.  This is an essential part of leadership in ministry.  

The Israelites would do whatever Moses said because they knew that God had commanded it (Num. 9:23).  Moses was the mediator between the people and God.  There were times when the people doubted the uniqueness of Moses’ relationship with God.  They wondered to themselves why he was so special, but God reminded them why.  God let the people know that even if He communicated with them in special ways, He communicated with Moses in ways that were clearer and more intimate (Num. 12:6-8).  The Lord warns the people that since Moses has such a privileged position that they should treat him with respect and honor.  This is true in the life of leaders in ministry.  God has placed us in places of authority, and we are His servants just like Moses was.  As God’s chosen leaders we have great responsibility for the way that we lead God’s people.  The people on the other hand after seeing that God has called us to leadership are to respect that we are called by God to leadership.  But just as Moses exemplified in his life we are to love the people that God has given us to lead.  We are not dictators. 

A man of integrity and character

If a leader is to be successful in the things that he does, he must be a man of integrity and character.  Not only should he be a man of integrity and character, but the people he is leading must know that he is a man of integrity and character.  If the people do not feel that they can trust him they will not follow him anywhere.  The Bible shows that Moses modeled these qualities to the people of Israel. 

When God gave Moses a command he not only told the people what God expected, he actually lived by the command (Exod. 16:19-20).  After the people had accepted the covenant that God had set forth Moses wrote down all of the words, and then ratified the covenant (24:4).  The Bible shows clearly that Moses took the commandments of God seriously.  He delivered them to the people, and then he called the people to obey them.  Moses’ actions called the people to attention.  He showed by his actions that obedience to God was very important. 

One of the greatest examples of Moses standing firm for God is when the Israelites made the golden calf at Mt. Sinai (32:19-29).  The Bible shows how angry Moses was that the people had forsaken God’s commandments so quickly.  Moses destroyed the idol himself, and confronted his brother Aaron who was left in charge while Moses was on the mountain with God.  Moses realized that this sinful conduct would cause them to be viewed in a poor way among their enemies, and this was not acceptable to him because he stood for righteousness (32:25).  Then Moses demanded that the people make a decision, either they serve God or they serve sin (32:26-27).  There was no time wasted in dealing out justice.  Moses had the Levites kill all of those who refused to end their sin, and 3,000 men were killed that day (32:27-28).  As a leader we see that Moses viewed things the way that God viewed them.  Moses was angry at the sin, and he demanded that the people dedicate themselves to God (32:29).  Through his actions Moses showed that serving God faithfully was not optional.  Moses stood as a defender of righteousness.

  The character of Moses is seen in the episode with Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-7).  Moses had already taught the people and the priests how to bring offerings.  When Nadab and Abihu brought the wrong kind of offering God judged them for their sin.  Moses reminded Aaron that God was very clear in what He had set forth for the priests to do.  In this case Moses had lost two nephews, and with the way that they died it was a frightening event.  Moses stood for the righteousness of God, and said that there would be no mourning for sin.  He told his brother Aaron and the other priests that even though this tragedy had occurred that they were to obey God in-spite of what had happened.  In the life of Moses we see that he is still a man of character and integrity in the hardest times. 

Moses was a man of integrity and character when it would have been much easier on him to compromise because of the circumstances.  When the people received the report from the 12 spies it was a very difficult time for Moses as a leader (Num. 13:25-14:9).  Moses did not give in to the unbelief of the people.  He instead clung to God’s promises, and interceded on behalf of the disobedient people (14:11-19).  Moses also stood boldly in opposition to the people when they rebelled a second time and insisted on invading the Promised Land against God’s command (14:39-45). 

Moses also let God deal with his enemies instead of seeking revenge against them himself.  This was seen in incidents with Aaron and Miriam (12:1-16).  They questioned the call of Moses as the leader of Israel, and God judged them.  Moses showed his character by praying for their healing.  The character of Moses is seen also in the incident with Korah and his rebellion (16:1-33).  Moses allowed God to deal with those who rebelled against his God-ordained leadership.  This also caused the others afraid to rebel against the leadership of Moses for a short time (16:34-35).  The next day the people complained, and blamed Moses for the death of the rebellious people (16:41-50).  As soon as Moses learned of the rebellion he commanded Aaron to go make sacrifice for the sin of the people (his graciousness).  Again we see in this example the character of Moses.  He allowed God to deal with the evil of those who rebelled against him.  This is something that everyone who is in ministry leadership must do.  We must allow God to deal with those who are rebelling against what God is leading us to do.  He is the one who has chosen us, and He is the one who will avenge us. 

The life of Moses is a repeated account of character and integrity.  Moses was the chosen leader of God, and he took that seriously.  Moses did not merely pass on the commandments to the people without heeding them.  He obeyed them as an example to the people.  Moses was the individual chosen by God to make judgments between the people in regard to the Law (Exod. 18:16).  He was the chosen “enforcer” of righteousness among the people.  Moses chose to honor God, and called the people to do so also. 

A man of faith

Another leadership principle seen in the life of Moses is the very important aspect of faith.  Moses really truly trusted God in the daily events of life.  If a man is going to be a success in leadership for God, he must be a man of faith.  The reason for this is that if you do not trust God, you will never attempt anything truly important for Him.  When you do not believe God’s promises, and step out on faith believing those promises you become nothing more than a manager.  A leader trusts God, and lives like God can do anything.

One of the first events that reveals the faith of Moses was when the Israelites were leaving Egypt, and Moses took the bones of Joseph with him (Exod. 13:19).  Joseph had made his people swear that they would take his bones from Egypt when they returned to the Promised Land in the future.  We see the faith of Moses because Moses lived a long period of time after Joseph, and he personally did not have to be the one to take the bones of Joseph.  Moses by his actions showed that he truly believed that God would fulfill His promise, and bring His people into the Promised Land.  This is an act of faith on Moses’ part.

A second example of the faith of Moses was seen at the Red Sea (Exod. 14:13-14).  Moses knew that God had promised to free the people from Egypt, and that the nation would dwell in the Promised Land someday.  While standing among a huge group of angry and frightened group of Israelites, Moses reminded them to trust God.  Moses told them that God would save them from the Egyptians, and they did not need to fight.  He even told the people that they could stand silently while God defeated the enemy.  The faith of Moses was great because he believed that God would do what He said He would do.  So as a leader being faced with the worst circumstances, Moses trusts God to take care of them. 

A third example of Moses’ faith is seen in a very difficult situation in the wilderness (Exod. 17:2-6).  The people were complaining that they did not have water, and Moses knew that he could not provide them with water.  Moses knowing that only God could resolve the situation called out to God for help, and God provided water.  Moses did not try to resolve the problems himself, because he knew he could not.  He knew that it was God’s responsibility to provide for the people, even though the people thought it was his responsibility. 

A fourth example of Moses’ faith is seen in interceding for the Israelites with God (32:30-32).  The people had sinned by making the golden calf, and Moses knew that God would not ignore the great evil that they had done so he went to talk with God about it.  Moses had already passed judgment on those who refused to repent of their sin, but the peoples’ relationship with God was hindered by sin.  Moses confessed the sin of the people to God, and said to God that if He would not forgive the people then He should kill him.  God still did thing on His own terms, but Moses had the faith to trust that God could forgive the people of their sin.  Moses showed his faith in the character of God.  He knew that God is merciful, and he was willing to trust in that fact. 

A fifth example of the faith of Moses is seen when God told Moses that He would not go with the people on their journey to the Promised Land (33:12-23).  Moses knew that the journey would be an absolute disaster without God leading them Himself.  As a result of this Moses holds God to His words, and asks God to allow him to know more about Him and find favor in His sight.  Moses then reminds God that the Israelites are His people.  Moses knew that God cared for the Israelites because He had chosen them as His people.  He told God that is how the other nations will know that he and the Israelites were His people because He went with them.  God told Moses that he had found favor in His sight, and Moses asks God to reveal His glory to Him.  Moses wanted to know God in the most intimate way possible, and to find favor with God.  Moses trusted God and asked Him to go with them.  He knew that without God they would accomplish nothing. 

Another example of the faith of Moses was when the people were leaving Sinai, and the ark started to move (Num. 10:35-36).  Moses knew that the ark represented God’s agreement with them, and one of the symbols of His presence with them.  When the ark set out Moses asks God to go out in front of the people and to protect them, and when it came to rest Moses asked God to come back among them.  This is amazing faith on the part of Moses.  He does not trust in the protection of people or weapons.  Moses trusts in the protection and guidance of the Lord to take them where they need to go.

A final example of the faith of Moses was seen when the people refused to go into the Promised Land (Num. 14:5).  Moses knew that God had prepared for them to receive the Promised Land, and the people were rebelling.  Moses fell on his face knowing that the people were doing the wrong thing.  He did not succumb to the unbelief of the majority.  Moses knew that the people were supposed to go in and conquer the Promised Land regardless of the unfavorable report of the majority.  God had made them a promise, and Moses believed that He would live up to it.

The Word of God clearly shows the role of faith in the leadership of Moses.  This in turn shows how important it is to really know what God’s Word says, and to have a strong faith that is willing to step out and trust God.  If a leader is not willing to trust God to do the things that He said He will do, effective leadership will not take place.  Moses as a leader exemplified trust in God.  His faith affected everything he did.

 A man of prayer

Another leadership principle that is essential in the life of a leader is the role of prayer.  Prayer is uninterrupted communication with God, and it is needed in lives of all believers, but especially in the lives of leaders.  Success in leadership will only come only if the leader spends a significant amount of time in prayer.  If a leader is to know what God wants done, he must be in contact with God frequently.  Prayer is one of the main ways that a leader stays in contact with God.  Moses shows the importance of prayer in his life, and leadership.

The first example of the role of prayer in Moses’ leadership is seen in the episode in which the Israelites complained about not having water (Exod. 17:2-6).  Moses is faced with a very difficult situation, and he goes to God for the answer.  As noted earlier this shows Moses’ faith, and the important of prayer in his life.  Moses did not attempt to devise his own strategy or solution.  He asked God what he was supposed to do because he knew that he was unable to meet the need of the people.  This is important in the life of a leader.  There will be many instances where a leader will be unable to answer or handle the need of the people or situation.  That is why it is so important to follow the example of Moses by calling out to God in prayer, and asking Him to take care of the problem.

A second example of the faith of Moses is seen in the aftermath of the golden calf incident (Exod. 32:11-14).  Moses intercedes on behalf of the people with God.  God is ready to wipe out the nation, and spare only Moses.  It is amazing to read the account and see how Moses appealed to God in concern for His reputation.  Moses prays to God and reminds Him that the Israelites are His people, and He had made a promise to them that He would give them the land.  Moses also says that if God destroys the people that the Egyptians would ridicule God.  The whole incident revolves around Moses going to God in prayer asking Him to answer for His own name and not because the people deserve it.  This incident shows leaders how to respond when things are not going well.  We are to cry out to God and ask Him to do something for His glory.

A third example of prayer in the life of Moses is seen when God reissued the Ten Commandments to the people (Exod. 34:5-9).  The account says that Moses called upon the Lord.  God then describes Himself to Moses as merciful, compassionate, and gracious.  Moses then prays and asks God to forgive the sin of the people, to continue with them, and to take them as His own possession.  Moses deemed it necessary to be in constant communication with God, and we see the positive results of it. 

The other two examples deal with Moses praying to God on behalf of the people.  At the time that God was describing the celebration of the Passover there were some men who were unable to celebrate because they had come into contact with a dead body, which made them unclean (Num. 9:5-7).  Faced with this predicament Moses did not try to solve the problem himself, he asked God what to do (9:8).  This is a great example of being faced with a situation, and not knowing immediately what to do.  Moses shows us what we should do, he asked God for help.  The final example deals with the people sinning, and God judging them (11:2).  As a result of this judgment the people cried out to Moses, and Moses then went to God in prayer.  After Moses prayed to God, God ended the judgment.  Moses cared for the welfare of the people, and he did not want to see them continue to be judged.  More importantly Moses trusted God, and that is why in this case he cried out to God for mercy.

A final example of Moses’ prayer life is seen in the incident where the people refused to enter the Promised Land (Num. 14:11-19).  Moses was very upset with the disobedient people but he did not agree to their destruction.  He still clung to the promises of God.  He asked God to forgive the people because of who He is, and for His own reputation in the world. 

The leadership principle of prayer is extremely important in the life of any leader.  A relationship with God that is filled with frequent communication is necessary for a leader to be on the path that God wants him on, and that results in the people being led in the right direction.  It is necessary for a leader to receive his vision/direction from God, and continued guidance throughout the leadership process.  Moses received his mission from God, then he lived by that mission, and communicated it to other people.  The other aspect of a leader’s prayer life deals with the reality of problems in ministry.  When problems arose in Moses’ life he went to God immediately in prayer for help and a solution.  This is essential for a leader to remember in his ministry, and his life.  We are not able to solve most problems, nor should we try.  God is the one that we should be going to in prayer for help with situations that we are faced with. 

A man of single mindedness

            Single mindedness is a leadership principle that must be a part of a leader’s life for him to be successful.  The focus of that single mindedness is also very important.  The focus of our lives must be Jesus Christ, and the mission that He has given us.  This results from a close personal relationship with the Lord, knowing His Word, and by prayer knowing what direction the Lord wants you to go in.  This must be an unwavering commitment to the mission that God has given to you as a leader. 

            In the life of Moses we see an unwavering single mindedness.  For Moses his life was concerned with leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land, and helping them to stand apart as the covenant people of God.  From the very beginning Moses’ mission is clear.  Moses was called by God to lead the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and to lead them to the Promised Land (Exod. 3:10-12).  As you look at the remainder of the life of Moses you see that his focus is on leading the Israelites to the destination that God has prepared for them.  He is unwavering in his commitment to the position of leadership that God has given. 

A great example of Moses’ single mindedness is seen in his prayer to God when the Israelites had sinned at Mt. Sinai (Exod. 32:11-13).  The Lord was ready to wipe out the entire nation with the exception of Moses.  Moses knew that the goal was to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and that had been accomplished.  But, along with that was the arrival in the Promised Land, which had not been accomplished yet.  Moses knew that if God wiped out the nation of Israel the Egyptians would ridicule God because He had not accomplished what He said He would.  The Egyptians would say that God freed the Israelites so that He could kill them in the wilderness.  Moses reminds God that the Israelites are His people, and this infers that God would not want to harm what was His.  Moses then brings up the covenant that God had made previously with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  In this covenant, God had promised to multiply their descendants and to bring them to live in the Promised Land.  This is a very powerful statement by Moses.  If God wiped out the nation of Israel that would be an immense setback for the fulfillment of the promise to multiply the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Moses also brings up the other aspect of the covenant promise that God would bring the Israelites into the Promised Land.  The decimation of the nation would not aid in the fulfillment of this aspect of the covenant either.  In the face of disaster Moses is still focused on the mission.  Moses has a single mindedness that is unshakeable at this point.  Moses did not think of himself at this time, he stayed focused on the mission.  This is something that all leaders need to do is be single minded.  A leader must know what his purpose is, what his mission is, and stay focused on those things without becoming side tracked.   

The single mindedness of Moses is seen again when God informs Moses that He will not be traveling with them anymore after their sin at Mt. Sinai (Exod. 33:11-23).  This was a devastating pronouncement for the people, and for Moses (33:4-6).  They knew that they needed God to be with them to be able to succeed in their journey.  The Bible declares that God spoke with Moses face to face just like a man would speak to his friend (33:11).  Moses took full advantage of these opportunities.  Moses was focused on the mission, and he told God that he had not been told who would go with him.  So he asked God to reveal His ways to him, and to remember that the Israelites are His people.  This is another moment that could have proved to be an absolute disaster because God was about to remove Himself from the people.  Moses was very open with God, and was clinging to the truth of who God is.  He knew that God had chosen the Israelites, and had promised to take them to the Promised Land.  Moses was single minded no matter what the circumstances were.  He knew what God had said the mission was, and the promises that God had made so Moses clung to those truths.  In the hardest times Moses again stays focused on what his purpose is, and what the goal of the mission is.  Here again is a time when Moses could have really gained a name for himself becoming the only leader of the nation of Israel.  God had said that He would not go with them, so Moses would have been completely in charge.  Moses stays focused on God, and does not let go of the fact that success is only possible when God is the one that brings it.  He knew that he needed to honor God, and follow His leading. 

A leader must keep a single minded focus on the mission, his purpose, and the leading of God.  This is essential in the life of all leaders in the Church.  A leader must know what God’s will is for him, for his ministry, and then he must be obedient to that mission.  When God is leading and we are following God is pleased.  Leaders must have an unwavering commitment to fulfilling their duty to God, and the mission that He has given to them.

A man of vision

A very important area in the life of a leader is the role of vision in the ministry that he has been called to.  There are many ideas of what makes an individual a truly visionary leader.  The thing that makes someone a visionary leader in ministry is the ability to see where a ministry should be someday in the future, and what to do to get the ministry to that goal.  The vision must be a God-given vision.  The ministry is the Lord’s, He has only allowed the leader to be a steward of it.  Vision must be something that becomes clear over a period of time through prayer, and the reading of God’s Word.  The vision also flows out of what God’s mission is for the ministry.  It is very important for a leader to be able to see where the ministry should be someday.  This clarity allows for the setting of goals, which would bring about the fulfillment of this vision upon the achievement of the goals.  A visionary leader is also able to see what the result of certain actions would be, before they even take place.  A truly visionary leader is able to take action before something occurs.  This enables him to act, instead of react. 

Moses throughout his life displays vision in his leadership decisions and actions.  He received his vision directly from God, and that is what he portrayed to the nation of Israel at every opportunity.  The Bible shows us that part of his vision is freedom from slavery in Egypt (Exod. 3:8).  The Israelites had been in slavery for a very long time at this point, and some of them might not have been able to imagine being free.  God gives Moses a vision of freedom from Egypt.  Along with this freedom comes the second part of the vision.  The people will receive, “a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite” (Exod. 3:8).  The Lord gives Moses a clear vision to deliver to the nation of Israel.  The Israelites will not only be freed from slavery, but they will receive a land that is wonderful.  A leader must go to God in prayer, and seek the vision that God has for the ministry that he is involved in.  When a leader receives from God where He wants that ministry to be clarity in direction and leadership is much easier to obtain.  People are much more likely to follow when they see where they are supposed to go, and why they are supposed to go there.

The role of vision in the life of Moses is also seen in this same event.  The Lord has told Moses to go speak to Pharaoh, but Moses asks God what to tell the people His name is when they ask (3:13-14).  Then he asks God what to do if the people did not believe him or listen to him (4:1).  In these cases you can see pessimism, but you can also see that Moses was able to discern what might happen in the future.  This is very important in the life of a leader to be able to know how people might react, and to be prepared as much as possible for those reactions.  It is very important for a leader to be able to know the possible outcomes of their actions.

The vision of Moses is also seen in the happenings at the Red Sea (14:13-14).  The people are standing around complaining and frightened at the circumstances.  Moses does not become frightened with his present circumstances but knew what God would do.  God had given promises to the people and He had given Moses the vision of freedom from slavery, and the Promised Land.  Moses knew these things were true, and even though he did not know specifically how God would bring this deliverance about, but he did know that God would deliver them.  He was able to see beyond the present situation.  He knew what they needed to do, which was trust God with their lives in being faithful to Him (waiting for deliverance).  He knew that God would do something to rescue them because He said that He would.  A leader must remember that when God gives him a vision that He wants them to attain that vision.  So a leader and his people must trust God by faith to help them attain that vision, and continue to serve even when things get difficult.   

There are also a few examples in the life of Moses where his visionary abilities were revealed in his bold prayers to God.  Moses addressed God with what the implications of His complete decimation of the nation of Israel would be (Exod. 32:11-13).  God was going to destroy the nation, and Moses knew how that would look to their enemies.  Moses knew that the vision was the Promised Land, and if God judged the nation in this way it would not look good.  Moses owned the vision that God had given him.  He not only proclaimed it to the people, but he reminded God frequently in his actions, and his words that the vision was what he was striving to attain.  Another example of this is seen when God said that He would not go with the people on the journey to the Promised Land (33:12-13).  Moses knew that the results would not be good if God was not with the nation of Israel as they traveled.  Moses knew that God had freed them, He protected them, and He fed them.  Moses knew that if God did not go with them that they would not be able to succeed in attaining the God-given vision that Moses had cast for the people.  A leader must remember that God is essential in the attainment of any vision that is cast.  A leader must continue to seek God’s wisdom, guidance, and help in the process of attaining the vision. 

A clear vision is essential in leadership.  A leader in ministry must know what God wants for the ministry that he is involved in.  The leader must know where they should be someday.  In the life of Moses it is very evident that Moses received his vision from God, and he cast it clearly for the people.  Moses did his best to try to keep the people focused, and he trusted God to help them attain the vision that He had given them.  A leader must do the same things in his own ministry.  He must receive the vision from God, he must cast that vision clearly for the people, keep the people focused on attaining that vision, and trust God to help them reach their goals to attain the vision He has given them. 

A man of boldness

Another principle that is important in the life of a leader involved in ministry is boldness.  A leader must not be afraid to proclaim the truth, and say what needs to be said.  Boldness not only deals with speaking though, it deals with acting.  A leader must be willing to speak up for what is right, and he must be willing to stand up for what is right in his actions. 

The life of Moses is a portrayal of boldness.  One of the great examples of boldness in the leadership of Moses is the incident at Mt. Sinai (Exod. 32:19-35).  Moses confronted his brother Aaron for his failure in leadership.  Under Aaron’s watch the Israelites had failed the Lord greatly.  Then Moses gave an ultimatum to the people, he demanded that all of those who were going to follow the Lord were to gather to him (32:26).  The only people that gathered to him were from the tribe of Levi.  Then Moses told them to go through the camp and kill those who were involved in this grievous sin.  Moses knew that what the people had done was very evil, and he was bold enough to take action to resolve this evil.  It was not going to be a small loss for the nation.  That day 3,000 men were killed.  Moses could have compromised, and kept more people to help him out, but he did not.  Moses then commanded those who remained to dedicate themselves to God, and serve Him faithfully (32:29).  Moses dealt very boldly with the people.  He was not going to allow there to be any indecision among the people.  By his actions and by his words Moses boldly showed where he stood, and that was with the Lord.  Moses stood for what was right, and was not afraid of what the people might think about him.  A leader today must do the same thing.  A leader must stand for God, and His righteous standards.  In his words and actions the leader must be bold, and unapologetically stand for God’s purposes.  The leader must boldly stand for the God-given mission, and lead his people to the attainment of that mission.  He must boldly call the people to commitment to God and the vision that He has given for that ministry. 

Another example Moses’ boldness in leadership is seen in the sin of his two nephews Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:3-7).  The priests already had been informed by Moses what God’s expectations were in respect to the offerings that they were to bring.  Nadab and Abihu disregarded God’s commandments, and they were judged for doing so.  Moses immediately addressed the situation.  He informed his brother that this judgment had occurred because of the disobedience of Aaron’s two sons.  Moses commanded Aaron and his relatives not to mourn for the death of his two sons.  Moses said this because the reason for their death was sin, and sin was not to be regarded as good.  In this very difficult situation Moses stood boldly for God’s righteousness.  He had just lost two nephews who were also consecrated priests.  This was a very hard incident for Moses, but he did the right thing.  Moses called the priests to righteousness.  The priests were called by God to be different/special for Him in their lifestyle.  Even in this case Moses stood against what was wrong, and stood for what was right in God’s eyes.  A leader must do the same thing also in his ministry.  The leader must stand for what God says is right, and oppose what God says is wrong.  There will be times where a leader will be confronted with situations similar to what Moses faced also with his family.  A leader must stand strong, and declare what is right even when it may be his family or friends that are involved in the sin.

The leadership of Moses is an example for the leaders of all times.  Moses stood for what was right in his actions, and spoke out against what was wrong.  He did this even when he knew that it would not make him popular.  The reason why he did this is because he was accountable to God for the way that he lived his life, and led the people.  We as leaders today must stand firm on God’s Word, and be bold for Him.  We must declare His truth boldly.  When there are people who are living in direct contradiction to the Bible, we must boldly confront them so that they might repent and be restored.  Moses as a leader has given us the example of standing with God even if that means that no one else is beside him.  We as leaders must stand boldly for God even when it does not make us popular.

A disciple maker

A leadership principle that is essential in the life of anyone that is involved in leadership is in the area of making disciples.  A leader must reproduce himself to be able to perform the ministry that he has been called to.  If a leader does not reproduce himself, there will be no one to help him fulfill the mission that God has given to the Church.  The process of disciple making is seen in the life of Moses also.  Moses knew that he needed other men that would be able to help him do the things that needed to be done.  So to make this possible, Moses helped train individuals to do the things that he could not do.

One of the examples of Moses making disciples is the result of his father-in-law Jethro letting him know that he was too busy (Exod. 18:19-26).  Moses had been judging the disputes between the people.  The only problem with this is that Moses was the only judge available.  God had appointed Moses as leader of the nation of Israel, so whenever anyone had a problem they came to Moses for help.  Jethro told Moses that he should train men who were righteous to oversee the nation of Israel.  These men who were trained by Moses would decide all of the cases, and the only time they would come to Moses would be when the case was too difficult for them to judge.  Moses took the advice of his father-in-law and trained men to judge the problems of the people.  These trained judges took care of all the cases from that point on.  Moses reproduced himself, and it made his role as leader much more manageable from that point on.  Moses focused on a specific group of righteous men to train for ministry.  All leaders must do this in their ministry.  They must reproduce leaders so that the ministry will be fulfilled more effectively, and it will be able to expand because people are not being neglected as the result the leader being too busy.  This trickle down effect in ministry causes the ministry to be much more effective, and the leader will be free to lead instead of micro managing. 

Another example of Moses making disciples is seen when God had gathered the Israelites at Mt. Sinai (19:7).  God had just given Moses instructions concerning the people approaching Him, concerning the people obeying Him, and concerning the covenant that He made with their ancestors.  Moses then gathers the elders of the people and lets them know what God expects.  The reason Moses does this is that the elders can instruct, and oversee the people from their tribes so that Moses will not have to.  Moses has now relieved himself of a great burden by making disciples among the elders of the tribes.  Just a short time later God delivers the Ten Commandments, and the Law to Moses (20:1-23:33).  Moses then makes disciples of God by delivering the Law to them.  Every one of the people at that point were made aware of what God expected of them as His followers, and they agreed to obey (24:3, 13).  Moses was always training others, and equipping them to serve God faithfully (34:32; 35:4).  Moses discipled the people as a whole, and taught them how to live their lives for God.  In these two examples we see that a leader must pass on to others what the Word of God teaches so that they may go and teach others.  This is essential in the ministry of the Church.  Leaders must train others so that they can go on, and train other people in the ministry.  As a result of this disciple making process it is possible to make more disciples because there are more disciple makers.  A leader must reproduce himself. 

Moses also reproduced himself by discipling a group of men to be priests (Lev. 8:1-36).  He was called to teach the priests, and to set them aside for ministry.  From this point on Moses would not be the only one to have to offer sacrifices, and perform duties before God.  Moses as the chosen leader of God helped to train this specific group of men so that they could do a ministry that was necessary in the day to day life of the nation of Israel.  Aaron and his sons from that day on were responsible for properly maintaining the peoples’ relationship with God.  They were responsible for upholding the Law, and proper worship of God.  Leaders must train others to help perform the ministry.  A leader must look for individuals that are qualified spiritually, and train them to do specific ministries in the church.  This will help the leader to focus on other important aspects of the ministry, and the new disciples will be able to disciple others.

Moses also discipled people on an individual basis.  Almost every place that Moses went, Joshua was there (Exod. 24:13).  Joshua was the right hand man of Moses.  Joshua was the one who was chosen to lead the Israelites into battle (Exod. 17:9-10).  Moses trusted Joshua to be the one to lead the people, and as the account says, “Joshua did as Moses told him” (17:10).  Joshua was very loyal to Moses (Num. 11:28).  Joshua learned many things from Moses about God, how to live for God, and how to lead the people for God.  Joshua was one of the two spies who was willing to trust God, and to conquer their enemies in the Promised Land (Num. 14:6-9).  Joshua believed the promises that Moses had told them that God had made.  We see here in this example that Joshua had leadership skills because he tried to convince the people to take the Promised Land.  Joshua was taking his stand with God.  Moses knew that he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, and God revealed to him that Joshua would succeed him as leader of the nation of Israel (Num. 27:15-23).  When Moses died Joshua was the chosen leader of God to take the Israelites into the Promised Land (Josh. 1:1-18).  Joshua was called to uphold, and teach the Law as the chosen leader of God.  So just as Moses had taught him how to live for God and how to lead God’s people, Joshua was supposed to disciple others.  We as leaders need to recognize the hand of God in the lives of individuals so that we can invest in them, and prepare them to do the work of the ministry.  This is essential in the life of all leaders to reproduce themselves so that the ministry of the Church can be accomplished. 

The discipleship aspect of leadership is vitally important to anyone called to ministry leadership.  The Bible has called us to make disciples, and teach them whatever Jesus has taught us (Matt. 28:19-20).  This is how it is possible for the Church to continue to grow, and function over thousands of years.  It is pleasing to God when we impact the lives of others, and teach them how to serve Him.

A man who delegates

A leadership principle that is also extremely important is the area of a leader delegating ministry responsibilities to others.  This allows the leader to stay fresh, and not become worn out from doing everything.  It also allows others to become trained, and able to fulfill various areas of responsibility.  As a result those who have things delegated to them can often become quite a benefit to the leader.  The leader is freed up to do other things.  Eventually the people that the leader delegated things to can train others, and then delegate things to them.  It is very helpful to be have others that you as a leader can rely on, and delegate responsibility to.

  In the life of Moses we see some clear instances where he delegated responsibility to others.  One example is when Joshua was called to lead the Israelites into battle (Exod. 17:8-16).  Moses saw that Joshua was gifted in this area, and he gave that area of responsibility to Joshua.  Another example of delegation in the life of Moses resulted from the advice of his father-in-law Jethro (18:13:27).  Jethro saw that Moses was much too busy with judging the people of Israel.  He suggested to Moses that he train righteous men to judge the cases for him.  This helped Moses greatly because the righteous men took care of all the cases that were in their ability to judge.  The only cases that Moses had to judge from that point on were the difficult ones.  As a result of delegating these judging responsibilities Moses was freed up to do other important things.

Soon Moses began delegating some of the religious responsibilities to others.  One of those examples is seen when he had young men do sacrifices after the people agreed to God’s covenant (Exod. 24:5).  Moses also as a result of the command of God delegated the priestly role to Aaron and his sons (29:1-46; Lev. 8:1-36).

The role of delegation in the life of any leader is so important.  A leader will not be able to continue as long, or be as effective when he is the only one doing anything.  A leader must not be a “one man show.”  A leader must equip other people to do things, and then let them do it.  The ministry will be much more effective, and the leader will be able to minister effectively for a longer period of time. 

  A man of humility

A leadership principle that is essential to effective ministry for God is humility.  A man who is called to leadership must be humble, and rely upon God for all that he needs.  When pride sets in, failure will be the result.  If a man is prideful he will not rely on God.  He will try to do everything in his own strength.  God will not bless pride. 

In the life of Moses we see his humility in many instances.  The first example of humility is seen when God called him to leadership (Exod. 3:11).  Moses knew that he was nothing special, and he was not able to do what God had asked him to do.  What Moses said was true, and is true in the lives of all those that God calls to leadership.  We cannot do what God has called us to do in our own strength, and we are nothing special.  God does not stand in awe of us as leaders or people.  Moses also tells God that he cannot speak very well either (4:10).  Moses knew that the role of leadership that God was calling him to would be one where he would be speaking quite a bit, and he knew that he was not a great speaker.  In both cases God reminded Moses that He was the one who would enable him to do what God had called him to. 

Another instance that shows the humility to Moses is his response to the Israelites when they complained to him about his poor leadership (Exod. 16:6-7).  Moses reminded them that God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and that He would be the one to provide food for them.  Moses told them that they should not be claiming to him because he could not possibly provide freedom or food for them.  Moses reminded the people that God was in charge, and by complaining they were complaining about Him.  Moses as a leader did not think that he had anything to do with the freedom of the Israelites, or their provision.  Moses was humble, and gave all the glory to God.  We as leaders must do the same thing.  God does not share His glory.  When God blesses our ministry we need to make sure that we give God all of the glory.  We must be humble, and remember who we are. 

Moses also gave all the glory to God when the Israelites were victorious in battle.  He knew that God was the one who fought for them.  The victory did not come from great military strategy or great soldiers.  The victory came from Almighty God (Exod. 17:14-16).  Another example of the humility of Moses is seen in his actions when God showed up (34:8).  Whenever God appeared Moses bowed and worshiped Him.  Moses knew that God alone was worthy of worship. 

A final example of the humility of Moses was seen in his response to others being able to prophesy (Num. 11:29-30).  Moses shows that he is not jealous of this fact.  Instead Moses says that it would be great if all of God’s people could prophesy.  Moses shows that he is not concerned with being the only gifted one among God’s people.  This is a great example for all leaders.  When we as leaders see other people that have God-given gifts we must not become jealous.  There will even be times when there are other people who are more gifted than we as leaders are.  This is not a time to become jealous, but to rejoice that God has gifted other individuals for the work of the ministry.


We see from the life of Moses so many examples of good leadership.  These 11 leadership principles are ones that I have seen in his life, and have focused on learning from them.  Moses was a great man of God, and he led God’s people in a way that was righteous.  He led in a way that was pleasing to God.  I pray that as a look at these leadership principles in Moses’ life that I will be able to lead God’s people in the ministry that God has called me to in a way that is pleasing to God.  Moses was called by God, walked closely with God, he was a man of integrity and character, a man of faith, a man of prayer, he was single minded, he was visionary, he was bold, he made disciples, he delegated, and he was humble before God.  I pray that God will help me to be that kind of leader for Him. 


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