Each Pastor, minister, and member has their very specific roles and area of ministry in the church. God has formed a three-way relationship within the body of Christ in which purposely accomplishes God’s divine will. When all three parts work according to God’s design, great victory is experienced in the church and in the community. God gives us a clear picture of what that three-way relationship looks like in Exodus 17:8-16:
The Amalekites attacked the Israelites. The Amalekites were a people who lifted up their hands against the throne of the Lord. Therefore, Moses told Joshua to choose some men from the Israelites and go out to fight them. Moses said that he would stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. Joshua did this, and as long as Moses held the staff up high, Joshua had victory, but once Moses’s hands became tired and he let the staff down, the Amalekites had victory. This was a serious problem! Seeing this dilemma, Aaron and Hur helped Moses by going on top of the hill with him; they placed a stone under Moses so he could sit down, and when his hands became weary, Aaron and Hur helped him by supporting his hands holding the staff up high. Their support made it possible for Joshua and his men to have total victory over the Amalekites.
What stands out in this true story is where the key characters are in relationship to each other. Joshua and his men were down in the trenches fighting the Amalekites. Moses was up on top of the hill overseeing the battle holding up the staff of God with his hands. Aaron and Hur were by Moses side supporting his leadership. This is a perfect picture of the church as we see each person in ministry.
Down in the Trenches
The trenches are where the entire body of Christ is in battle. These people do not necessarily have a “leadership” role, but they do have a very important work! It is here that leadership is developed. Let me ask you, what would have happened if Joshua deviated from the plan of Moses? What if he wanted to be on top of the hill instead of at his post in the trenches?
Joshua was gifted in battle, faithful to God’s honor, and decisive when it came to battle strategy. He was placed in the suitable place of ministry. However, alone he would never have been successful. He needed other men and Moses leading the campaign.
Likewise, it takes the entire church body working together in their gifting to reach the community for Christ. This is not left to the leaders, nor is it left to one person in the body. It takes a team of gifted, faithful, and strategic people to carry out this great work.
Up on Top of the Hill
Without Moses taking his post above the battle, holding the staff of God up, this battle would have been lost and the victory would have gone to an atrocious dishonoring group of people. Two things we see Moses doing on top of the mountain: leading with his eye on the whole and upholding God’s will.
The Pastor of the church is much like Moses in this respect. He has the unique position that has a top down eye view of all the church’s ministries and how each is impacting the community. He has the awesome responsibility to deliver the will of God via the word of God; after all, the staff of God is the word of God for the church. When the Pastor moves the word of God to the side, we all LOSE THE BATTLE – the battle to save the lost will be lost and the team in the trenches will tirelessly work in the trenches with no fruit to show for it – only burnout.
A real danger I see today is that too many Pastors are in the trenches instead of being at their leadership post. They see the people not involved; they see the people having no success, and what do they do? They leave the hill and jump into battle. Their top down eye’s view becomes clouded with the dirt and dust of the side by side ministry. Getting involved in the battle instead of leading the campaign causes the Pastor to lose sight of the mission God has for the church. This is another way that churches fail.
Sometimes Pastor’s get tired, and being human they get off track, too. They need the support of faithful leaders that stand beside them. These faithful leaders are placed to keep him out of the trenches and keep him faithful to overseeing the mission, directing its path by holding high the word of God.
Side by Side
The way I see it, Aaron and Hur represent two groups of people in the church setting: ministers (Hur) and elders (Aaron).
Our ministry leaders can represent the administrative, worship, youth, and children’s ministers. Hur represents the support of the ministry. We can make this parallel as we take note that from Hur’s line came faithful men with artistic gifts that worked specifically on the tabernacle. The elders are a continuation of the Pastor’s role in overseeing the church and keeping the word of God at the forefront of ministry. Notice that Aaron was Moses’ right hand man – God placed him by Moses’s side to support him in freeing the Israelites from Egypt and leading them through the desert. These two groups of people are instrumental in supporting the Pastor’s leadership so that God is victorious through the church they lead.
Without the triangular approach to ministry: Pastor, Elders and Ministers, and the People, we stand to lose at the very mission God has placed on us. Furthermore, each needs to fulfill their own ministry area according to the plan God has laid out for them. Leaving our post crashes the whole operation.
Over and over God instructed Moses that the tabernacle and all its furnishings should be made according to the pattern which He had shown him on the mountain. Equally so, we must run our churches according to the plan that God has instructed. We serve a communal God; He wants His entire body involved in His mission. He does not work as a solo God; He Himself worked together with the Holy Spirit and His Son to create the heavens and the earth; He also works together to teach us to do the same. However, He wants us to work where He has placed us. We all differ in relationship to each other, but that does not mean we do not have a role and an area to serve that meets the whole.
Paul encourages all of us in God’s mission:”Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…” (Romans 12:6). Take this seriously, my friends, for when we let our guard down, we are lose the battle! Suit up with your competitive efforts and let’s beat the pants of the Amalekites of our day!
picture the courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net