NTRODUCTION Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church. Thanks to Meg for filling in for Zach Foty our Worship Pastor, who is out of town this weekend. In this last week, we’ve seen nonstop coverage of the devastation in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey. And although the devastation there is heartbreaking, there are some incredible stories that are heartwarming There have been so many people helping out neighbors or even complete strangers. Folks like the Cajun Navy, volunteers who’ve gone into Houston with their own boats to help with the search and rescue efforts. And you can see the effect of mass mobilization…and empowerment. PASSAGE And we’re going to see the power of that concept this morning as we continue in our Rescue series on the Book of Exodus If you’re visiting for the first time today, or you’ve been out of town for a bit, here’s where we are in the book of Exodus. God has delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and now they are making their way towards the promised land (or, modern day Israel)… Currently though, they are in the desert area of the Sinai Peninsula. While they’re there, Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, Jethro. Now, let me give you some context on Moses & Jethro Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s Palace in Egypt, even though he was an Israelite. When Moses saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite slave, Moses fought the Egyptian and ended up killing him. So Moses fled to the desert…for 40 years. In the desert, he met his wife, Zipporah, and started working for her father…Jethro..also called Reuel in the Bible. In fact, Moses was actually tending Jethro’s sheep when he saw the burning bush where God told him to go back to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. Well now, in chapter 18, Jethro is coming to visit Moses and the Israelites in the desert (Page 59) (renovation app) Presumably Jethro doesn’t live all that far away from where Moses and the Israelites currently are in the Sinai Peninsula Let’s check in on their visit (Exodus 18:7-12) – NIV 7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent.8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them. 9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God. So Jethro is kind of an interesting story. Look back at verse 1 for a second (Exodus 18:1) – NIV Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. We’re told that Jethro is a “priest of Midian” He’s actually not a follower of the one true God, but a pagan priest. Which makes sense, Moses met this guy wandering deep into the desert 40 years ago. But Jethro has now heard about how the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt and he comes to inquire of Moses. Moses tells him of all the amazing things God has done and Jethro says: “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods…” This is a priest of another religion talking! Now, he’s technically a polytheist, which means he believes there are multiple gods (much like a modern-day Hindu), but he’s quickly elevated THE God to the top status. And he’s most likely soon to learn that there’s no one else on the rankings board. In fact, we’re told Jethro eventually makes a sacrifice to God…acknowledging belief in him and making atonement for his sin (an animal was sacrificed for his sin)…showing his faith in God. Jethro is considered by many, the first convert of the Bible. Moses is doing evangelism here. Sharing his faith with a family member…an in-law no less! And we’re going to see in a moment here that Jethro is going to make a major impact on the Israelites Moses is showing us the power of sharing your faith. And that power existed thousands of years ago, and it still exists today. One of the things I want you to be thinking about these next 7 days as you hand out invite cards for Family Fun Day (we’ll give you more at the door today if you need some), and you invite your family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors…is this: A lot of people are going to meet Jesus next week. But it’s not just that they’re going to make a decision to follow Him…it’s so much more. We’re going to help them get discipled, and God is going to use them! Every summer, I teach a theology class in our School of Theology. One night this summer, as my students in Theology 101 were working on a group assignment, as I was scanning the class members, and it occurred to me that a number of the students in the class were people that became Christians in our church. And so I counted, and about 20% of the class had become a new believers at our church within the last few years or so. And I thought, “How incredible is that!” Here’s a group of people that are currently studying the Trinity, the Doctrine of Original Sin, the Atonement…all of these deep tenets of the Christian faith. They’re now in house groups, they’re studying theology. Some of them have become or are becoming leaders in our church! This is our hope at this church. Jesus doesn’t say, “Go therefore and make converts of all nations.” He says, “Go therefore and make disciples…followers” In fact, take a look for just a minute at our newly released baptism video from this summer. (Baptism VIDEO) There were a ton of new believers in that video. And to us, they’re not just new believers, but our hope is that there are some serious world-changers in that video! And so, when you invite people to Family Fun Day next week, know that you’re not just inviting people to hear about Jesus But some of the people you see nervously walking in here next week, are going to be our future teachers in Renovation Kids, future small group leaders, even future elders. God can do so much if we’re willing to trust Him in the sharing of our faith. THE DRIFT TOWARDS PROFESSIONAL Jethro is a great example of the fruit of evangelism. Watch how quickly and powerfully God uses him. (Exodus 18:13-18) – NIV 13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Jethro notices that Moses is doing all the work around camp. From morning till night, the people wait in line and Moses ALONE councils them and judges their disputes. Jethro can’t believe his eyes. And yet, this has been a major problem, of even the Christian church, throughout the centuries. The Church, without good leadership, often will drift toward a vacuum of leadership where they are too many voices pointing to too many directions… OR, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the church will drift towards professionalism. Where only the pastors and the leaders can do the work. This was a major problem of the church in the middle ages in Europe. At the time, most priests thought the lay people couldn’t handle God’s work And they thought, these lay people (non priests) couldn’t understand the theology behind Christianity…and so they didn’t even bother to teach most of the people the Bible Often times, the mass was conducted in Latin, so many people would go to church and not even know what it was about. Imagine that! The Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s was incredibly helpful in that it restored much of the work back to the PEOPLE. One of the main tenets of Martin Luther’s beliefs was the “priesthood of all believers” which is inspired from 2 peter in the Bible. It’s the idea that every Christian has the Holy Spirit in them, and so every Christian can (and should!) do God’s work. And yet the church keeps falling into the same trap Moses fell into. Much of the Protestant Church fell back into this trap in the early and mid 20th century. And all of a sudden, pastors were the only ones who could do anything again! Many of you grew up in churches like this. Who can meet with you to give you counsel? Only the pastor Who can baptize you? Only the pastor Who can give communion Only the pastor. And the Bible says none of those things. And even today, a good 17 years into the 21st century, we’re falling back into it again. Although each iteration looks a bit different. Today’s version is what I would called the professionalization of the ministry. Many large churches have staffs of 20, 50, hundreds even. And while some large churches with big staffs have done an incredible job of continuing to involve lay people. Many American churches of today have a staff of pastors that do all the work, while the other 95% of people simply consume and enjoy. But that’s never God’s pattern. And Jethro calls Moses out on it. I love it when he says, “Moses, What you’re doing…is not good’ Nothing worse than your in-laws calling you out…and being right! Ministry isn’t a job for just the professionals or the leaders, but for every single person. And if you’ve been around here a little while, this probably isn’t the first time you’re hearing that sentiment here. Last Sunday, when we had a guest speaker, I took one of the services to just walk around and observe our volunteers. And I tell you what…it was powerful. Especially in our children’s ministry If you think that you’re dropping off your kids just to be “watched” by someone else for 60 minutes, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s amazing what they do back there! I walked in the nursery, and the teacher was teaching the 2 year olds how to sing “Jesus Loves Me,” I walked in the preschool room as they were teaching kids about creation And each kid was saying, “God created my hand! He created my ear!” I wandered over to the Elementary Room, and overheard one of our dynamic Elementary teachers say: “All right, we’re starting our worship songs right now, and I have two requirements. 1: You all sing loud. And 2: Everybody must dance.” ☺ As I came back in the service, and sat in the back, I saw a woman during the last song, come back towards the prayer team, with tears streaming down her face…while a prayer team member gave her a hug and began to pray for her. And I drove home last Sunday thinking, “All of those people…the teachers, the prayer team members... “They didn’t just come to church and watch that morning…they got to experience God moving through them!” And honestly, that’s one of the reasons Jethro is going to tell Moses that him doing all the work is a terrible idea. It’s not fair to everyone else whom God wants to use. God wants to use you. You might as well do something about this today…than change your mind later: We still need 26 volunteers to pull off Family Fun day next week. Please don’t come and just participate. This is a different sort of church. That’s not our style. Let God use you! Also, You can also always sign-up on your connection card for one of our regular volunteer teams as well. Don’t just be satisfied that you’re no longer a slave and that you’re out of Egypt…let God use you. THE EFFECT OF DELEGATION And so one of the things we can draw out from this text is this: if a church, or an organization, or even a family unit, is going to do things well and in a Biblical manner, there must be an effective level of delegation and empowerment. Let’s read on and see Jethro’s ideas: (Exodus 18:19-27) – NIV 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country. Moses can’t do everything. But let’s be clear, he is still called to do something unique. In verses 19 and 20, Moses is told that he should still be talking to God about the people (be in prayer for them) AND it’s Moses’ role to teach the people God’s decrees and instructions. There was nothing wrong with what Moses was doing in judging and giving counsel…it’s just that his case load was a bit excessive ☺ He would be better off delegating to others, and spending his time leading, teaching, and praying. But it’s really hard to do that right. Delegation sounds great until you actually try it. Amen? In fact, why is it so hard for us to delegate anything? Whether you’re a leader here at church, or at work, or even in your home life? Why is this so hard? It’s not like we don’t need to delegate and empower others to do things. Most of us in this room are insanely busy, and we would be a whole lot better off if we could delegate a few things to others. Even if it’s just your own spouse! Or your kids! A lot of us never delegate any of our responsibilities at home or at work…because well…we all know that everyone else isn’t as good at it as we are! Am I RIGHT?!? This happens all the time in a work environment. You pass something on to someone else, they mess it up, and rather than helping them get better, we say, “Hmmph, guess I’ll have to do it myself!” How many times does this happen at home? A wife asks a husband to help out with the laundry…he does, but accidentally puts his new neon red workout shirt in with the whites… And the wife says, “Never again!” And the husband says, “Good idea! Never again!” ☺ We have to remember that when we don’t delegate to others, we also never empower others. I think most of our great-grandparents would be shocked at how little responsibility our children have nowadays When their kids were 10 years old, they were up at 5am milking the cow, feeding the horses, and getting breakfast ready for everyone. You’re lucky to get your kid off the iPad to even EAT their breakfast! And if you delegate tasks to them, yeah, your kids aren’t going to be as good at it as you are right now…just like the new leaders probably weren’t as good as Moses. But they can be someday. Empower them. Plus it might give you a break! There are still others of us that never delegate, because if you do, you might not get the credit anymore if things go well. Moses said to Jethro, “The people come to ME…to seek God’s will” And if everyone starts getting good counsel from Joshua…from Aaron…from other leaders…is that still okay? We see that Moses is humble enough to let that happen. But many of us aren’t. And if we’re not willing to empower others, it won’t end well. Jethro says, “If you delegate, you’ll be able to stand through this, and the people will be happier too. But if you don’t, You’re going to wear yourself out. You can’t handle this!” One of the places I see this play out in modern-day America, is employees who think they’re so important, that they can’t stop working. You know these people, right? Maybe it’s you. They work 55, 60, 70 hours a week. When they’re home…they work. At dinner, their kids are talking, but they’re working on their phone. Listen, I’ve sat across from a number of spouses who’ve said, “I can’t be married to them anymore. They’re married to the job, not me” No job is that important that you should lose your spouse over it. Ask for help. Delegate. You’re not that important. Get a different job if you need to. We always respond with, “But I can’t! I can’t delegate. I need to do it myself!” And yet, do you know who was incredible at delegating? JESUS! We have a MOVEMENT of Christianity today because Jesus put so much work into developing and deploying new leaders. And listen, if anyone, EVER, could have said, “I know I can do this better myself…it was JESUS!” And yet, he constantly trained and sent his disciples out to do work that he clearly could have done better…because that’s how you start a movement! And so, based on the model we see in Exodus, based on the model of Jesus, based on the NT model we see in Acts 6 where the Apostles delegate the majority of the ministry so they can focus on prayer and teaching… … at Renovation Church, we strongly believe in the concept of delegation and empowering ALL of the people for ministry. And so our church is structured around these principles. It’s why over 75% of our people serve even though the national average is closer to 30% And you can see this Biblical principle of delegation lived out in our House Groups too. These are our groups of 30 or so people that meet weekly during the school year. An astounding 80% of our adults are in a House Group Sign-ups start in 2 weeks. We even have a new House Group we’re adding this year on Monday nights… Happy to announce that Tim Skelly will be the House Leader of that group. And the structure of these groups is very purposeful. Listen, would I like to have more of a direct and personal impact in all of your lives? Absolutely. But there are now over 400 people here on a Sunday, and over 500 people who call renovation church home. Can I personally meet with and impact that many people? No way. But it doesn’t have to be me! The spirit of God is in every believer! This is why Jethro talks about tiers of leadership He says, “Get leaders for thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.” And so we’ve delegated our leadership and empowered others to lead here at Renovation Church. Each house group is divided into 4-5 small groups of around 5-8 people So every single person in a house group has their own small group leader who’s invested in helping YOU grow spiritually. And just like in Exodus 18, if some life circumstance is too difficult for a small group leader, that’s what the House Leader is there for. We consider our House Leaders the elders of our church. They are shepherds who watch over the spiritual needs of their flock of 30some people. And if something is too difficult for a House Leader, that’s what I’m there for And in this matter, we’re able to reach and impact hundreds and hundreds of people in ministry every single week. Is it easy? No. It takes a lot of work and administration But is it effective? Yes. As DL Moody once said, “It is better to set a hundred men to work than to do the work of a hundred men.” We believe that the Spirit of God is in all of you, and if we all serve, God will do absolutely incredible things through this church! Let me pray. COMMISSION These next 7 days are really critical. Some of you are going to invite a friend…who’s going to stand up and give their lives to Christ 7 days from now. That is absolutely going to happen. It might not be your friend, might be someone else’s. But it is going to happen. So, let’s be in serious prayer this week that God would move as we boldly invite. We’re going to have over 1,000 people here next week. Hundreds of people are going to hear the Gospel for the first time And yet at the same time, we know, that the people with the highest chance of sticking, of getting discipled, are actually the people that YOU guys bring with you. Some of those people might even be the next Jethro…a future leader…maybe even a future world changer Let’s be on mission this week. We’re not just Renovation Church, we’re Renovaters. Let’s change the world. I’m going to pray over you now that God would use you this week to make what will be, world-changing invitations. Let me pray.