Christian Leadership


Training Leaders

Divide Responsibility—I feel somewhat anxious about you. I dreamed that you were telling me some of your trials and I said, My brother, if you had possessed the same spirit that Moses had, you would have thorough workers with you. When Moses was much burdened the Lord raised him up in Jethro an advisor and helper. The advice was taken and the burdens that had come upon him were divided with others and a two-fold object was gained; Moses was relieved and he had a better chance for his life, and men were learning to bear responsibilities to qualify them to do work in positions of trust so that Israel should not learn to look to one man and trust in one man and think that no one could do any thing for them unless it came before that one man. Now it is hard I know to let go some responsibilities and give others an opportunity to get hold with all the advantages and counsel of your knowledge to help them. Unless this is done they will ere long have to carry an unwieldy lead without the instruction and counsel which now it is their privilege to have.—Letter 64, 1886. ChL 55.1

President Educates and Trains—The president of a State Conference is, by his manner of dealing, educating the ministers under him, and together they can so educate the churches that it will not be necessary to call the ministers of the conference from the field to settle difficulties and dissension's in the church. If the officers in the conference will, as faithful servants, perform their Heaven-appointed duties, the work in our conferences will not be left to become entangled in such perplexities as heretofore. And in laboring thus, the workers will become solid, responsible men, who will not fail nor be discouraged in a hard place.—Gospel Workers, 419. ChL 55.2

Helping the Inexperienced—To those upon whom God has bestowed many talents, I am instructed to say: Help the inexperienced; discourage them not. Take them into your confidence; give them fatherly counsel, teaching them as you would teach students in a school. Watch not for their mistakes, but recognize their undeveloped talents, and train them to make a right use of these powers. Instruct them with all patience, encouraging them to go forward and to do an important work. Instead of keeping them engaged in doing things of minor importance, give them an opportunity to obtain an experience by which they may develop into trustworthy workers. Much will thus be gained to the cause of God. ChL 55.3

Those placed in positions of responsibility should patiently seek to make others familiar with all parts of the work. This will reveal that they do not desire to be first, but that they are glad to have others become acquainted with details, and to become as efficient as they are. Those who faithfully fulfill their duty in this respect, will, in time, have standing by their side a large number of intelligent workers whom they have trained. Should they shape matters in accordance with narrow, selfish conceptions, they would stand almost alone.—The Review and Herald, December 1, 1904. ChL 56.1

Leaders Afraid to Train Others—If in their ministry those whom we teach develop an energy and an intelligence even superior to that which we possess, we should be led to rejoice over the privilege of having a part in the work of training them. But there is danger that some in positions of responsibility as teachers and leaders, will act as if talent and ability have been given to them only, and that they must do all the work in order to make sure that it is done aright. They are liable to find fault with everything not originated by themselves. A great amount of talent is lost to the cause of God because many laborers, desiring to be first, are willing to lead, but never to follow. Although they closely scrutinize and criticize all that any one else does, they are in danger of regarding that which goes forth from their hands as perfect.—The Review and Herald, December 1, 1904. ChL 56.2

Recognize Talent—Those who are placed in responsible positions should feel it their duty to recognize talent. They should learn how to use men, and how to advise them. If mistakes are made, they should not withdraw themselves, thinking it easier to do the work themselves than to educate others. Those who are learning should be patiently instructed, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. Every effort should be made, by precept and example, to teach them right methods. ChL 57.1

Many of those who have responsibilities laid upon them, who are chosen to be presidents of conferences, are not selected because of their perfection of character, or because of their superior knowledge, but because the Lord signified that if they would be humble enough to learn and not think they were all ready to graduate, He would teach them His way.—Manuscript 55, 1897 (June 3, 1897, Development of Workers). ChL 57.2