Have you ever been a people pleaser? If you have, you know it’s an endless effort, and never be enough of doing it. In the end, you’ll feel like you are not good enough doing your ministry work, frustrated and tired, and burnt out. That’s not what God called you to be. And He won’t be pleased with it.
If you haven’t experienced that yet, you might be doing a great job as a leader, or maybe you haven’t stepped into ministry deep enough. If so, let’s think about this in your ministry as a future reference.
Moses was a great leader. As you know, he led the Israelites out of Egypt and its slavery. He experienced the power of God working in his life to be a leader. But he fell into the people-pleasing problem like many of the leaders do.
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 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?”
Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 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.”
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. – Exodus 18:13-17 NIV
Sometimes, as a leader, you feel like your responsibility is to meet all the needs of people. You might think that you have to keep everyone happy. But is it really your responsibility as a Christian leader? If it’s not, what is the best way to be a leader that God called to be?
How to stay away from people-pleasing
1. Remember that you are not God
God is the one who can meet all those needs of the people. You are not God and impossible to keep everyone happy all the time! Moses said in verse 15 and 16,
“Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 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.”
If you don’t lead people to seek God instead of you, they will demand to receive something from you. If they don’t receive what they are looking for from you, they will be upset. But it’s not your place to meet those needs. You are called to lead them to God, who meets their needs.
2. Listen to your adviser
If your friend, family, or another leader who cares enough to tell you what you are doing will hurt you later, listen to their advice with a humble heart. Moses had his father-in-law, who came alongside him to give him advice.
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. – Exodus 18:19 NIV
3. Delegate your ministry to other leaders
You are a leader doesn’t mean you have to carry all the weights of ministry all by yourself. Delegate your responsibilities to those people who are capable of it. Then you can focus on what you really need to focus and be able to lead people without the burnout.
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. – Exodus 18:21 NIV
Be the best leader you can be in the way God called you to be. But without people-pleasing!