Moses asks for a man “who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd” (v. 17). In other words, “Lord, we need a man who realizes he must be in touch with the people before he can minister to them. He needs to be a people person.”
Moses was saying, “These people don’t need a mystic. They don’t need a man preoccupied by his love for research, as important as that may be. These folks don’t really need a super-efficient CEO or a brilliant organizational genius. They need a shepherd. They need a man who knows people, who will minister to people, understand people, and know how to guide people.”
In whatever capacity you might minister—as a Bible teacher, as a student preparing for the ministry, as a woman of God ministering in your area of giftedness—your ministry is primarily people, not shuffling papers, not crunching numbers, not making phone calls, not writing letters, not planning programs, or noodling over strategies for the next decade. Of course, all of those things must be done. I must sign and/or write an average of forty to fifty letters a week and get involved in planning sessions too. Administrative details need to be handled. (As few as I can get by with!)
Do you know the most common thing I hear from individuals just beginning to come to our church? They want very much to get to know some of us on staff, and they’ll say, “You don’t know me, but I come on Sunday to hear you preach.” And they almost apologize, as if to say, “Hey, I’m sorry to take your time, but I just want to shake your hand.” I go out of my way to say to each one, “You are as important as anybody else in this entire church. There is no insignificant member of the family of God.” I don’t say this to make a good public relations statement or to make a good impression. I say it because I believe it—because it’s true. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you are special before the God who has chosen you.