How to Lead in the Wilderness: 4 Leadership Lessons from Moses

Mar 29, 2018, Written by Shannon Farris


We have all been, or at some point will be, in a leadership role in our life. As business owners, you already have that covered. You are the leader of your business whether its 2 employees or 200. For those of you who may not be a business owner or a leader in your company, you may be a leader in other areas of your life, whether it is home, church, friend groups, recreational team, etc…

Taking on a leadership role can be scary, with feelings of inadequacy and thoughts of “what am I getting myself into?

Growing up, I was not the leader personality. Shy and timid, I would let my other, bolder and more strong-willed friends take the lead and make the decisions for our group. I had the “I don’t care what we do, I am just following along” (within reason) approach to life. It wasn’t until college that The Lord started putting opportunities in my life to take on leadership roles in various job and church settings.

“This is uncomfortable.”

“I hate all eyes being on me.”

“ What if I make the wrong decision and everything falls apart?”

Those are a few thoughts that went through my anxiety-filled brain. I didn’t feel like I was adequate to take on these roles. A million excuses ran through my mind of why I shouldn’t.  All this to say, there was a lot of fear for me stepping up into these leadership roles, but ultimately in hindsight those times were the most faith-building and refining moments in my life.

More recently, God has been teaching me through scripture what leadership alongside Him looks like. There are many avenues you can go down and views you can take, but for this blog I want to focus on Moses and how God used him as a leader.

Here are a 4 lessons from Moses that pertain to the importance of implementing faith into leadership:

  • In order to lead, you must first follow. Moses, while leading the Israelites, had to follow God through the wilderness. Without God leading the way, Moses would have wandered lost in the wilderness with an even more difficult and frustrated group of Israelites. As leaders, and more importantly believers, you must first and foremost follow God and walk in the ways He has set before you. We have the Holy Spirit within us to help lead and guide our decisions through prayer and study of His Word.
    • “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” Exodus 13:21
  • Dependency must be on God. In the wilderness, Moses and the Israelites solely depended on what the Lord provided for them. He rained manna from the sky to give them sustenance for the day and never failed to give them what they needed. In leadership, we must depend on God for his discernment and strength when it comes to making decisions or facing difficult challenges. We can become exhausted and our fuel tank on empty, but when we rely on Him, he will provide what we need.
  • Even in leadership, you are not perfect. Moses displays his lack of obedience in leadership when he disobeyed God’s command. The Israelites were thirsty and complaining about water. God instructed Moses to speak to the rock and out of it water would flow. Instead Moses, lacking faith, struck the rock with his staff to bring out the water and gave himself the glory for providing Israelites with water. Because of his sin and disobedience, God banished Moses from entering into the promised land. Even as a leader, you are not immune to making mistakes and facing the consequences of those mistakes. Luckily for us there is grace! Which brings me to my next point…
  • God is still gracious and faithful despite our sin. In the previous point, Moses disobeyed God and because of His sin, his consequence was not being able to enter the promised land. Yet, because God is loving and gracious He still allowed Moses to see the promised land before His death. The Lord is loving and gracious to us even in the midst of our poor decisions and sin. He showed that to Moses and then showed it to us by Jesus’ death on the cross.

No matter the type of leadership position you are in, and how inadequate you may feel at times, The Lord is still good and has put you in your leadership position for a purpose. The Lord has entrusted a group to you, whether it’s small, large, business, or family. Lead your group with humility, grace, and above all, lead it with dependency on God.

I leave you with this question- how are you incorporating God into your leadership role?

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you- Psalm 32:8

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Shannon Farris

Shannon graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies in December of 2015. She began working full time at Crossroads in October of 2016. She is excited to be a part of a team who builds their foundation on Christ and desires that to be seen first in everything they do.

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