Friday, December 29, 2006

Drawing Near

There’s a common refrain in many of my recent interactions with church leaders. The commonality is not in the “problem” as it is presented, but in the root issue that underlies the situation. In one, a church had been split in an ugly conflict over the senior pastor’s leadership. Elsewhere, a “second chair” leader has felt unappreciated by his senior pastor and wonders what the future holds. Another church has struggled to find its direction and reverse a pattern of decline.

What is the common denominator in these disparate situations? In each case, there is a sense of pulling away when the right solution is to draw near. Many of the problems in our churches – at the individual and organizational levels – would be resolved if people would draw near.

Draw near to what? First, we need to draw near to God. We need to constantly seek His guidance for our lives and admit that we are dependent on Him. The spiritual vitality that this fosters puts everything in proper perspective. We also need to draw near to each other. This kind of relational vitality will not eliminate conflict, but it will lead to a very different outcome in times of turmoil.

Before you give up or pull away, no matter how difficult the season or the situation, try drawing near.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Taking Risks ... Climbing Down

The newest article at is entitled “Climbing Down the Ladder: Why I Gave Myself a Demotion.” Phil Taylor offers some excellent thoughts on taking risks and not following the conventional wisdom when it comes to a minister’s career progression.

Most of us have probably developed a “theology of risk-taking” based on a combination of our past experiences and our own study of Scripture. About twelve years ago, I was the co-founder of a start-up company in the environmental services business. I was convinced that God would reward me richly, after which I would be able to coast financially and give much more of my time in Kingdom service. After four years, I was just thankful to get back most of the money I had put in, even without any return on my investment. That was just one of the times when I learned that risk-taking doesn’t always result in the rewards that I want or expect.

My heritage is one of conservative Germanic stock that believes in hard work much more than in taking risks. As I get older, I find it even harder to take big risks. But I know that God can call us to step out boldly in faith throughout our lives (Abraham comes to mind). So I wonder what risks He may call me to take in the near future and what risks you’ve taken in the recent past.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Our newest article (at is entitled “What if my first chair is a micromanager?” This frustration has been expressed frequently as we have interacted with other second chair leaders.

I have to confess to having some micromanaging tendencies myself. Sometimes my desire for things to be done “right” make it hard for me to restrain myself. I’ve also experienced the other end of this – as the micro-managee (?) – and it’s something I definitely prefer to avoid.

But the reason for this blog isn’t about me – it’s an opportunity to hear from you! What experiences have you had with a micromanaging boss? In what ways and in which areas of your job have you been micromanaged? What have you found effective to either change the nature of the interaction or to cope with it? Post a comment – we look forward to continuing this dialogue.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Summer Stuff

So how is the summer going for the rest of you in second chair land? What is resting you, what is stretching you, and what is stressing you during this season?

For me, I’ve had a couple of nice vacation breaks, including a relaxing getaway with my wife. Neither of us had realized how much we needed the break from the kids and the routine until we were actually alone, and then it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders.

As for stretching, I’ve really enjoyed reading Reggie McNeal’s new book, Practicing Greatness. Reggie challenges leaders to take a deep look at their own lives and to adopt 7 practices that will ensure long-term effectiveness in their ministries. I was also stretched by our church mission trip to Port Arthur, TX. This area was hit hard by Hurricane Rita, but has received much less attention and aid than New Orleans and other areas along the Gulf Coast. It was humbling to install sheetrock and do other basic repairs in homes that had been damaged 9 months ago.

And then there’s the stressing part. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find the summer to be a difficult season in many ways. The vacations are needed, but I find it hard to maintain any kind of rhythm in the summer. And by the time I look up, the busy fall season is staring us in the face and we’re not quite ready. It’s a struggle right now to know what the “main thing” is and to stay focused on it, because so many things are competing for my/our priorities at the church and in the second chair community.

So that’s my lame excuse for the lack of postings! What is resting, stretching or stressing you right now? I look forward to re-engaging in the online dialogue.

Friday, June 09, 2006

No New Insight, Just Checking In

First, welcome Warrior Girl. Thanks for your comments on some previous posts. Guys and Gals, check out her thoughts on the second chair as warrior post.

Second, isn't it good to be serving our Lord Jesus and His church. Be reminded of this Scripture from Ephesians 1:22-23. It states, "22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." You are serving His church, which is his body and that which is the expression of his fullness.

I know that at times it doesn't feel this way, but be encouraged. No matter what is coming at you, from your first chair to your congregants, to that seeker who is in crisis, the church you serve is under His leadership and is making a difference.

Oh yeah, you are helping it make that difference. So here is what I am asking you to do. Post some comments just updating everyone in the Second Chair Blog Community of what God is doing in your ministry. This type of reflection is an encouragement. It will also be an opportunity for us all to get caught up and reignite our prayers for one another. So good, bad, ugly, sad, amazing, wonderful, or whatever the way you would describe your circumstances, let us know so that we can serve each other in prayer.

Here is one final word of encouragement. It is my life verse. Romans 15:13 states, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Now trust in Him and overflow!!!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Reward

"But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose;
I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
And my reward is with my God.'" (Isaiah 49:4)

This verse really struck me in my quiet time a couple of weeks ago. (I’ve had this post written in my mind since then, but haven’t had time to sit at the keyboard and get it in written form.) It struck me, of course, because I’m very success driven and because too often I derive my self-worth from “my” achievements.

I’ve had several conversations with one person who has been asking how to measure success as a second chair leader. This question recognizes the ambiguities of our roles. After all, children or youth or small group leaders often have tangible results, but a second chair leader is responsible for everything and nothing at the same time.

In these conversations, I’ve been reminded how much I like to measure progress and to be successful - growth in our congregation, people whose lives I’ve impacted, number of books sold! And then God points me back to Isaiah 49:4 and reminds me that these external benchmarks are not the true measure.

Well, there’s my confession. Are you content to trust in God for your reward, even if it seems that you’re laboring to no purpose? How have you dealt with this tension?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lessons Learned from the Road

Hey Gang! I just got back last night from a time with the Christian Educators of North Carolina. I had the privilege of sharing the 2nd Chair material with them in our conference setting, and I was greatly blessed.

As you may or may not know, Mike and I have been on the road about once or twice a month for the past few months. We head to Northern California in Mid May for our recording of the 2nd Chair simulcast with the Christian Communication Network, then spend the next day with the California Baptists in a 2nd Chair workshop. All of these opportunities are so exciting and I am grateful to God for each one of them.

As I have been traveling some lately, here are some things that I have been learning:
1. Hunger for community -- Second Chair leaders are lonely and need community.
2. Validation -- Second Chair leaders haven't been validated all that much before and as a result, they need affirmation, encouragement, to be told they aren't crazy, and a day off every now and then.
3. God is with us -- Although our settings are different, our titles aren't all the same, our wonderful Holy Spirit is with us guiding our steps and helping us navigate these difficult paradoxes.
4. My First Chair -- I value my first chair more and more and I am grateful to be serving with him.
5. Second Chair Leaders are Passionate -- Passionate about their Jesus, their church, their determination to make things better.

Thank you all for your affirmation of the work God set before us. We are humbled to be a part of this community of second chair leaders and I am grateful for the relationships that are forming.

Let's keep the conversation going. What lessons have you recently learned about the second chair?

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Does the First Chair Really Need From You?

So, here is a great conversation starter with your first chair. Buzz his assistant and find a time when you can block out 1.5 to 2 hours on their schedule. When the appointment arrives, go in with a pen, a pad of paper, thick skin, and this question on your lips: What do you really need from me?

What does your first chair really need? Do you know? Have you asked him or her? Can you list in bullet points what they really need for you to do? Does it change as the season or situation changes?

As you respond to this blog, throw in your two cents of what your list would look like if you had this conversation with your first chair. Take a stab at it and let those of us in the second chair community take a look as well. If you need to explain an answer, take your time and let us hear it. What would they say?

Then, I dare you -- have that conversation!!!!!

Roger P

Friday, March 31, 2006

Family Matters

I want to take our conversation in a different direction with this post, and talk about something that’s been overlooked in many of our conversations – our families. I recently had the joy of spending a week on vacation with my family. We were fortunate that my oldest son’s spring break from college matched up with the spring break for the other kids, so we decided to take advantage of it. What a great week! It was fun just being together. I didn’t completely forget about my church or my consulting work, but I came pretty close.

And in that, I was reminded how much my family matters to me. I’m thankful for each of my kids – God has made each of them very unique, and He has taught me much through them. And I’m deeply thankful for my wife who is an incredible helpmate and companion in every aspect of my life.

The vacation reminded me of a couple of other things as well. It pointed out (again) how easy it is for me to use (and abuse) the “tomorrow” excuse with my family. There are always so many pressing priorities that I often think that quality time with my wife or kids can wait until tomorrow. Of course, tomorrow turns into next week which turns into next month … It reminded me that it’s important for me to refresh my own soul with times of relaxation.

Of course, I’ve been back almost two weeks now, and the refreshment is draining away quickly. But I’m trying to remember my lessons and find a more time for family matters. So after you read this post, turn off your computer, give your spouse a kiss and your kids a hug, and do something fun.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Back in the Game -- Second Chair as Warrior, Finally

Thanks for your patience with us as we have been quite busy these last few weeks.

First, we had a great day in Springfield. Mike and I both walked away enthused and hopeful for the first and second chair leaders that attended the seminar. This was a tremendous experience for me and one that energized my spirit.

Now, for the second chair as warrior take! I hope that you are ready. Go with me to Exodus 17:8-15. It states:

8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.
Wow! Incredible story! But what portion do you identify with the most in the second chair? Isn't it Aaron and Hur? Isn't this one of the key ways that we as second chair leaders can identify with those who serve alongside another to strengthen them and assist them?
But, doesn't faitful exegesis require us to look down in the valley as well? What is down there? What is going on? Who is down there?
A second chair leader, who, in obedience and subordination ,went down into the valley to fight the Amalekites. This man was sent a special message by God, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it. . . "?
Joshua, this faithful second chair leader, was slinging the sword in the valley, enforcing and exercising the will of another. He was playing the role of second chair as warrior.
What about you? Have you ever had to enforce or exercise the will of another by, "slinging the sword?" Have you ever found yourself playing the role of warrior?
I have and it has not been a pleasant experience. As a matter of fact, this role as warrior has been the most difficult to play. Frankly, I have never been able to play it without it taking an emotional toll on me.
There are two very distinct times when I have had to play this role. The first time was a few years ago, the second, more recently. In both of these experiences, I finished the task with tears.
One of the things that has helped me is a lesson that I believe that Yahweh wanted Joshua to learn. Simply put, this is a lesson on perspective. Think about it! Joshua was down in the valley, and all he knew was war, swords, sheilds, death, and brutality. He didn't have a mountain top perspecitve. Only Moses, and his servants, fully understood this mountain top perspective and what was taking place up there. Yahweh saw fit to give Joshua a special message to help him know that there was a different scene playing out in a different realm, but at the same time and dealing with the same issue.
You and I must trust this message to Joshua, when, in times of tough assignments, we can only see the war portion of our assignments and we don't understand the higher perspective playing out in a different realm. We must trust that God, in His sovereignty, is going to honor us, even when we carry the load of the tough assignment as warrior.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lessons Learned from Springfield

Share with others in the Second Chair Community some of the lessons you have learned form the Springfield Second Chair Leaders Conference. Just hit the comment link below, post as an "anonymous" blogger and hit the publish post key. You will be asked for "Word Verification" and just type in the letters you see.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Yes, the frequency of new posts has slowed down quite a bit lately. Frankly, I’ve been gasping for air.

Some of this gasping is self-inflicted. I like to keep my plate full and run as fast as possible. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much capacity when the unexpected happens. Preparing materials for a second chair seminar this week, coaching two teams (the curse of overlapping basketball and softball seasons!), and some extra consulting and coaching are causing me to gasp right now.

Some of it is externally-driven. None of us, especially in the second chair, has complete control over our priorities and schedules. In this season, my first chair has become much more involved in the day-to-day and in reshaping priorities for all of the staff, and it’s consuming tremendous amounts of time and energy.

So what do I do in these seasons? I try to be sure and keep my early morning prayer time. In an earlier stage of life, that would have been the first thing to go, but I’ve learned how much I need that time with God. This week I’m giving thanks for a wife and family who extend grace to me when I get too busy for them. And I’m praying for my senior pastor, because God has helped me realize that his current actions are the result of a heavy burden that he is carrying.

I am also being much more careful with my calendar, trying to make time for the truly important things, and postponing those that can wait. When life is busy, I tend to crank up my pace, which has the downside of my being impatient or of people feeling like I have run over them. I’m trying to be careful about this. And in the midst of it all, I’m making sure that there is still some time for the things that help me relax – like watching some of the Winter Olympics or getting out for my regular pick-up basketball game.

I’ve prayed for this second chair community this week, because there’s been a sense that we’re all gasping lately. Likewise, I covet your prayers in this season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Second Chair as Warrior! Is this Biblical?

I'll give you my take on this later, but I wanted to hear from you all in the Second Chair Community. Do you ever see yourself as the Warrior who is sent into battle to fight the fight for the first chair, to keep them from getting too messy? Give us some of the story, some context, what you learned about yourself, how you felt.

There are some Old Testament Themes in and around this concept. What about in the New Testament Church? Is the Second Chair a place that executes judgment when it comes to church discipline?

I don't have all my thoughts formed around this, and I don't know if I am alone in this thinking. All I know is that over time, I have been given some pretty rough assignments and sometimes I was executing the will of another as part of my role. Don't you just love the second chair?

Friday, February 10, 2006

When your chair cushion is worn out!!!

So here are my thoughts on all that we have been collectively enjoying this week. I believe that we in the second chair community have been hit pretty hard this week, and Sunday isn't even here yet! How about you?

So, what can we do when the chair cushion is worn out? How do we get it fluffy and comfortable again? Is that the right question to ask anyway.

I know this much. We can run to our Father for He knows what we need before we even ask of Him (Mt. 6:8). That is what I am going to do. May God bless you today as you lead from the second chair.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Juggling Balls and Spinning Plates

I had a great phone call today. I have started coaching a high potential second chair leader who is juggling too many balls and spinning too many plates. He is in an environment of expansive growth and his time is in high demand. The problem. . . . . . way too many balls and plates. Such that in a recent staff retreat, the bouncing balls and crashing plates became the focus of the "problems" in the organization. Don't you know he loved going home that night to his wife and expressing to her his frustration.

What happened? The organization grew! He was and is the go to guy so they went to him. Now he is overwhelmed and nearing burn out.

Try another anology-- traffic!

Have you ever been in a traffic jam when you rolled along at 5 miles per hour for twenty minutes? Have you ever thought, "Wow! There must be a bad wreck up there? What could be causing such a back up? I can't wait to see the mangled metal of this one!" To your surprise and disappointment, there was no such wreck. No, the construction crew chose not to post signs about road work and just started narrowing everyone to one lane. Going from three lanes to one in a moments notice isn't all that fun now is it? People get angry, frustrated, and can even get hurt.

This is what can happen if the second chair leader has to have his or her signature on everything. In this type of ministry traffic jam, leaders push initiatives up the line and wait for decisions and approvals. In their waiting, they get tired, angry, even frustrated. The second chair leader feels overwhelmed, under appreciated, and doesn't know how to clear away the bottle neck and traffic jam that is outside of his or her office door.

Sometimes this traffic jam is created by a staff member who isn't pulling their own weight. Other times, it happens because the second chair isn't comfortable giving power away.

My take: Life is too short to have to approve everything. I want to do only that which I can do and empower and inspect that which I am able to delegate and give away. To do this, I have got to be willing to deal with conflict, communicate effectively, and enlist and train other capable people. This too takes time but it will be very rewarding to both the organization and to the people the organization serves. Look for, enlist, train, and use your people. They are your greatest resource!

What do you do to keep the traffic from stacking up too much outside your office door?

Saturday, January 28, 2006


The theme of loneliness in the second chair has struck me several times in the last couple of weeks. It was a theme that we sort of stumbled into as we were interviewing different leaders for the book, and I continue to hear it in other conversations.

No doubt about it, the second chair can be a very lonely place to serve. It’s often hard to share frustrations, fears, or even dreams with your first chair, and it may not be appropriate to talk freely with those you supervise or with lay leaders (if you’re on the church staff). So who can you talk to?

I’ve been blessed to share the second chair with someone who is a good friend and a trusted advisor (Roger), but I know that my situation is more the exception than the rule. If you’re not this fortunate, where should you turn? In addition to Roger, I’ve found rich community with many others outside my church. Some are second chair leaders and some are just close friends, but the time with them is a great antidote to loneliness. Is your second chair a lonely place? What are you doing to overcome it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Listening for the Most Important Things

Have you ever had one of those days in the second chair when all you were doing was jumping from one meeting to the next and dealing with problem after problem? As a result, you might find yourself at the end of a day wondering what contribution you made that day. If this persists, you can find yourself frustrated, burned out, and wandering through a maze of emotion and confusion about how effective you are in ministry.

This can be a difficult place for those of us in the second chair. It can also be a place where we commit to going deeper to see what God might be saying to us. For me, I believe that God wants me to listen more intently for the most important things.

I don't always listen well in my meetings, as I am often thinking about the next meeting, the emails and phone calls that keep hitting my blackberry, and the struggle of balancing the demands of the second chair. In the last week, I have had to reschedule three appointments because my pastor called me into meetings that I had to be attend. This is a struggle, as I don't always get to handle my calendar proactively. Instead, I find myself reacting to get it all done and the pressure to get it all done makes it difficult to listen to what is really being said.

What is really being said is the key component of what second chair leaders in the church must discern. If we miss what is really being said, we can't advise the first chair, coach our subordinates, properly pray for the spiritual needs of those in our congregation, or see the whole picture clearly. The wide gets confused with the deep and the counsel or assitance that we should be able to give loses its potency because we haven't truly identified the issue--the deep spiritual issue.

I must confess, I haven't been hearing the eternal issues as clearly as I should becuase the noise of the temporal screams out at me for attention. So, in a meeting today (no blackberry in attendance) I jotted this thought: So bombared w/the temporal you can't see or hear the spiritual.

Guilty as charged, but thankful for the Grace of my loving Jesus and the still small voice of his Spirit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pastor, Boss, and Friend

How about a little more tension in the second chair? Clayton asked me to stick my thoughts out there about the relationship to the first chair and the tension of my boss being my pastor, and my pastor being my boss. More than that, what happens when he is my friend, too?

First, I want to be friends. I am so relational, that friendship is the basis for a good working relationship. So, I work at sharing stories, asking him how he is doing, and making sure that we can enjoy a meal together and talk about how we were shocked that Peyton Manning and his colts lost to the Steelers. But, we don't hang out when we are away from the office.

As pastor, he and his wife have been there for the birth of my two kids, welcomed me to my new home with a plant, celebrated my graduation from seminary with a surprise party, and have visited my wife in the hospital when she had foot surgery. I have been able to share my burdens with him, my failures, and have even wept with him. All of this over eight and a half years.

As boss, wow, he has kicked my butt a time or two! We have had our disagreements, heated discussions, and he has called me on the carpet when I have been insubordinate. We don't always see ministry the same, as he and I are from two different generations. Also, he has given me substantial raises, given me substantial promotions from youth pastor to associate pastor, and has given me the opportunity to co-preach/teach with him every week, as we rotate between our two campuses.

Barry Landrum is a good friend, good boss, and a great pastor. He doesn't always listen to me, doesn't understand some of my ideas, and we frustrate each other at times.

I guess the question is how do I seperate it all or keep it all together with him as my friend, my pastor, and my boss? I hope these concluding thoughts help! I would also love to hear your thoughts on the matter of you and your pastor/boss/friend.

Initially and for the longest time, he was boss! This was our first relationship and it is the easiest relationship to carry out, as I am the follower and he is the leader. In this relationship, he says jump, and I say, how high? If this is where you stay with your first chair, you are in trouble. A BIG key to your success is this relationship and I think it is best when you can work your way through this part of the boss/pastor/friend tension. I say this because if all he or she is is a boss, and all you are is an employee, you are held at arms length. If this is where you sit, you will find yourself frustrated because you won't be able to impact the organization as a whole. Remember the definition of a second chair leader? Someone in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value to the entire organization. At arms length, you can't add value to him or her and thus you will find it hard to add value to the entire organization.

As relational and opionated as I am, I pushed the friendship thing. He received it as well, and I believe that when he saw potential in me and a desire to work hard, he pushed the friendship thing too. We have fun discussing theology, how he feels about John Piper today, how he will feel about Piper tomorrow, and sharing stories about life and things we find funny. We chase rabbits and joke a lot as a team. This keeps things light, especially when the intensity turns up. I like bringing levity and a little sarcasm to the table when it will lighten things up just a touch.

Through our time together and my life experiences, he has become a great pastor to me and my family. We like his preaching ministry as well. He has done this part of it. He has cared enough about Julee and me that he has come to the hospital to visit us and pray with us. He treats us like anyone else in the congregation, as this is a tremendous strength of my pastor. I too have returned the favor, checking on him when he has had a procedure or two, calling him the night before for prayer, etc.

But I think the best thing that I can say is that I don't seperate these roles and look for weaknesses in how he has or hasn't been my friend, boss, or pastor. I could easily pick him apart for any of these if I wanted to. He could do the same and question my motives if he were insecure or perceived me as a threat.

He is boss/pastor/friend all of the time, and like a smooth luxury car, we are able to shift in and out of these different gears with ease and comfort. This is how it should be and I am grateful to say that it is what I get to experience most of the time.

Yet, I am no fool. This is a relationship, and every relationship is a two way street. So, I must do my part, and I am very proactive about my part, because I have been called to serve him. Servants don't stand around waiting to be told what to do. If you do, I wouldn't call you a servant as much as I would a responder. Servants initiate, anticipate, and seek to assist. So, in my relationship, I anticipate, initiate, and assist as an employee, congregant, and friend. In doing so, I have found it well received and appreciated.

Again, please let me remind you, this takes time. I have been where I am for almost nine years with the same first chair. That is a long time to meet, discuss, listen, and respond. Take your time. Don't be overly critical, and do your part of the relationship to ensure growth.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sharing Your Leader's Burden

This idea of sharing my leader's burden has been floating around in my mind the last few weeks. We have just gone through a process of evaluating why our numbers have fallen off in our attendance at our two campuses. We are further realizing the need for further spiritual transformation as we feel like our people are not renewed, are entangled in the world, and need to be called to repentance. Much of this evaluation was forced onto us by our pastor, as he called our staff to prayer and laid upon us the burden of this situation.

Like it or not, he laid upon us his burden. Most of the second chair leaders on our team didn't like it at first. They thought his rationale for getting us to this place was misplaced. They didn't identify with his burden and couldn't understand this tension. For me, I completely understood where he was coming from, but didn't completely share his burden, because it wasn't as "alarming" for me as it was for him.

In this process, my team of second chair leaders began to discuss and pray about how we might share his burden. We struggled to fully understand it, and much of the way we approached the understanding was clearly a generational difference. With many younger second chairs following an older first chair, there is often disagreement and misunderstanding. Nevertheless, we began to pray that God would help us to carry his burden.

God did!

As we approached this with this spirit, our leader could see that we genuinely wanted what was best for the church, and we were willing to go with him into battle and deal with whatever it was that needed to be dealt with. This gave him a confidence in our counsel, helped him feel like he was not alone, and gave him a place to rest his burden as he grew weary.

I am reminded here of the story of Moses, Aaron, Hur, and Joshua as Joshua went out to fight the Amelekites (Exodus 17:10-13). It states:

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
These guys carried Moses' burden. They did this because they were following a leader who had a burden for the safety, health, and survival of Israel. One went into battle, risking his own life, while the other two propped up their first chair before the Lord.
One of the things that God continually impresses upon me is that I don't feel what my first chair leader feels. I am not burdened like my senior leader, because I am not the senior leader. I can't fully grasp or understand the burden. But I can ask the Lord to give me what I need to help carry his burden. And when I do, and when the team does, God is glorified and the first chair is strengthened.