Development of a Team Ministry During Israel’s Battle with Amalek
Moses and Israel were introduced to one of their first confrontation when they crossed paths with the Amalekites. There can be little doubt that the Amalekites were a problem to be dealt with.1 In the recording of Israel’s conflict with these people, scripture gives a vivid picture of leaders coming forward to aid Moses. These men working together would lead Israel into victory. Their cooperation was the introduction of a “team.”
Although Moses was the leader, Joshua, Aaron, and Hur all took their places on the team in the historic and memorable battle that day. Moses surrendered the leadership of the fighting forces over to Joshua. Moses stood on the mountain peak and raised his staff heavenward during the battle while Aaron and Hur supported Moses. All four men were working for the same outcome, yet each played a varied role. Moses was giving the people of God one of their first lessons in “team play.”3 In this story there is a clear indication that it is God’s plan to incorporate His followers into a powerful force.
The task Joshua was called to do was that of leading the army into battle. He was not to play the role of Aaron or Hur in holding up the arms of Moses. He was not called to be the mediator between Israel and God as Moses was. He was called to lead the forces of Israel into war. This design is an example of how teams worked in the plans of God.
The call of Joshua was to take a sword in hand. The other three men would not place their feet upon the field of battle. The diversity seems to play a significant role in the success of God’s work. These diversities are great, but the Holy Spirit harmonizes the work.4 Unity toward a cause can be created with great differences in character and personalities which would lead one to agree that “oneness is not sameness.”5 A unified front can have great success with an abundance of varied gifts and skills.
In this brief introduction of Joshua, there is a strong indication that Moses saw potential and entrusted him with a great task.
Moses…does not hesitate, under divine suggestion to confine to him the conduct of this first military action,. . . Whether Moses in this had an eye to his future station, and designed to afford him an opportunity for the preliminary training which his destined service would require, we know not; but we may safely say that God had such an end in view, and accordingly now entered him upon that course of action which should best qualify him for the arduous duties of his subsequent leadership of Israel.6
One of the keys in the success of Israel over the Amalekites was the development of a unified team. The creation of a united front especially applied to the leader, Moses. Placing trust in those who are more skilled in particular areas is crucial for all leaders. This trust is especially true for the leader desiring to develop a team ministry. One of the great calls of church leaders is to examine their strategy of leadership and ask a question similar to what Moses may have asked himself concerning Joshua: “Do I trust this man enough to be a part of this effort?” If team development is a goal it is essential for the leaders of a congregation to possess a high level of trust in those they lead. Richard and Martin say that the idea of shared ministry must be a model and an experience for the entire congregation of God.7 A model for leadership cannot be accomplished unless it begins from the top.
The support of Hur and Aaron during the battle is a clear picture of teamwork. Very little is known of Hur. He may have been the brother-in-law of Moses. Regardless of who he was, two facts stand out about Aaron and Hur during this historic battle: (1) they played a different role than Joshua, and (2) the role they played was essential to the success of Israel. Fatigue had overwhelmed Moses. His ability to stand and hold his arms up had weakened (Ex 17:12). A team effort was needed among the three men. Jane L. Fryar says that a team effort cannot be underrated:
We must not underestimate the need for loyalty among members of a team. No matter the position in which an individual serves, opposition never stands far from the door. God puts His people into ministry together partly because he knows we need support from other believers as we fight the battles we will most certainly fight. No army has its soldiers trenches for one.8
An image that is brought forward in the battle with Amalek is that of a praying leader. These two men undoubtedly understood how important it was for their leader to have support while he prayed. The scene gives a clear example of how the power of praying people affects the outcome of an event or struggle.9
A leader could benefit in receiving assistance, especially in the most crucial areas of ministry. Prayer partners are needed. Moses was able to continue under the demands that were taxing him physically by the assistance from Aaron and Hur. A man of God will be glad of assistance, and a truly spiritual leader will not resist the aide of others.
- John Davis, Moses and the God’s of Egypt: Studies in Exodus, (Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1986), 195.
- Life Application Study Bible (Wheaton; Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996), 122.
- Peter Enns, The New International Version Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Publishing House, 2000), 348-349.
- Enns, The New International Version Application Commentary, 348-349.
- John Moore and Ken Neff, A New Testament Blueprint for the Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 116.
- Morre and Neff, A New Testament Blueprint for the Church, 117.
- Lawrence O. Richard and Gilbert R. Martin. Lay Ministry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1981), 205.
- Jane L. Fryar, Go and Make Disciples (St. Louis; Concordia Publishing House, 1984), 197.
- H. McNeile, The Book of Exodus (London, Methuen and Company),102.