A leader must know who to listen to.

When Moses failed to come back down the mountain right away, the people went to Aaron. “Look,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us….” So Aaron said, “Tell your wives and sons and daughters to take off their gold earrings, and then bring them to me.” All the people obeyed Aaron and brought him their gold earrings. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded and tooled it into the shape of a calf. The people exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!”
– Exodus 32:1-4, NLT

Aaron had been chosen by God as Israel’s High Priest. And yet he totally blew it. He was a leader who led the people the wrong way. His intentions may not have been bad, but he listened to the wrong voices.

As a leader, I have to be careful not to lead God’s people to worship anything other than God! Regardless of how much people ask and plead and push–no matter what seemingly great ideas they have, I must not give in. A leader after God’s own heart learns to listen to one voice above all the babble of human voices. A leader after God’s own heart has spent enough time with God to know and follow his voice and lead others to worship and serve him only.

Some of those human voices will be very strong, and we will be tempted to listen to and follow them. Some will reverberate with reason and a certain power and authority, yet God’s still small voice is more powerful to the leader after God’s own heart. Some human voices promise popularity, power, position, and even prosperity, but the leader after God’s own heart does not give in to them.

What “golden calf” have I made for the people I lead? Numbers? Buildings? Organization? Programs? ? The success of my church or ministry or group? Is it time to stop, ask for God’s forgiveness, and turn back toward the one true God?

Oh, Father, you have called me to leadership in your church and I want to follow you because I know your voice! Amid the babble of all the other human voices competing for my attention, I desire to hear your still, small voice loud and clear. As a leader after your own heart, Father, help me to stay true to you and your way so that I may lead people to worship nothing and no one else but you.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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