According to the dictionary, a staff is “a group of assistants to a manager, executive, or other person in authority” However, originally a staff was not a team of people but a strong, straight branch that was cut from a tree and sanded smooth. Upon this staff a traveler would lean as he walked. The purpose of the staff was for support, balance and also used as a weapon to protect the traveler. From this insight, perhaps we can better understand the genesis of the word staff and how a spiritual staff can provide strength, balance and protection for a leader.
Of course, when we talk about leader/staff relationships, the leader must first be passionate about personal conformity to Christ. Obviously, the leader will not be perfect, but he or she should be sincerely reaching for Christlikeness. A leader, by definition, is someone whom others follow. The more clearly leaders demonstrate that their life goal is conformity to Jesus, the more they will inspire their staff to follow them. Yet, there is further insight into the power of a Christlike staff. Remember when the Almighty appeared to Moses in the burning bush? The Lord told Moses to cast his staff to the ground. Immediately, the staff turned into a dangerous snake from which Moses fled. Rather than being the leader’s protector, it had become his enemy. My first point is this: If a staff has not been touched by God to serve a particular leader – if it still harbors jealousy and selfish ambition (James 3:16) – then it has the capacity to suddenly turn into a serpent.
In the above story, however, the Lord told Moses to pick up the serpent, and as he did it returned again to being a staff. When we lay our staff at the feet of God, that staff will be different when the Lord tells us to lift it again. When God gives you the staff He has chosen, there will be supernatural power accompanying it. In fact, listen to what the Lord said to Moses: “You shall take in your hand his staff, with which you shall perform the signs” (Exod. 4:17).
The Holy Spirit placed an anointing upon Moses’ staff and with the staff he worked miracles. Repeatedly we see in the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt that it wasn’t Moses alone that released miracles; the signs and wonders came through his staff. Moses pointed the staff, struck the waters with the staff, and waved it up at the sky; the staff was the instrument through which divine power manifest! Not only that, but from that point on Moses’ staff was called by an additional name. It was now called the “staff of God” (Exod. 4:20; 17:9).
Oh, I pray this is a revelation to your heart! It is not enough for a man or woman of God to be anointed – their staff must become the staff of God. And there is no greater means to fulfilling the purpose of God than when a leader and staff all choose to pursue conformity to Christ. It is time to focus upon the high calling of God for our organizations, which is nothing less than “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15). Regardless of how successful your ministry has been in the past, imagine the success that awaits you with a staff united in their pursuit of Christ’s likeness: the staff of God!
Pastor Francis Frangipane is the author of over 80 books encouraging Christ followers to become increasingly mature in their faith and action. He is the President of In Christ's Image Training, an international online discipleship training program. https://www.frangipane.org