Warning! Bear with me a minute, I promise this isn't a primer on "computerese." There's an important lesson on leadership and usage of our time if you'll stick with me through the first few paragraphs!
Timothy, my dear son, be strong with the special favor God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
The first several of these attacks all started quietly and unexpectedly. Hidden within thousands of computers, many of them powerful servers, bits of viral code began executing their simple commands right on time. Hundreds of thousands of computers suddenly began to access the same web sites simultaneously and repeatedly. All across the world, access to several of the web's most used and most important sites was suddenly shut down. At first, very few people knew what was happening. All that most web users knew is that they couldn't access some of their favorite sites. All that several webmasters knew was that suddenly their number of hits was going through the roof and yet no one seemed to be able to access their site — costing them tens of thousands of dollars in advertising and e-commerce. Eventually, these attacks were identified as DOS attacks.
These three letters had been key to computer users for over a decade. However, within a few weeks, their primary meaning shifted from a reference to Microsoft's DOS (Disk Operating System), to a series of world-wide, highly orchestrated, Internet attacks on major web sites. DOS now referred to "Denial of Service" attacks. Webmasters had a new enemy with little or no defenses to repel the attacks. By simply overloading major servers with too many requests, all coming in simultaneously, key web sites could be completely locked up and rendered useless to those who needed to access them. It didn't matter how powerful the servers or server arrays might be, they could be shut down. With hundreds of thousands of requests coming in from all over the world, they simply could not handle all the demand. They were rendered useless.
Long before anyone knew about computers, church leaders knew about DOS attacks. If Satan could tie up Kingdom leaders in many simultaneous requests about matters not central to their core purpose, the evil one could keep them from ever getting around to that core purpose. If the enemy could tie them up handling unimportant matters, he could insure they weren't investing themselves in developing and mentoring new leaders.
Rather than using the disciple-developing model of Jesus — where he intentionally spent a large chunk of his time working with the best and brightest of potential new leaders, God's leaders found themselves handling non-purpose driven matters. While they did good things, the core purpose things God had called them to do were largely neglected. While they did important things, essential things related to developing and training new leadership and calling others to use their gifts in ministry went abandoned. Rather than being proactive in their leadership, they became reactive in their management of repeated crises and "piddling problems."
So often, those of us in church leadership tend to jump on the latest church growth fad or simply try to import and "baptize" secular leadership concepts. In our effort to withstand the evil one's DOS attacks, why not go look at Jesus as our model? He repeatedly faced this kind of attack and many others seeking to derail his development of leaders who would turn the world upside down.
Why not see the balance he achieved in his leadership development and ministry and try to follow his example? Then, we can look at the apostle Paul and his personal incorporation of similar principles and balance in his ministry and begin to utilize them. Finally, we can look at Paul's instructions to Timothy and Titus to follow his example and pass it on to others as a powerful call to see our need to minister and also to develop new ministry leaders.
While we may never get the balance down perfectly, at least acknowledging that one of Satan's most insidious tools to rob God's people of power can be seen his DOS attack plans. Be warned, church leader, when the Lord starts blessing your ministry, the evil one will counterattack with his DOS plans. Be ready! Commit yourself to God and his work, especially the work of investing in the development of new leaders for God's eternal Kingdom. To do less is to short-change the Kingdom and limit God's future through your work!