“And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord —the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap… The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”Joshua 3:13, 17 NIV
A note for pastors: I pastored a smaller Brethren congregation the last full year of ministry in Ohio before moving to Kansas City. One of the older men showed me this passage and it has become a bedrock of pastoral theology.
The priests went into the Jordan first (v.13) and came out last until every Jewish foot crossed the Jordan on dry ground (v.17). Caring for the flock of God without compulsion is not a corporate competition to see who can ascend the mountain of notoriety or sustain the biggest “ministry” operation. It DOES mean, however, we are first to show up and last to go up.