Wednesday, June 6, 2007

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM NEHEMIAH

Recently in our staff meetings we have been gleaning leadership lessons from the book of Nehemiah. We read the chapter out loud, reflect silently on what we just read, and then share leadership principles that apply to our setting in 2007. We always look forward to hearing Pastor Rick’s comments. He is a master at alliteration. In a few minutes’ time he can come up with a five point sermon outline, each point beginning with the same letter. I think we will try him out on one of the genealogical passages in Numbers to see if he can handle it.

The leadership bullets we derived from Nehemiah are too valuable to keep to ourselves. So let me give you a handful we spotted in the first chapter. Remember, this man of God is known to us as the one who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls around the destroyed city.

· Prayer was an obvious part of Nehemiah’s life. Not just Chapter 1, but throughout the whole book. How prominent is prayer in your ministry?

· He confessed not just his own sins, but also the sins of the nation. It was not just an “I have sinned” prayer. It was a “We all have sinned” prayer. When a church has lost sight of its vision, it is important for the leaders to confess on behalf of all the people of the body. This truth holds for any entity within the congregation. Keep that in mind, Sunday School teachers and team leaders.

· Here is one of my favorites. Nehemiah had a tremendous burden for the city. He is more than 200 years past the Babylonian ransacking of Jerusalem. Yet he still possesses a holy discontent over condition of the city of God. I challenged the staff that we all need the same kind of burden for the spiritual condition of our city. Marriages are crumbling, materialism and complacency rule the day, kids are succumbing to peer pressures and destroying their lives, and most have no sense of their life’s purpose. Do you possess a holy discontent over the spiritual condition of the people in our city?

· Going back to Nehemiah’s prayer, notice that he spent much of the prayer giving praise to God. Only towards the end of the prayer does he even ask God for anything. His request is simple and to the point—“Give me success as I meet the king.”

As you read through the Scriptures, let God speak to you. Read it as a leader would, as one searching for biblical principles of leadership. Every page is filled with lessons relevant for 2007.