Learning Leadership From Nehemiah

I recently read a great post on leadership lessons from the Book of Nehemiah by Dave Kraft over at the Resurgence blog. You can check out the entire post here, but below are a few ideas/quotes that resonated with me and I am sure with anyone who has been called of God to pastor. Here are four of the twelve principles he lists in the article.

"Christian leaders are deeply concerned about the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose. In dependence on Him, they do something about it."

Leadership always begins with God; the fact that He's up to something and wants me to be a part of it. True spiritual leadership is getting on my heart what God has on His. I want to know where God is at work and where and how I can join Him in that work.

"Leaders have Big Dreams. They have God-sized divine desires birthed from divine dissatisfaction with what is."

Nothing significant starts happening until somebody starts dreaming. Every accomplishment started off first as an idea in somebody's mind. It started off as a dream. It started off as a vision, a goal. Therefore, the first task of leadership is to hear from God and have a vision. If you don't set the vision, you're not the leader. Whoever is establishing the vision and goals in your church or group is the leader. A church, group, or organization will never outgrow its vision and the vision of a group people will never outgrow the vision of its leader. (Adapted from a Web article by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Valley Church).

"Christian leaders understand to whom they belong, whom they serve and who gives lasting success."

The God of Heaven will give us success. It's all about Him, about His glory, His purpose, His honor. I am His servant. He is not my servant to help me carry out my plans, my desires, my agenda in order to build my ministry with my people. It is fundamentally all about Him!

"Leaders should expect opposition in various forms."

The "expect to be misunderstood" has expanded through the years to, expect to be: criticized, judged, called an ungodly leader, no leader at all, not a Christian, having no love for people, and the list goes on. Anyone who has had a leadership role for any length of time knows that being judged, condemned, or having one's motives questioned goes with the territory. If opposition comes only from perceived enemies of what you are trying to accomplish, that would be one thing. But in many cases it comes from some of your key people and that's especially hard to take. Enemy or close friend, having someone criticize you or your ideas is always difficult to receive and respond to. Once again, Nehemiah is a model for us.

If everybody likes everything you're doing, you are probably not doing anything of significant value. Leaders don't lead and make decisions in order to be popular or appreciated.

In his book, "Well-intentioned Dragons," Marshall Shelly delineates some of the people types who will oppose your leadership and your decisions. Be on the look out for them:

The Wet Blanket-No matter what the idea or decision on the table, Wet Blanket has a quiver full of reasons why it has never worked, will never work, and should not work because it is not the will of God.

The Fickle Financier- If you do this or that, I will never give another dime to this ministry. Without my support and the support of my friends (who feel the same way I do) your ministry and leadership is dead in the water.

The Sniper - Never seems to talk directly with a leader in a healthy manner voicing concerns, but rather stays at a safe distance and takes indirect pot shots in private conversations that paint the leader in a bad light.

The Legalist- Has a list of absolutes that run from how much the leader paid for his house to how many verses should be sung from a particular song.

The Merchant of Muck- the group gossip who disguises everything behind the mask of prayer requests and concerns.

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