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Four Leadership Lessons From Nehemiah

I came across an interesting blog post the other day titled, “Four Leadership Lessons From Nehemiah“.

I would like to add a disclaimer before I get into the meat of this post.  I have not checked out the church from whose blog I read this.  While I normally do that, I didn’t feel these points were impacted by theology.  

  1.  Leadership Is Providential – While I agree with the Patterson’s point on this, I struggle with it too.  I believe God ordains each of us for our work, but by simply saying leadership is providential, it makes it seem as if leadership doesn’t fall into our lap, God hasn’t ordained it.  Sometimes God provides us the skills and the calling, and sometimes I believe God expects us to develop those skills.  I think this goes along with point number three.
  2. Leadership is Spiritual Hard Work – Perhaps a better way to say this is “Leadership should be spiritual hard work.”  In fact, I am not sure the discussion behind this point supported the point as well as I expected it to, though the point still holds true.  Good, godly leaders are not just leading, but they are supporting those they lead in prayer.  If it were only that, it would be simple and easy.  Good godly leaders also consider those they are leading to be more than employees or “followers”.  In fact, just like the Bible tells us in Romans 12:15, we should, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  You should consider those you lead, especially those you have direct influence over, to be a significant part of your life.
  3. Leaders Use Projects to Build People – This is a powerful point that I would not have gotten on my own reading Nehemiah.  All too often in today’s world, this principle is thought of backwards.  People are thought of as a means to complete a project, but that is not how it should be.  We can see other examples in the Bible of this as well, the one most coming to mind is the disciples.  The interesting truth behind this, which isn’t stated, is that by using projects to build people, the people you lead will then complete the projects better.  By placing the growth of those you lead above the projects they are assigned to, you ultimately end up with better, stronger people doing better, stronger work.  This can be a slipperly slope though, as one can fall into the trap of attempting to grow people so that projects will be done better, which ultimately fails as the leader’s heart is not really on their people.
  4. Leaders Persevere – I loved the quote from Mark Dever in this section of the article.  Mark states, “A godly leader keeps leading.”  What else is there?  If God has put leading others on your heart, then leading is what you do.  Trials come.  Challenges happen.  Projects are completed.  Jobs are finished.  Even so, leaders keep leading.

One of my long-term goals is to be the best leader possible, and these four principles are certainly ones to keep in mind, especially #2 and #3.  It seems to me that the greatest task a leader has is using their influence as a leader to build up the people they lead.  As I see it, the foundation of this is both the second and third points from above.


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