I love reading books on leadership but it dawned on my this morning that when I asked God what I should be reading to prepare for the ministry transition I will be making in a bit, He didn’t recommend any book by Jim Collins, Pat Lencioni, or Seth Godin. Not that those books are unnecessary for pastors and leaders, but ultimately what should feed the heart of any God-called leader is not what comes off the New York Times Bestseller list but rather from the very Word we are called to preach and teach.
I started off with Joshua last week but didn’t really explain the heart behind choosing that book.
This week, I’m posting my brief notes from Nehemiah. Don’t look for deep exegetical stuff. I focus rather on what principles God wanted me to learn from the stories.
- You must be single minded in your mission. I am convinced that the reason why Nehemiah was so focused on rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem was because he knew that God had called him to do it. Without a God-driven focus, it is easy for us to get sidetracked or distracted by the plans and intentions of others.
- Nehemiah had a calling to a city and not simply a building project. Man, if church planters and pastors can catch this one, the kingdom of God might plant deeper roots some places. Nehemiah had the welfare of the city in mind when he went (Neh. 2:10). Feel called to a street corner? Well, honey, that’s about all God will allow you to impact if your faith can’t move beyond a sidewalk.
- Nehemiah prayed and wept over the city. Nehemiah mourns before he moves. It’s hard to minister to a city if your heart does not break over its condition. The opening chapter shows Nehemiah crying out to God in repentance for Israel’s sin but also for renewal and revival of the city (Neh. 1:4-11). When God breaks your heart over the things that break His heart regarding a city, you will impact the city with the gospel of Jesus Christ and do whatever it takes advance the kingdom.
- Nehemiah understood the importance of TEAM (Neh. 3). Nehemiah trusted those around him enough to delegate specific responsibilities. Secondly, he did not abdicate his leadership role and made sure that folks did their part.
- Nehemiah did not buckle in the face of opposition. If the children of Israel faced opposition when as they progressed toward the Promised Land and if Jesus, God Incarnate, had to deal with the enemy in the wilderness before His earthly ministry began (Matt. 4), then it should never surprise us when we faced opposition as we are fulfilling the vision God has given us. Opposition, whether it’s intimidation or slander, always seeks to neutralize you and the work God has placed in your hand. But do what Nehemiah and his team did: ARM yourselves with weapons. Our weapon, of course, is not guns or knives but the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20).
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