Leadership from Nehemiah


We have wrapped up our exciting series through Nehemiah, and I want to highlight some leadership takeaways from his life and ministry.

  1. Timing is critical when making decisions. Nehemiah waited four months from the time he heard of Jerusalem’s disgrace until the moment he shared this burden with the king. God must prepare us for what He has prepared for us.
  1. Honor the relationships that are in your life. Nehemiah requested permission to go to Jerusalem from King Artaxerxes. The king’s approval was critical to the success of the project before Nehemiah and the people. We burn unnecessary bridges when we do not honor those in authority over us.
  1. Keep seeking God. If we lose our sense of spiritual development in the process of rebuilding we have lost a real sense of our spiritual purpose. We consistently find Nehemiah stopping to pray throughout his ministry. Why? Because he knew that the most important work was the spiritual rebuilding of God’s people. The physical rebuilding of the walls was a tangible expression of the spiritual work they needed in their lives.
  1. Be prepared. We see the great preparation of Nehemiah when he tells the king about his plans to leave and go to Jerusalem. Naturally the king had a few questions! Nehemiah could answer every question the king asked because he had taken the time to prayerfully think through all of the details. We obviously may not have all the answers on our end. There are inevitably things that take us by surprise, but preparation is still critical to the success of our endeavor.
  1. Be compelling. Nehemiah spoke out of compulsion to do something about the condition of Jerusalem. This was not a fleeting concern but a burden that he bore. The people felt the weight of his words and could see how they could come together for something greater than themselves.
  1. Be discrete with what God has put in your heart until the right time. Nehemiah did not blast his vision with a selfie of himself in front of the ruined walls. He shared all that he discovered but he waited until the right time to do it.
  1. Keep the focus on God. Nehemiah consistently appealed to the Name of God as the motivation of his work. His focus kept the work moving forward when the people faced obstacles from within and without.
  1. Be courageous. Nehemiah launched out and called the people to a great task. They simply could not have done the work they achieved without a sense of courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to take into account all the possible consequences of a decision and still choose to act. Fear immobilizes us but faith give us the courage to move forward.
  1. Understand that your leadership is for a season. Nehemiah gave 12 years of his life to rebuilding the wall and establishing spiritual reforms. He did not grab hold of power or a platform for himself. He was a servant to God. When his work was finished he simply returned back to Persia as he said that he would.
  1. Make the glory of God the purpose of all that you do. Four times in the final chapter of Nehemiah he asks the Lord to remember Him. We will all have moments of discouragement, setbacks, and obstacles. Our confidence is always in the One that called us. We can trust that He alone will never abandon us.

© 2016, Phillip L. Dunn