Leadership from Nehemiah: Start well

You have a great ministry you feel called by the Lord to start. Where do you begin? How do you begin your plan? How do you encourage others to join you in this ministry? Sometimes we get stalled before we start. Nehemiah had only a few months to get the walls rebuilt before he had to return to Persia. His plan is a model for us on how to begin any project. This third study on leadership shows us how to lean on God and encourage others so that the project begins strongly.

 Bible Study – Nehemiah 2:11-20

1. Have you ever walked through an area hit by fire, earthquake or tornado? What was it like to walk through the wreckage?

 2. What do you think Nehemiah did his first three days in Jerusalem? Why was that important?  (2:11)

 3. What is the midnight ride about? (2:13) What did he learn about the situation in Jerusalem?

 4. How do you gather the facts for a project at work or a project at home? What do you need to know and why is it beneficial to know it first hand?

 5. Why did Nehemiah make this ride at night? (2:16)

 6. How does Nehemiah describe the problem in Jerusalem? (2:17) Whose problem is it and why is that a powerful motivator for the people?

7. Why was it so important for the walls to be rebuilt according to Nehemiah in verse 17? Who was this city an offense to in addition to the Jews who lived there?

 8. What words would you use to motivate a church to grow and serve its community? How does a plateaued or declining church make God look to the world around us?

 9. What encouragement does Nehemiah give to the people? (2:18) How is this report encouraging and not bragging?

 10. How did Nehemiah stand up to the foreign rulers who opposed the wall? (2:19-20)

 11. What is one thing that you have learned from Nehemiah about being a leader in this section?


Becoming a Leader

Four lessons on leaning on God.

 Godly leaders listen first to God v. 11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days

Many times people think of leadership as being the same as busyness. However, it is not what we do in the open that brings success, but what we do in private. When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem after a two-month journey, he did not start working immediately, he spent three days quietly. While he was waiting, he was spending time in the word and in prayer allowing the Lord to put things into his heart so that he could lead effectively.

 Godly leaders check their information. v. 13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.

Having spent time with the Lord, he sneaks out at night to examine the walls of the city. He wants to honestly face the full reality of his problem. He wants to see exactly what he is up against and take the plans that God has given him and apply them to the reality. God gave him the ending point and the means. Nehemiah now must get a good idea of the starting point. How bad is it? Your first step is always to assess the truth so you honestly know where you are beginning and what you are up against. Without it, you will have little hope of overcoming your challenges.

 Godly leaders inspire others v.17 Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace

He didn’t tell them that they had a problem. Notice the pronouns – we, us, and we. He owned the problem and appealed to their inner needs. Without the walls, all of them were in trouble. There would be no security and no prosperity until the wall was rebuilt. His words to them identified their needs and told them that together they could overcome the problem. Nehemiah also told them what God had already done (v. 18) so that they could see that they could depend on God in what seemed an impossible task. Nehemiah inspired them by telling them that He was with them and so was God.

 Godly leaders depend on God in the midst of opposition. v. 20 I answered them by saying, "The God of heaven will give us success.

When troubles come, many just give up. They figure it is too hard or that it must not be something that God wants. Nehemiah takes a different tack. He was confident that the Lord would continue to help them. Would there be problems ahead? Sure there would be, but the Lord can handle them. You can see that put into effect in the rest of the book as Nehemiah prays to the Lord about something in each chapter. God is a partner in this project. Nehemiah knows that God can overcome any problem.