Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

  1. See the need (2:3): “Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
  2. Set the vision (2:5): “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
  3. Solicit support of key leaders (2:7-8): “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?”
  4. Marshall the resources (2:9): So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
  5. Assess the current situation (2:13-15): 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. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate.
  6. Motivate the team (2:17a): Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire…
  7. Communicate the action plan (2:17b): Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”
  8. Encourage the team (2:18): I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.  They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
  9. Maintain focus (2:20): I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
  10. Involve key leaders (3:1): Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel.
  11. Promote teamwork & cooperation (3:2-4, etc): The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zaccur son of Imri built next to them.  The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs.
  12. Expect opposition (3:5): The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.
  13. Use external resources as required (3:7): Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah-Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth-places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates.
  14. Endure criticism (4:1-3): When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?”  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building-if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
  15. Pray and seek God’s help often (4:4-5): Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
  16. Be passionate about the project (4:6): So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
  17. Guard against threats to success (4:9): But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
  18. Avoid burnout (4:10): Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
  19. Maintain morale (4:14): After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
  20. Protect team members from injustice (5:7): I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!”
  21. Hold leaders accountable (5:12): “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”  Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised.
  22. Don’t give up, see the project through to completion (6:15): So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
  23. Give God Credit for the Success (6:15): When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
  24. Worship and praise God for success (8:6): Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
  25. Celebrate success (8:10-18): Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength…Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy.