Leaders make mistakes.
A friend of mine once told me, “Good leaders take more blame and less credit than they deserve.”
I love when the Lord humbles me. Not necessarily in the moment, but looking back on it, it always breeds new and deeper understanding. I help lead with the youth worship service on Sunday mornings. Over the course of the last few months, the youth have done an amazing job of learning, playing and leading in worship without any adult help. This is an amazing accomplishment, and frankly, it was nice to be ‘not needed’. I try to make sure that there are standards for the group so that each time they lead in worship they are playing quality music. One of of the church youth talked with me this morning about the fact that he was upset that I was allowing some students to sing even though they weren’t at rehearsal. I had previously not allowed this student to sing for the same reasons. He had a valid point. He was right.
At this juncture, I had a few options: 1) I could have played the “I’m in charge, and what I say goes” card, 2) I could have gotten defensive and tried to argue my views or 3) I could admit he was right and use this as a learning experience. I chose option 3.
I am constantly learning about being a leader. I lead in the classroom, I lead at church and I lead in my household. I am not perfect, I make mistakes (ask my wife), but I strive to constantly improve.
After the conversation ended, I was extremely upset with myself. I have a tendency to ‘beat myself up’ over my mistakes. After a while, the Lord decided to crash my pity party. He reminded me of the fact that I am constantly building, constantly learning, and constantly being refined into the person He desires me to be.
Sound leadership requires constant reflection.
Sound Christian leadership requires commitment, conviction, competency and character. A leader has be be clearly committed the their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They must have biblical and well-founded convictions about their Christian faith. They must be competent in their knowledge of the scriptures and their lives should reflect the character of Jesus.
There is a plethora of examples of great leadership in the Bible. Turn to the book of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 2: 17-18 says, Then I said the 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.”I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
Let’s get a bit of context:
The focus of the book of Ezra, right before Nehemiah in the Bible, is on the rebuilding of the temple. A nation without a temple is a nation without a God. The author of Ezra sought to emphasize the importance of reestablishing covenant relationship with the Lord. The rebuilding of the temple was a physical manifestation of “God’s fulfillment of earlier promises to restore the remnant of Israel” (333). When the Hebrews returned to their homeland, they had been transformed under the ministry of Ezekiel.
When the Israelites returned to their homeland, their enemies saw their occupation of the land as a threat. Hill and Walton highlight in A Survey of the Old Testament that “Nehemiah’s initiative to repair the walls of Jerusalem was undertaken against considerable resistance offered by a coalition of local alien enemies” (335). The major theological highpoint of Nehemiah is the focus on the rebuilding of the walls surrounding Jerusalem. The way in which Nehemiah facilitates this construction is an example of how one should execute spiritual leadership and oversight.
The first seven chapters focus on the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Chapters 8-13 focus on rebuilding of the spiritual life of Israel, which only escalates as threats from the enemy increase. Instead of simply leaving his workers defenseless, Nehemiah recognizes that the solution to foreign threats is to equip his workers with swords too. Ultimately, Nehemiah is able to inspire the people to complete the walls.
Effective leaders are constantly building.
When you read Nehemiah you should focus on the leadership and executive oversight exhibited by Nehemiah. Nehemiah is the example of what a Godly leader should be. He actively cared for his people and their situation, defining the reality of that dire situation. He reminded them that their city lay in ruin, and reminded them of the truth that they are called to rebuild the walls of the city. Nehemiah understood that prayer is essential to know God’s will. He was able to build a team of people who were dedicated to fulfilling God’s call. Though they were ridiculed and mocked, Nehemiah did not let the people lose hope.
These examples from the book of Nehemiah should serve to encourage us in the area of leadership. Nehemiah built the walls of the city on faith, and his faith was the inspiration to all those around him.
I hope to constantly build and reinforce my faith. I hope to constantly build and reinforce my leadership abilities. Savor the moments when the Lord humbles you and ask yourself:
Are you building on what God has given you?