*Inscription: Writing God’s Words on Our Hearts & Minds*
*/Part 41: Above & Alongside Leadership /*
*/December 26, 2010/*
· 132 (Serve...), 134 (Prayer)
· Skim Neh.
· “Good to Great”
*Scripture reading: Nehemiah 1:1-4 (Eddie)*
Q Do you remember “*Bad* *News* *Bears*” or “*Periscope* *Down*”?
That’s Nehemiah– he takes a *discouraged* band of Jews and *self*-*serving* *leaders* and transforms them into a unified team.
To set the *stage*: As you may remember, God had *kicked* the Jews out of their land for *disobedience*, but now he’s *restored* them.
They had been there for almost *100* years, and they had gotten the tem*p*le *rebuilt*, but they still had *not* rebuilt the *walls*.
It is *hard* for us to *imagine* what that means.
· Imagine living in small *Asian* *country* without a military as *WWII* raged around you.
One *hundred* *years* of no wall and Nehemiah comes in and gets it rebuilt in *52* *days*!
Parts of his wall are still standing today.
In 2007 they found this section.
· Nehemiah did the impossible *on* *time* and *under* *budget*!
How did he do it?
He was an *exceptional* *leader* – he *organized*, *motivated*, dealt with *logistical* *issues* and *morale* (and *moral*) problems.
This book is practically a *handbook* on *leadership*.
Are you a leader?
I’m worried I might be *losing* a few of you already – I see you trying to discretely grab your *iPhone* to check your *Facebook*.
You think, “I’m *not* a *leader*, this doesn’t apply to me.
I’m just a *student*, a *mom*, an *employee*.
I’m not in charge of anything.”
· That’s where you’re wrong – *everyone* in this room is a *leader*.
We have strange (and *inaccurate*) *view* of leadership – like leaders are a *special* *class* of people who have been born with *natural* leadership *skills*.
Let’s begin by *redefining* leadership:
· Leadership is simply *guiding* a person or people to given *goal*.
Think about that definition for a moment.
*Who* leads and guides people to a goal?
Of course we think of the obvious answers: *Business*, *political*, *military*, *spiritual* leaders.
But what about the *less* *obvious* types of leadership:
/Getting your /*toddler*/ to use the /*toilet*/ instead of the floor?
That takes a lot /*motivational*/ and /*logistical*/ skills!
/What if your /*friend*/ is talking about /*leaving*/ her /*husband*/?/
/Helping your /*spouse*/ stay on /*budget*/ is leading./
*Evangelism*/ is /*leading*/ – hence the expression “lead someone to the Lord.”
Above vs. Alongside leadership
The reason we have such a hard time with this is that we are so *fixated* on “*Above* *leadership*” that we wouldn’t recognize *Alongside* leadership if bit us in the hinny.
Above leadership refers to leaders who have a formal, recognized position.
We think of it in terms like official, rank, authority, title, boss, they are “in charge.”
Alongside leadership are those without formal rank or title, but have the ability to “guide people to a goal.”
We describe this use words like influence, teach, mentors, respect.
Q Think back to all the people who have influence you, both good and bad.
How many of them were your boss?
· I asked that on Facebook and I got a lot of great responses; one point was clear – you don’t need a title to lead.
Not all of us will be given formal leadership roles, but all of us in fact are Alongside leaders – good or bad.
The question isn’t “if” but “where” and “how well” we’ll lead.
You are held responsible
· Think about that responsibility – people have grown closer to God and further from him as a result of your influence.
That leadership (Above and Alongside) is a sacred trust that God has given you.
He has allowed you to guide, lead, affect, and influence others, and you will be held accountable for it.
· I guess what I am saying is “Don’t screw it up.”
But no pressure.
*Luke 17:2 * 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Q Have I scared you enough to put your iPhones away?
It is my hope that you take your leadership role (Above or Alongside) very seriously, and spend your life becoming a better leader.
Here is one sermon, one lesson to help.
As I said, Nehemiah is practically a handbook on leadership, and I am going to pull out only three principle of leadership.
I choose these because they apply to every type of leader and every skill set – these are non-negotiables.
/**/A Leader Must Blend Prayer and Action/**/ /*
Let’s pick up where the reading dropped off.
Nehemiah has heard that Jerusalem is in ruins, so he starts praying and fasting.
NIV *Nehemiah 1:11-2:5* ¶ O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.
Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
I was cupbearer to the king.
Side note: “Cupbearer” is a great example of Alongside leading; a lot of trust and influence, but little authority.
He exercised that position well and was made the governor of Judah
How you use your Alongside leadership will demonstrate how fit you are for formal leadership.
As a church when we look for new Above leaders, we look for current Alongside leaders – a person wanting a title is a massive red flag.
* 2:1* In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes...
Four months preparation
Hang on: He got the bad news in Kislev and he waits until Nisan.
What’s going on here?
It might help to know those are November and April.
It has been four months.
He was devastated by the news.
He is the cupbearer to king.
He has his ear.
What has he been doing for the past four months?
He has been fasting and praying, preparing for this very moment (hence “today”).
He spent four months praying and preparing for this one conversation that would take less than 30 minutes.
He knew that he was powerless to make this happen; he was completely dependent upon God.
...when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king.
I had not been sad in his presence before; 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?
This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever!
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?” 4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “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.”
· After four months he has been praying for this moment, he springs into action.
You’ve got to admire his guts – he goes on to ask for a couple of years off, to be made governor, a military escort, and (to top it off) to be given the company credit card.
Throughout his career you see this sort of pattern – he balances complete dependency on God (demonstrated by prayer) and human responsibility (demonstrated by careful planning and action).
Q Why is it that we have such a hard time balancing dependency on God with practical action?