Leadership in secular contexts denotes power, position, fame, and wealth. Leaders have been known to seduce, force, penalize, and calculate. These qualities contrast with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught meekness, humility, and spirituality. Although He never traveled extensively, won a military battle, or wrote a magnum opus, He was the greatest leader the world has ever seen. While the Bible portrays many wonderful leaders, they all point to Jesus, the composite picture of biblical leadership. One of these biblical characters embodied the character and spirituality of Christ while executing results efficiently, accomplishing the goals of a vision, and achieving success. Like a leadership manual, the story of Nehemiah reveals the principles of biblical leadership.
While global corporations, legal and government organizations, and military or sports campaigns have clear material objectives, the book of Nehemiah presents leadership from a different perspective altogether: the kingdom of God. Rather than the use of hard power, the leadership of character is presented and ultimately reflects the person of Jesus. This type of leadership asks a particular set of questions: How does God deal with sin? How does He reconcile His innate hatred for sin and His intense love for sinners? What is His plan to save the world? What is the role of the Christian in the midst of this world?
These questions become real in the life of a university student, in the professional setting, in positions of leadership, and in our roles as parents, where the principles of the kingdom of God are many times eclipsed by worldly pursuits. How are Christians supposed to live in this modern world? How are Christians to lead others while maintaining a humble, devotional life with the Lord? Does the Bible give practical insights into these questions?
Rather than using psychological tricks of seduction, playbooks of cunning strategy, and power tactics of intimidation, Christians are called to be proponents of change in the world simply through their characters and godly leadership. In other words, Christians lead others by being led by God. While secular methods of leadership may be motivated by profit, power, and ambition, the book of Nehemiah presents principles to experience the joy of doing God’s will and making His glory known to the entire world.
Principles are absolutely necessary to guide Christians to lead other individuals, families, organizations, and even nations to do and live out the will of God. Finding these guiding principles requires prayer, time, study, and wisdom. Once they find these principles of biblical leadership, readers will be able to use them in any field of study or work.
As we study this guide on biblical leadership, may we keep the glory of God in mind and endeavor to apply its practical principles in real time. This text will bless those who keep a humble heart, a diligent mind, and a seeking spirit. Through this book, we will learn how to plan our work, organize our time and resources, prioritize our duties, motivate those whom we are leading, and hopefully, obtain heavenly results. We will also glimpse the secret weapons of Christian leaders, the steps to handle opposition, and the heavenly courage needed for difficult situations. May we find the answers to our questions, follow the greatest leader Jesus even more closely, and be able to lead whatever, whomever, and whenever He calls.