Presented by: Pastors, Calvin Bergsma & James Bugg 
PDF Notes

▪ Four marks of a competent leader
▪ A blend of prayer and action
▪ Basic Principles of Ministry
 (Using the life of Nehemiah and other Biblical characters to illustrate.)
  • Leadership defined – Simply one who leads or guides.
  • A word definition – for leadership – influence
  • One can only lead anyone to the measure he/she can influence that person.

Our discussion on leadership will basically center on the life and character of Old Testament Nehemiah which lived 425 years before Christ.  He was prominent in business and politics in the ancient Middle East.  Nehemiah possessed a deep love for God and understood well the character of the God, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  As we consider his leadership abilities, keep in mind they are still just as relevant for us today as they were in ancient times.


Due to King Solomon and Israel’s turning away from God, the nation was led into what is commonly called the “Babylonian Captivity” a period of seventy years.  Somewhere near the close of those years, by a divine act of God, Persia rose in power and conquered Babylon.  The King of Persia gave the children of Israel liberty to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that the Babylonians had completely destroyed when they conquered Jerusalem.  Forty-two thousand three hundred sixty men, women and children, along with their seven thousand three hundred slaves returned to Jerusalem with a vision and resources to rebuild the temple.

It was a few years later that Nehemiah came upon the scene, having been born during the time of the captivity.  He was one of the most effective leaders of all time, possessing an exceptional personal philosophy of leadership.

  1. He honored God to the highest degree
  2. He was loving, caring, and compassionate
  3. He was well learned in scripture
  4. He was the cupbearer for the King of Persia
  5. Highly motivated to do his work
  6. Respected authority
  7. Had favor with the King and other high ranking officials
  8. Had true personal convictions—not preferences
  9. Deeply devoted to God and the will for His people, Israel. 


1. A leader has a clear recognition of the need.

Verse 1:2  “…Hanani one of my brothers, arrived with some men from Judah, I asked them about the Jews—those who had escaped and those who survived captivity—and about Jerusalem” (NJB).

Verse 1:3 They replied, ‘The survivors remaining there in the province since the captivity are in a very bad and demoralized condition.  The walls of Jerusalem are in ruins and its gates have been burnt down.”  (NJB)

2.  A leader will be personally concerned with the need.

Verse 4  “On hearing this I sat down and wept; for some days I mourned, fasting, and praying 

                before the God of heaven.”  (NJB)

  • Wept over the ruins
  • Took responsibility

3.  A leader will pray.  Go to the Lord first with the problem.

Verse 5  I said, “Yahweh, God of heaven—the great and awe-inspiring and awesome God,    

               you who keeps a covenant of faithful love with those who love him and obey his 

               commandments.  (NJB)

4. Nehemiah confessed his part in the problem.

Verse 6 “Please let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, that you may hear the prayer of your servant which I pray before you now, day and night (not just a quick panic prayer) for the children of Israel your servants and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have- sinned against you.  Both my father’s house and I have sinned.  We have acted very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes nor the ordinances which you commanded your servant Moses.“

He further reminded God of His promise (two fold).

“Remember, I pray, the Word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, “If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the fartherest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen a dwelling in my name.”

Nehemiah prayed this way!

Nehemiah was saying:  You promised to bring us back into Jerusalem and protect us—it’s not happening, yet I claim your promise that it will.

Nehemiah brought his petition or desires before God.

Verse 11 – “O Lord I pray, please let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear your name; and let your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.  For I was the Kings cupbearer and give me favor with me.”