How To Lead An Uprising

I’m currently teaching through the book of Nehemiah at Awaken, in a series called UNRUINED. Inevitably, each week as I preach, there are a bunch of things I don’t have time to mention or that I can only touch the surface of. This blog series, Overflow, is a chance to go a little deeper.

You can watch or listen to the Unruined series HERE.


4_uprisingAdmittedly, How To Lead An Uprising is a pretty broad title when learning from Nehemiah. This blog isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but more so a few quick thoughts on the topic as Nehemiah casts vision and invites the people to rebuild the walls.

Here’s Leadership 101 with Professor Nehemiah…

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. – Nehemiah 2:17-18 ESV

A good leader includes himself in the problem.

Anybody with a critical spirit or a red pen can point out a problem. It would’ve been easy for Nehemiah to show up and point out the problems. Although he mentioned the ruined walls and burned gates, he didn’t say it as though it’s just their problem. He says, “You see the trouble we are in.”

A good leader includes himself in the problem and positions himself to point toward a solution. (tweet this) Nehemiah didn’t grow up in Jerusalem. He didn’t know most of the people there. But this was his city now. He owned the problems and was ready to join in the solution.

A good leader challenges and invites people to rise to the challenge.

“Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem…” is quite the challenge. One does not just “build the wall of of Jerusalem.” He understood the scope of the work, the potential opposition they’d face, and even how complacent the people had grown, but he wouldn’t allow any of that to stop him.

A good leader won’t settle for what’s comfortable or “normal.” A good leader lives in the realm of challenging the status quo and pushes people to think differently, rise up, and move forward, despite the cost.

A good leader demonstrates God’s intervention.

“I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good…” If God is leading it and providing for it, who can stop it? There’s a big difference between a good idea and a God idea. Nehemiah was quick to demonstrate that his was the latter.

A good leader constantly reminds himself and those with him that God is involved and is leading the movement. This is especially important when opposition sets in, and when a challenge is given. God’s miraculous intervention wasn’t given just to pat you on the back, but to stoke the fire for everyone involved. Involve people in God’s intervention, giving God the glory and seizing the momentum that it builds!

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