As a pastor, you need to be able to put together projects efficiently and effectively. Whether you are starting a new church, planning a new ministry, opening a new building – or just preparing for next weekend’s services, you need to mobilize people on a common task. That’s leadership in a nutshell.
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to help rebuild the city’s wall, he had a monster project on his hands. How he tackled that project provides us with seven key principles for getting things done –
1. The principle of simplification
Nehemiah kept his plan simple. He didn’t randomly assign jobs; he didn’t create a whole new organization; and he didn’t force any complex charts.
He organized around groups already associating together, such as the priests, the men of Jericho, and the sons of Hassenaah. The point is: don’t create an organization if you don’t need it. If an organization already naturally exists, try to work through it and with it.
Sometimes a new leader comes into a situation, and the first thing he does is start changing the whole organization. Think: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Strong organizations are often the simplest ones.
2. The principle of participation
It’s a pretty simple rule: work with those who want to work. Amazingly, a lot of leaders never learn this principle. They spend all their time trying to corral the lazy and the apathetic, instead of working with those who want to work. I call that corralling goats.
Nehemiah got almost everybody involved in the building of the wall. He had the clerics, the goldsmiths, the perfume makers – men and women, city and country folk. Everybody was moving bricks and making mortar.
But there was one exception. “Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to help” (Neh. 3:5 NLT). Nehemiah’s response was to ignore the shirkers.
In every situation you’re going to have workers and shirkers. Nehemiah just ignored the latter and focused on those who were willing to work. He didn’t lose sleep, get bitter, or waste time trying to corral them. If you’re a leader, don’t worry about people who don’t want to get involved. Focus on those people who want to get involved.