Communicating God’s Vision

By Dr. Jack Graham

There are countless leadership books being written and published every day, but the greatest leadership book is the Bible. After all, as Christians, we model our leadership and our lives after Jesus and His leadership.

An often-neglected leader in the Bible is a man named Nehemiah. However, there is much that we can all learn from this cupbearer who took on an impossible situation.

After Nehemiah had surveyed the ruins of Jerusalem by night, he sensed God’s call to action. Nehemiah approached the people of Israel with effective communication. “Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned’” (Nehemiah 2:17).

Not only were the walls down, but the people of Israel were feeling hopeless, crushed and defeated. Then, in stepped a man whom they had never met, and he challenged them, “Let’s stand up. Let’s rise up. Let’s rebuild these walls.” The people replied, “Yes, we will do it.”

What kind of leader was Nehemiah that the people would respond to him so enthusiastically and so readily? He was a leader skilled in communication.

If you are a leader, you must be able to motivate and inspire others to action.

Here is how God used Nehemiah, and how He can use us to communicate His vision:

  1. Speak Truthfully about the Problem

Nehemiah was straightforward about the problem: “We are in deep trouble. You know it; I know it. I’ve looked at the walls myself.”

Sometimes the situation calls for an outsider to come in and show us precisely what the real problem is. The Jews in Jerusalem had been walking over these ruins for years – staggering through them, sloshing through the debris, the dirt, the filth, and the reproach. They had been living in this mess for 90 years but doing nothing about it.

It required a man from the outside, with a vision and heart for God, to come in and exclaim, “We can’t go on like this.”

It is going to take this type of vision and leadership to make a difference in our world today. It is going to take leaders called by God and armed with truth to shake us from our lethargy as we look at the burned gates and the ruins around us.

Like the Israelites, we are also in dire trouble. There is lawlessness everywhere. Shootings, stabbings, robberies, and assaults have escalated to the extent that the average citizen must live behind locked doors and security systems. The walls are down.

But what is going to shake us? Who can move us when our world is enthralled with materialism, enticed by immorality, and misled by false teachers?

Nehemiah was not afraid to speak truthfully about the problems he faced. A man on a mission is impossible to stop when that mission comes from God!

People believe in you when you have passion and credibility. When you’re a person of prayer, people will see that your mission is not about you, but it is about the glory of God. That’s why they believed and followed Nehemiah.

  1. Identify with the People

As Nehemiah communicated God’s vision, he also identified with the people. He declared, “We’ve got to do something,” not, “You’ve got to do something.” He didn’t say, “Get to work. I’ll be in my office if you need me.”

A leader must be able to identify the problem and be able to identify with the people.

The apostle Paul recognized this principle of leadership. While he made statements such as “imitate me,” if people were to follow, he would have to set the example and lead the way. He advised the believers, “Imitate and follow me as I follow Christ.” Paul pulled no punches when he said: “Brethren, join in following my example, and overserve those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Philippians 3:17, NASB).

Set the example. This is authentic leadership.

  1. Live Solely for God’s Glory

In Nehemiah 2:17, Nehemiah said, in essence, “Enough of this embarrassment. The kingdom is in reproach. God’s name is in disrepute.” He cared more about the glory of God than personal comfort of convenience.

So what qualifies us for the type of leadership that is displayed by Nehemiah? In the next verse (Nehemiah 2:18), he shares the answer: “And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good.” Nehemiah was doing what God had called him to do. God’s clear call was his resume.

Nehemiah wasn’t qualified because of his education or a diploma hanging on his office wall. He was qualified because he was concerned, first and foremost, for the glory of God. The Spirit and hand of God were upon him. We follow leaders we respect, and the people of Israel respected and followed Nehemiah.

Do people respect and follow you? As leaders, we must communicate God’s vision. As Solomon writes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country. Connect with Dr. Graham on Twitter @jackngraham.

This article was originally published in “You Can Make a Difference” by Dr. Jack Graham. If you are interested in receiving a free copy of “You Can Make a Difference,” please contact Jack Raymond at jraymond@prestonwood.org.

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