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Rallying the Troops: A Closer Look at Leadership

Updated: Apr 4

By Andrena Sawyer

I've been going through the book of Nehemiah during my morning devotions. For some time, I have been intrigued by the story, because besides the creation account in Genesis, I believe Nehemiah gives one of the best biblical illustrations of strategic planning for Christian entrepreneurs.  

After spending a few days on the first few chapters, I finally made my way to chapter 3, but a few verses in, I was tempted to skip the whole thing. I may be alone, and if so, please reserve judgment, but I've struggled with biblical genealogical records. The names are difficult to pronounce, the themes are not always obvious, and, if I’m honest, sometimes they’re a little boring to read (please don’t take out the guillotine). And while chapter 3 is not a genealogical record, it contains a list of names that elicited the same feeling. Thankfully, I kept reading, because I came across one of the most practical revelations I've had in a while.

By the time I got to verse 8, "...and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers made repairs...," I knew I'd missed something critical and had to go back to the beginning. This time around, I read with much more focus. I noticed that verse 12 mentioned daughters working alongside their fathers, verse 26 mentioned the temple servants, and it ends with verse 32, "...the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs."

​Notice a theme? Neither did I, initially. What I almost missed by skipping a single chapter is a key component of leadership – the ability to rally unlikely people together for a common cause. How can a cupbearer lead perfume-makers, servants, goldsmiths and merchants to effectively work alongside skilled construction workers? 

The story of Nehemiah shows a familiar formula in the Christian experience. Step 1: There is a need. Step 2: God intervenes and raises up a leader. Step 3: Opposition comes. Step 4: God increases faith. Step 5: God's people win.

It's an age-old story, but it should give believers great peace and joy. However, most of us miss some of the most critical lessons during steps 3 and 4 because we've lost sight of steps 1, 2 and 5. For Nehemiah, the call was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Step 2, therefore, required much more than he had…alone.

Like Nehemiah in chapter 3, good leaders are able to enlist the help of the most unlikely workers to build capacity in order to complete the mission. God gives the provision, and He allows us the privilege of being stewards of it. As leaders, sometimes the provision isn't obvious. For example, it takes patience to bring out the best in that intern that needs more training than you think you have time for, or to see the good in the in-kind gift that you secretly resent because you'd rather get the financial contribution. Sometimes it does not all make sense, but effective leadership requires that we cast the vision well, rally the troops, however unlikely they may be, in order to get the work done. 


About the Author:

Andrena is the Founder of the Minority Christian Women Entrepreneurs Network - a faith-based initiative for women in business. 

She is also the author of several books including The Misadventures of a New Entrepreneur, and The Long Way Home. Follow her online @ Andrena_Sawyer.


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