In a recent issue of Rev magazine (Nov/Dec 2006), Rick Warren outlined six principles to guide leaders in completing successful projects, whether that project is starting a new church, creating a new ministry, etc. In doing so, he turned to the example of Nehemiah and his “monster project” of rebuilding Jerusalem ’s wall.
- The principle of simplification – Keeping his plan simple, Nehemiah organized work teams around natural groupings of people who were already associated together. “The point is – don’t create an organization if you don’t need it.” Note: We already have groupings such as these in many of our churches – they’re called Sunday School classes!
- The principle of participation – Nehemiah sought to get everybody involved in the project. But, as with any group effort, there will be those unwilling to go to work (the people of Tekoa – Nehemiah 3:5). Nehemiah didn’t fret or waste time attempting to enlist these shirkers. He simply worked with those who were willing.
- The principle of delegation – In our churches, we often assume people know what to do. But, good delegation involves more than simply outlining the big picture. As Nehemiah modeled for us, we need to understand what the steps required for the task to be completed. And, we need to know what persons are gifted and called to do.
- The principle of motivation – Nehemiah recognized the wisdom of having persons work on that section of the wall nearest their homes. By doing so, he gave the people ownership of the project. The people were allowed to work in areas most convenient and where they were most interested.
- The principle of administration – Even with good delegation, supervision and clear lines of authority are a must. Nehemiah didn’t just tell the people what to do; he continued to oversee the project by what Tom Peters calls MBWA – Management By Walking Around. He knew what was happening.The principle of appreciation – When completed, Nehemiah and the people celebrated. But, it’s interesting to note, that Nehemiah recognized the people by name in his book. Do we know who is doing a good job in our church? Do we tell them?
An excerpt from the Southwest Virginia Christian Leadership Network Newsletter.