However, there is one book, written about 425 B.C., that looms as a classic work on effective leadership; yet it is strangely obscure and virtually unknown to people of today. It was written by a man who was prominent in business and politics in the ancient Middle East. He not only possessed an exceptional personal philosophy of leadership, but he lived it out as well. In his lifetime, this gentleman rose from total obscurity to national recognition. His book bears his name: Nehemiah.

Believe it or not, what Nehemiah had to say concerning leadership speaks to the very same issues you and I face today. For example, from his book we learn—

  • how to relate to a touchy boss
  • the balance between faith in God and personal planning
  • how to handle executive discouragement
  • what to do with unwarranted criticism

In this biblical manual for potential leaders we find timeless and reliable guidelines that work. They enable us to know how to build quality characteristics in ourselves and others—the kind that are rarely seen today. These truths are not suddenly “dumped” on us, but rather they are modeled by Nehemiah as he accomplishes an incredible project against unbelievable odds.

As you get caught up in the story you will find yourself engaged in an imaginary dialogue, saying things like, “Nehemiah, you’re my kind of guy. I need the characteristics that made you successful transferred into my own life. Hand me another brick, so I might reach my full potential and become all God planned for me to be!” Before coming to the end of the story, it will amaze you how many character bricks were passed from his hands to yours.

Charles R. Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998).

I have just completed a series of lessons based on the book of Nehemiah. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year. Lessons correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines as well as the International Standard Series.