Nehemiah 7:2 – I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.
As a leadership lesson, Nehemiah starts with a small group of leaders who will then build teams to pursue their part of the mission. As an organization grows bigger, it’s important to keep your leadership team smaller so that the entire organization stays on mission.
These leaders and working teams include:
- Gatekeepers – overseeing parts of the city as geographical leaders to care for the people in the church when they scatter throughout the week
- Singers – leading God’s people in corporate worship when they gather together
- Levites – essentially pastors and ministry leaders with trustworthy assistants who care for people, helping them mature in relationship with God and others
Overseeing these teams were two primary leaders who reported directly to Nehemiah – Hanani and Hananiah. Hananiah oversaw the security of the city and church. In a church, Hanani would be like an executive or campus pastor, and in the business world, he would be like the chief financial officer or vice president. This man was Nehemiah’s brother who had been with him from the beginning of the project (1:1-2). He was chosen because he was a godly man who had proven himself through the entire project and could be trusted to not undermine Nehemiah or be turned negative by enemies.
The leadership principle here is that the most empowered leaders must have lengthy seasons of testing before they are given the authority to lead other leaders and teams, or in the words of the New Testament be “tested and approved”.
In addition to leaders, Nehemiah also began leading through policies to govern the people and ensure their well-being. These policies included setting the times which the doors to the city could be open, setting security guards on duty, and preparing the people for growth of the city and church. As an organization grows, the leader begins to lead less through personal contact and more through appointed assistant leaders, and policies, so that things to do not bottleneck relationally at the senior leader. For some people, these changes can be difficult because they feel displaced, no longer having direct access to the senior leader, but it’s the only way to lead a growing organization.
Why do some churches/ministries struggle to make changes, get organized, deploy leaders, and invite new people so they can grow?