“Sustaining Leadership Practices for Church Growth in Cambodia” / Part 11 /

1.1             3.2. Leading

In term of ministry leadership, leading is engaged to the communication between leaders and followers. It does not make sense that leader can lead without followers. Therefore, followers are also important for all leaders. In case, leaders are effective managers, then their juniors will be inspired about the effort in order to accomplish the task objectives. Somehow, Nehemiah was count in among the smartest leaders, for he knew how to devise his plan, good communication with people, and was able to the leader.

Communication with people

Leaders are being able to make communication with different kind of people, are the potential leaders. Leaders can bring out their plans and share them effectively in the appropriate of time. In communication, skill is required the same technique. For instance, Nehemiah chose good timing to meet and communicate with the king. "Nehemiah chose an appropriate day to present his plan to the king both in terms of personal convenience and political expediency (1:11). Several recent revolts with Egypt and Athens in the west had convinced the military establishment of Persia of the need for increased strength in the area. Especially, what the king needed was a refortified Jerusalem, reputed to be 'one of the strongest fortresses in Western Asia', and a loyal and capable governor like Nehemiah to plan the procedure"  Surely, the connection between king and the Nehemiah was good, because Nehemiah was always stayed close to the king and gained the trust from him. In this relationship, as Nehemiah shared his petition, request and concern to the king, Nehemiah successfully got the approval to his suggestions, received the diplomatic support and as well as the construction tools.
 On the other hand, Nehemiah is also a good communicator with other people.  As recorded, after his investigation trip around the Jerusalem city, Nehemiah shared his plan to the people. He tried to present it from the perspective of the people there, "You see the trouble we are in ...Come, let us rebuild the wall....we will no longer be in non grace"  it was how he had focus on or got the communication terminal with people. Here, Nehemiah wanted to present that the project does not belong to him alone but to all of them. He made people feel a sense of belonging. In addition, he can also foster the cooperation with people well and hence one group was working "next to"another group had no conflicts. The reason for having harmonious communication; maybe Nehemiah led by example. In another way round, Nehemiah was leading by action not just by words.

As mentioned above, the construction tasks are engaged with people from different identities, capabilities, interests and background. No matter how diversified the people were, but Nehemiah still made a good communication with them all; that’s why people were willing to submit to his leadership. Therefore, they could join hands to work together as a team and shared one plan or purpose in common - to build the walls of Jerusalem again. One of the notices, if we read from the process of their constructions, we could learn that at one time, they were almost to give up their works because of the challenge and opposition they faced; however, they have changed their minds and decisions while they saw the commitment of Nehemiah showed in his leadership. Management and leadership skills really count the success of a leader, but the heart and passion of a leader will influence the people around him whether they are willing to follow him/her or not. The trust of Nehemiah to the people also made his followers willing to stay under his leadership.

During the communication process both to the king and to the people, Nehemiah could pass the message clearly to them all. He conveys his message to the audience face to face and also his interpersonal warmth facilitates the message received. For example, when he shared his mission with the Israelite, he shared from their perspective. He also used some encouraging words like "Come, let us build the wall.." (2:17b) and their reply also gave the positive feedback to Nehemiah, "Let us start rebuilding" (2:18b). Clearly communicate also one of the critical factors of having the success of the project.

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