It Takes a Team

In Sermon Ideas by Rachel Schultz

It Takes a Team


Key Thought: Effective spiritual leaders move people out of isolation into community. They help people get beyond themselves. They connect them with a team. Together they embrace the challenge and get the job done.

Scripture: Nehemiah 3

Idea: Nehemiah was a leader who recognized the importance of everyone working together. He pulled the people together and motivated them to restore Jerusalem. He organized them into taskforce groups – each with a leader and each with clearly defined job descriptions. He stirred their passions. He motivated their hearts. And the people pressed together with a remarkable esprit de corps to rebuild the wall.

Story: Nehemiah showcases teamwork in the Jerusalem urban renewal program by taking us on a tour around the city wall. At the Sheep Gate we meet Eliashib and a team of priests who set the pace for all the other groups, knowing that when their light burns brightly, a thousand torches will be lit by that sacred flame. At the Fish Gate we meet a group of men from the suburb of Tekoa who not only have to commute to work, they have to pull double duty because their officials at city hall are too lazy to be bothered.

At the Old Gate we meet three teams of workers: the perfumers and goldsmiths who are used to light, delicate work, do their part in the heavy lifting of this project; the dignitaries of Jerusalem with fat wallets and power that could operate by proxy, but choose to get personally involved; and the lovely daughters of Shallum who pull weeds, haul rocks, and mix mortar just as well as the men.

At the Valley Gate we meet men from the village of Zanoah, which is 13 miles west of Jerusalem. At the Refuse Gate, the mayor from Beth Haccerem works hard to clean up a smelly, dirty place.

At the Fountain Gate there is still another crew working to restore the glory of this historic water channel. At the Water Gate another team of temple priests and men from Tekoa expand a stretch of the wall. At the Horse Gate is still another group of priests hard at work.  At the East Gate and Inspection Gate teams of people work hard to clean out the wreckage and rebuild.

Five leadership lessons emerge from this story:

1. Effective leaders run a well-coordinated operation. They have a game plan, they take advantage of natural conveniences, and they know how to break big jobs into manageable pieces.
2. Effective leaders know how to bring all kinds of people together in the service of God.
3. Effective leaders are not afraid of hard work. Christianity is not a religion for lazy people. Prayer will move mountains, but elbow grease will make the machinery of ministry hum.
4. Effective leaders are into affirmative action. They are generous with compliments, praise, and words of appreciation for a job well done.
5. Effective leaders finish the job. They get the team together and hold them together until the job is done.


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