A Worker, a Waiter, or a Whiner?

In our quest to serve Denver church pastors and faith based non profit leaders, we hope to provide helpful thoughts on topics of discipleship, leadership, ministry, strategic planning, organizational capacity building, and spiritual formation.  Here are some thoughts on types of leadership…

A good leader plans for success.  A good leader doesn’t wait for someone else to ‘step up’, or criticize those that are implementing godly plans.  No, a good leader has a sensitive heart, a Spirit dependent will, and a strategic mind.  Nehemiah was a good leader – a Worker amidst Waiters and Whiners.

The book of Nehemiah exposes 3 types of reactions in the midst of opportunity, in the midst of a great movement of God.  When God is preparing to do a great work, He often surfaces a man that He will use for the task.  Are you a person of vision, a person of prayer, a person of purpose?  Are you a strategic planner like Nehemiah, looking for a God-ordained project to embrace?  Some of us are ready Workers, well positioned to be used of God.  However, some are Waiters, standing on the sidelines for years, wondering about the inactivity of God or void that someone else should fill.  Still others are Whiners, always seeing the negative in a godly project.  These well intentioned dragons spread discouragement among those who have fragile dedication and passion.

And as God had forewarned, His hand of judgment fell on all Israel because of their sin. The Babylonians brought about the fall of the Southern Kingdom in 586 b.c.  The people of the Southern Kingdom remained intact in Babylon, and after the power of Babylon was broken by the Medes and Persians in 539 b.c., many Jews returned to their homeland.  In 538 b.c. the first group returned to Judah under the leadership of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:1-2:2).   A number of years later—in 458 b.c.—a second group of Jews returned, led by Ezra (Ezra 7:1-10).    In 444 b.c., 14 years after Ezra’s return to Jerusalem, and more than 90 years after the first return under Zerubbabel, the walls of Jerusalem still remained in ruins, as the inhabitants of the city played the role of Waiters.  God then raised up Nehemiah – by first capturing his heart.

In Nehemiah 1:3 and 4, the report comes to Nehemiah that ‘”Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.’  His heart is captured as he longs for the glory of God to be restored in the great city.  He begins to bring his burden before the Lord as he fasts and prays for many days.  With God guiding him, he develops a plan that will unfold when questioned by the king.  In Nehemiah 2:4, The king inquired of Nehemiah “What is it you want?”   By the end of chapter two, Nehemiah is implementing his multi-step strategic plan that has been in the works for months.  Nehemiah was used of God to motivate the city dwellers that had been Waiters for years.  Nehemiah overcame the consistent resistance of Whiners [see chapters 4 – 6].  Nehemiah was a Worker, who had a heart for God, a vision for His glory, and a mind to develop a plan.

Implementation Questions:

  1. Is there an opportunity on the horizon that has captured your heart?
  2. Have you dedicated yourself to a season of prayer to ascertain the heart of God on the matter?
  3. Have you developed a systematic plan of action?
  4. Have you mustered the courage to share your plan with your leader?
  5. Are you ready to mobilize those on the sidelines with inspirational leadership?
  6. Can you endure and overcome resistance?

Gary – gary@servantnetwork.net

Executive Director – Servant Network

After 15 years of pastoral ministry, Gary is now assisting ministries in the area of leadership coaching, strategic planning, organizational consultation, and capital campaigns.  Gary holds 2 masters degrees.

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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One Response to A Worker, a Waiter, or a Whiner?

  1. pmershon says:

    Ouch! I see how I’ve a Worker, a Waiter and a Whiner–sometimes, all within the same day on different projects. Thanks for the reminder to model the faith and faithfulness of Nehemiah when resistance comes along. We’re all called to wait on the Lord like the watchman who waits for the morning, but when the morning comes we’re to work–and come to think of it, the watchmen is in fact “on the job” while he is waiting, so I guess even that is work if done faithfully!

    As Jesus prayed, I pray to the Lord of the Harvest that he would raise up more Workers!

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