Friday, October 11, 2013

Building a Community

Our text for this second Sunday of looking at Nehemiah and faithful leadership is Nehemiah 2:1-18, which can be read here:

In this week's portion of Nehemiah's story, Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and begins to work on building the community he will need in order to get the walls of Jerusalem built. But what sort of team should Nehemiah assemble for this monumental task? What will exercising leadership as a united community rather than just as a collection of individuals look like?

When asked, “What makes teams successful?,” a survey of American workers done by Training and Development magazine found that 33% said getting along; 29% said listening; 21% said setting priorities; 6% said feeling recognized; 6% said having everyone agree; and 4% said deciding who's in charge (from Teamwork in the American Workplace, Dale Carnegie & Associates (Training and Development, January 1996 - Pp. 15 – 16)).  Think for a moment: when have you been part of a group where at least one of these things was true?  What was working as part of that team like? Are there other things you would add to this list as vital?

Then, I invite you to think about the different places where you exercise leadership—at home, church, work, in community groups.  How do the teams you work as part of function differently in these different places? Are there things that you think make the way we function as faith communities different than how we function in other communities--or that you think should make our faith-based communities function differently? If so, what are they?

Post your thoughts here--I would love to hear them this week as we consider how, before we can begin to build a wall, we must first invest in building the community that will make it possible--a community, as the book of Ephesians put it, that is rooted and grounded in love, and in a God who can do more through us than we can ever individually dream or imagine (Ephesians 3:18-21).

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