The following are some notes I took from Pastor Mark’s teaching on Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah:

Pastor Mark Driscoll

As we are living for the Kingdom of God, we need to know what it is going to look like at the second coming of Jesus, it is going to look like a city. We should look at our church and ministry as city building. Creation started in a rural, garden paradise and moves towards a city paradise. Cities are marked by density and diversity. We are to be the city within the city, a counter-cultural city looking forward to God’s coming kingdom. Matthew 5:14, “you are a city on a hill.” We are a city ruled by Jesus living as ambassadors to the world. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord,” Jeremiah 29:4-9. God brought Israel there to be the city within the city. The goal is just to take care of our own but to be a blessing to the whole city. As Abraham was called to be a blessing to all people, we too should be a blessing to all. If the city does well, the church will also be blessed. Build a counter-cultural city within the city that helps the city. In order to do this we cannot have an under realized eschatology because we will think the rapture is coming today and not live on mission. We also should not have an over realized eschatology which leads us to think the kingdom of God is here now and all we need to do is live. Ministry is not just about running a church, but it is about building a city. Christians need to understand that they are ambassadors and representatives of a different kingdom, God’s kingdom. This changes how people think about life in their culture. We do things different in the city within the city, we live life differently in the city within the city.
This ties into Nehemiah because the book is not just about leadership but about building a city within a city. People think about Nehemiah as building a wall, which it is, but it is about more. The purpose of the wall is to give the people a place to live as the city within the city. The wall is built, then the people move in and that is the real work, doing life and church. We have a lot to learn about church from men like Nehemiah and Jeremiah. The church should live in theological harmony together. Nehemiah constructs walls then gates.
The gates are like doors to the church, they keep people safe by letting the right people in and keeping the wrong people out. The wall is not secretarian, but it does make a distinction between God’s people and those who are not.
The person of Nehemiah is confident. He is not arrogant, but he is confident and church leaders need to know how to step up and be courageous. Every decision will be met with opposition but leaders cannot let this opposition keep them from staying on mission. The vast majority of pastors and church planters do not lack vision or understanding, but they are not confident. Jesus was the most humble man who ever lived (Phil 2) but he was also very confident. We are often driven by a fear or man and in the name of humility we actually operate in cowardice and fear, which is motivated by pride because we want everyone to like us.
Nehemiah has a deep prayer life. He prays repeatedly throughout the book. He prays in advance and asks for wisdom. He has had an ongoing relationship and dialogue with God.

To be continued…