Leadership Principles: Moses and Nehemiah


This essay primarily delineates on two leadership stories from scriptures in order to teach leadership principles useful to the leadership in the 21st century church ministry. The leadership stories of Moses and Nehemiah clearly indicate the character of the servant hood leadership. The both leaders operated from the principles of leadership encapsulated in their philosophy of leadership as both approached leadership in dealing with crises situations in respective of the various unfolding that served as impediments to test the essence of their characters and abilities as leaders. Despite of the various confrontations the both leaders encountered, they stood faithfully depending on their God who delivered them and their followers that stand out today in this generation for Christian leaders to emulate their examples as they are placed in various capacities in the church to lead.

            The next leadership story explains the early conversion and growth of the visionary, the call to ministry and its assessment, the resume of ministry’s positions held, and academic and professionalism. The story unfolds the faithfulness and dedication of the visionary during these years of tenure in the ministry. The story is told not with the intent to take glory; however, the story is told with the intent to inform the reader that growth is the process and it takes humility, dedication or commitment to grow spiritually as the leader. It does not happen overnight as some people think. It is also told to inspire leaders and to inform them that God is still working on us as leaders.

            The last discussion in this paper centers and focuses on the analyses and critiques of nine leadership books that leaders can learn from. In the analyses and critiques, there are suggestions or recommendations given to leaders that could be adopted in their leadership styles as they lead their organizations or ministries.



Every leader whether consciously or unconsciously is guided by a philosophy of leadership. Such philosophy of leadership resonates with certain principles of leaderships that guide the individual’s behavior impacting the character or the morality of the potential leader. These principles of leaderships control how the individual relates to God in Christian leadership and those he leads in term of listening to wise counsel, taking appropriate action, taking responsibility and responding to accountability in the leadership scene. Such principles of leadership that guide the leader’s behavior tends to protect or to unprotect the vision of the leader that broadens the directions the visionary and his followers take to meet the specific goal within the corporate vision for the mission of the organization. Such organizational vision leads to the way to get there while the mission is the target to get the job done. In this light, every leader is guided by the principle or principles of life to impress his followers to continually believing, trusting, and following him in the time of sunshine or rainfall. No one wants to follow a leader whom one does not trust as the result of the lack of attributes mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.

            Among biblical leaderships in scriptures, Moses is one of the leaders that was guided by a philosophy of leadership that resonated with certain leadership principles of a good leader. Scriptural texts will be used in this discourse to synthesize, to assess, and to verify his model of leadership that every potential servant leader should emulate in order to make positive impact to his generation. Moses is the perfect example of a good leadership model as the result of being shaped and designed by the divine to be a good leadership life model for Christian leader to follow in this generation and the generation to come.

Synthesis And Analysis

The story of Moses with relative to his growing up in Egypt in reference to his leadership comes in stages with respect to events unfolding. As Moses grew up in Egypt after having been into the King’s palace as the Son of the King’s daughter, he took the law in his hand by killing one of the Egyptians because he felt that his people were being maltreated. After this incidence, he fled and sought refuge in Midian after having been accused by one of the Hebrews of killing an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11–13). This incidence indicates that when a leader does something wrong morally, his ability to lead is overshadowed and therefore prevents him of becoming an effective leader. When a leader’s action is not in alignment of what he says, people will not follow his directives or vision; therefore, effective leaders should be free from moral corruption in order to make positive impact. People will follow a leader based on his morality that guides his integrity in society; nevertheless, every leader makes mistakes; however, leader’s weaknesses should not be used as the license to sin against God and society as the result of the depraved nature of humility. Know as the leader, you are held in high esteem; therefore, leaders are advised to do their best in leading because what leaders do live after them forever.

            After Moses fled Egypt, he became a tender for the flock of his father-n-law, Jethro. While tending the flock, God appeared to Moses through the burning bush and spoke to him concerning his mission to deliver the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt (Exodus 3:1–2). This event indicates that God can approach his future leader anywhere and at anytime to address issues he wants done. It calls a leader to be sensitive to the voice of God audibly or intuitively. Someone says that the voice of the people can sometimes be the voice of God. Leaders need to be sensitive to his surrounding to enable him make sound decision. Sensitivity is the key to a discerning heart.

            During the conversation between God and Moses, Moses felt incompetent to lead the children of Israel out of slavery due to his known inability to lead. He felt that he was not worthy to carry out the task. In instances, God calls us to lead; decisively, we feel incapacitated to lead as the result of our weaknesses (Exodus 3:11–12). In leadership, it is good to admit one’s inadequacy to lead because it enables the leader to depend on God in leading and not becoming egoistic. Despite of Moses’ inadequacy to lead, God chose him to lead. God will choose a leader to lead event if the individual is not competent to lead as the result of his sovereignty. If God chooses an individual to lead, he will empower him with the necessary resources to lead successfully.

            Moses took the task to lead the children of Israel; therefore, this big task was imminent and should be inherited by Moses at all cost. Moses should be prepared to face the unknown as he leads the children of Israel out of captivity. Moses admonished the people to have faith in God despite of being pursued by enemy forces on every side (Exodus 14:13–15). In leadership, the leader should show strong faith in God. Faith was not sufficient and it required the people to move onward instead of being static potentially speaking. God told Moses to tell the people to move and not being afraid of the Egyptians. The Egyptians were armed with weapons to annihilate; therefore, there was a tendency to not move on as the result of being afraid to be killed. Leaders can be afraid of failures when it comes to ministry’s endeavor. This can hamper leaders’ ability to move on in doing ministry. Leaders must have faith in God. Strong faith in God followed by action is a quality of an effective leadership. Leader should lead by being to the front. Every leader should take the lead in every aspect of ministry’s works. It can be a time of physical work, giving, representation and many more.

            During the event of being pursued, God eventually delivered the children of Israel from their enemies through the miraculous power of God in demonstration (Exodus 14:31). When leaders stand and trust God in the face of provocation and deliverance is assured, the followers will believe in the leader at all cost. Effective outcomes of leadership allow the followers to have confidence in their leader. Every leader should know that he is the conduit that God is going to use to deliver, to heal, and to deliver other services that advocate the growth of humanity. Where are the deliverance and healing ministries? Why miracles rarely happen in our time? Has God changed? God has not changed. If leaders can believe in God and do the right things, they will eventually communicate wondrous power of God in this generation. It takes commitment and dedication to doing what God wants done.

            After this incidence, Moses and the people of Israel travelled through the desert for three days without finding any water. They arrived at the Oasis; unfortunately, they could not drink the water because it was bitter; eventually, the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink,”? The people asked Moses. They demanded of him to provide them water. Moses cried out to the Lord for help. The Lord told Moses to throw a piece of wood into the water which he did. After the piece of wood was thrown into the water, the water became fit for drinking. In leadership, people will always look up to the leader for help; therefore, the leader should make provision even if he is not the creation of the existing problems. Leaders should be willing to take the blame and accept complaints from the masses. He must be self-sacrificing leader to solve the uncommon existing problems at all times (Exodus 15:22–25).

            After the Israelites had had a drink, Moses went out to meet the father-in-law, Jethro. He bowed down and kissed him. He narrated to Jethro how the Lord had helped and delivered Israel from Egypt. Jethro praised the Lord along with Moses. In leadership, it is necessary for a leader to have a close relationship with someone who gives commendation and wise counsel to the leader for encouragement and guidance (Exodus 18:7–10). No man is an island; therefore, every successful leader has a mentor. There is a leader’s leader.

            Moses having inherited the task to deliver the children of Israel had an enormous task before him to deliver administrative services to the Israelites. He had the responsibility to settle disputes among million of people that have been delivered from Egypt. It was stressful and impossible to do this assignment alone; therefore, Jethro having seen and discerned this great task before Moses, advised him to dedicate responsibilities to others so that they could discharge those duties. In his response to the counsel, Moses appointed leaders over one thousand, hundred, fifty, and ten to judge minor cases among the people as instructed by Jethro. Only difficult cases were brought to Moses. Moses did not interrupt his father-in-law when he was advised or instructed. He patiently and respectfully paid attention to Jethro’s wise counsel. Good servant leader honors, respects, listens, and takes good counsel from others. In short, servant leader should be humble (Exodus 18:17–24). Leaders who do well are teachable. Being teachable is the tendency of willingness to learn new ways of doing things and that the individual follows what he learns.

            Moses knew that he could not succeed in his leadership if he had not taught the people the law of God; therefore, he admonished the Israelites to obey God’s law (Deut. 4:1–3, 5–6). Godly or servant leaders have the responsibility to urge people to live obediently and faithfully before God. Godly leaders should place emphasis on holy living. Leaders will not succeed in leading the people if the attributes of God are ignored in their sermons or messages that demand Christian living as Christ like individual. How many Christian leaders in our generation that place emphasis on holy living?

            It is recorded in scriptures that Moses wrote the entire body of instructions in a book and gave it to the priests, who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and to the elders of Israel (Deut. 31:9). It is the responsibility of the Christian leader to take every step to make sure that people are faithful and obedient to God’s doctrine. It compels the spiritual leader to put the teaching in various forms. Video, audio, and written media are recommended so that people can retrieve them anywhere and at any time. Leaders who communicate through these media can help people increase their knowledge about God and stand doctrinally prepared to move to another level of knowledge and spirituality.

            In summation, good servant leader is guided by principles that guide the leader’s behavior in shaping his character for the betterment of the leader, his followers, the organization, and the community he serves.


Every leader has specific burden placed on him to be useful in the process of deliverance; in this light, Nehemiah is a contemporary of deliverance. Nehemiah being a cupbearer for the King heard that the remnants of Israel who survived the exile were in distress and disgrace as the result of the city wall of Jerusalem being broken or burned down to rubble and the enslavement of their daughters, sons, and taxation leveled against them; therefore, Nehemiah’s countenance fell because he had the burden to go and to rebuild the broken wall of Jerusalem. In this regard, he prayed to God for the King to grant him permission to go and to rebuild Jerusalem. Upon his arrival to the King after having prayed, the King observed that Nehemiah’s face had a sad countenance; therefore, the King demanded him to explain the situation he faced at the time as the result of the sad appearance. In response, Nehemiah requested that the King should allow him to go and to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem where his ancestors belong. He further asked that the King should send letters to the Governor and Asaph to render good conduct to him and to offer him timbers useful for the rebuilding of the wall respectively. King Artaxerxes therefore sent Nehemiah to the Governor and Asaph to aid him as requested. When Sanballat and Tobiah heard about this, they were disturbed that someone has come to act in the welfare of the Israelites.

            Upon the arrival of Nehemiah in Jerusalem, he went every part of the city wall to do thoroughly inspection to see the level of the damage cause to the city. After the examination of the city wall, Nehemiah encouraged his fellow Israelites to rebuild the broken wall of Jerusalem. They all favorably responded to the call and began to rebuild the wall. When the job has started, the Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed Nehemiah and the Israelites. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

            At the commencement of the rebuilding of the city wall, every family member had specific task to carry out within the section of the broken walls. Each family chose what she was able to do with respect to the rebuilding of the wall. These families divided themselves naturally according to their talents, skills, or abilities in repairing certain parts of the city broken walls. There was collaborative effort in the rebuilding of the city walls. The Sanballat and the Tobiah had not given out in ridiculing the Jews concerning the rebuilding of the wall. After having ridiculed them and seem that it did not stop the Jews from the rebuilding of the wall, they conspired against the Jews in order to attack and to kill them. When Nehemiah and the Jews learned about this threat, Nehemiah allowed half of the people to work while half kept security throughout holding their weapons to defend themselves should in case they were attacked. The people used team work based on distribution of labor to counteract the opposition in the workplace.

            After having built the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah had huge task to reckon with. The poor were crying concerning how they have been charged interest, taxes, and among others by their own people; in this light, their vineyards or fields were being taken by others and their sons and daughters being enslaved. This made Nehemiah to convene a meeting in order to confront those involved in such inhuman conduct. He asked the people to return everything to the poor with reference to taxes and interest charged on items used by the poor. He described them to be ungodly based on their actions.

            After Nehemiah having confronted his people concerning how they have treated their own Israelites, opposition from the enemy forces with regards to the rebuilding of the city walls continued. In this regard, Sanballat and Geshem sent message to Nehemiah asking him to meet them in the village. The message was sent four times; however, Nehemiah refused to go because they wanted to harm him. Since he could not go, Sanballat sent his aide to him with a message with an unsealed letter accusing him of plotting to over throw the King of Jerusalem in order to become the King of the Jews. This message was a fake allegation and had no magnitude; therefore, Nehemiah ignored it. When he had tried to catch Nehemiah, but not avail, he hired Shemaiah to give false prophecy to Nehemiah so that if Nehemiah has responded to the prophecy to enter indoor with Shemaiah, Sanballat would kill Nehemiah; fortunately, Nehemiah discerned the deceptive spirit from him and refused the offer.

            Despite of the consistent oppositions against the rebuilding of the city wall, the completion of the wall came to a realization. This made the surrounding nations to be afraid and to lose their self-confidence because they knew that the work had been done as the result of God’s intervention considering the various threats that have been posed to the project and its people. Nehemiah and his partners in progress would have been killed if God had not intervened.

            In leadership, opposition is inevitable; therefore, every leader should be prepared to face opposition in leading and carrying out certain objectives to meet specific goal. The secret of overcoming opposition is to be with God because He will give the leader the resilience to withstand trials, the patient to endure hardship, the conviction to remain faithful in the time of difficulty, the discerning to discover the diabolic plans of the enemy, and the humility to remain undefeated.