Follow the Leader

Sermon Series led by Dr. Dennis Wiles

I hope you are benefiting as much from listening to the sermons in my  sermon series, Follow the Leader, as I have from preparing for them and preaching them! It has already been helpful to me as I have spent so much time researching and thinking through what I really believe about leadership.


Evaluation: What is Going On?
Ezra 3:1-6; Nehemiah 1:1-4

Good leaders have a knack for figuring out what is really going on. They are not afraid to
know the truth.

Here is a fuller explanation of this principle:

1. Good leaders take the time to assess the situation.
2. Good leaders get personally involved in the evaluation process.
3. Good leaders begin a plan of action based on sound assessments.

Motivation: We Are in This Together!
Ezra 3:7-13; Nehemiah 2:11-20

Motivate – To provide with an incentive; move to action; impel.

“The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.” -Tom Landry

“There are two kinds of motivation: extrinsic motivation, which is the most common but used by fewer great leaders, and intrinsic motivation, which appeals to the internal part of a person.” -Charles Swindoll

Tips for motivation:

  1. RESOURCES – assess the availability and provision of adequate resources.
  2. IDENTIFICATION/CONNECTION – good leaders identify with followers and develop a sense of connection both with them and between them.
  3. HONESTY – good leaders are willing to face the truth.
  4. REALISTIC/PROGRESSIVE CHALLENGE – issue decisive challenges that are realistic but will lead to progress.
  5. PERSONAL ENCOURAGEMENT – testimonies help to humanize and contextualize decisive actions.

Obstacles: We Shall Overcome!
Ezra 4:4-5; Nehemiah 4:1-23

Good leaders know that obstacles are inevitable.
Good leaders must learn to deal with opposition.

“Opposition is not only an evidence that God is blessing, but it is also an opportunity for us to grow.” -Warren Wiersbe

“Opposition is almost always caused by success and not failure. The first thing we should know, if we are trying to do something worthwhile and are being opposed, is that it is because we are achieving something.” -James Montgomery Boice

Discouragement is a tool of the enemy.
Fear paralyzes and threatens the success of any endeavor.

How do good leaders face obstacles?

  1. Prayer – seeking God’s counsel and strength is pivotal.
  2. Discernment – good leaders learn to distinguish between destructive criticism and productive critique.
  3. Encouragement – good leaders can inspire people to face obstacles and persevere.
  4. Decisive action – good leaders implement plans to address and overcome obstacles on the path to success.

Resources: Show Me the Money!
Nehemiah 5:1-19

Economic downturn has affected charitable giving across the board.
Human condition continues to affect all areas of stewardship.

Leadership in Financial Crises

  1. Good leaders take the time to evaluate the situation.
  2. Good leaders control their anger.
  3. Good leaders confront offensive behavior.
  4. Good leaders execute effective action plans.
  5. Good leaders are examples of personal integrity.

Insight: Seeking Wisdom from Above!
Nehemiah 7:73b – 8:18, Isaiah 6:1-8

“Let’s face it, your average, standard bosses are a dime a dozen.  People in authority over others are found in abundance.  In every sizeable corporation, organization, or military unit, there are those who give orders and outrank the majority.  But few of them are leaders with insight, that is, perspective, wisdom, or a depth of awareness.  With that single quality at work in your leadership, you’ll be a rare find.” – Charles Swindoll

  1. Great leaders understand the importance and value of insight!
  2. For followers of Jesus, insight is connected to revelation.  We seek wisdom from God!
  3. Daily attention to God’s Word creates an atmosphere conducive for the revelation of perspective, wisdom – or insight!
  4. Patience, disciplined effort and obedience are attributes associated with insightful leaders.

Commitment: Follow Through
Nehemiah 10:1-39

“Clear, simple goals don’t mean much if nobody takes them seriously. The failure to follow through is widespread in business, and a major cause of poor execution”. -Ram Charan

Text: Nehemiah 9:38
The discipline of putting our intentions in writing often brings clarity and focus to our actions.

Text: Nehemiah 10:28-29
Submission to the authority of God’s Word is an essential ingredient to the success of leaders who are following Jesus.

Text: Nehemiah 10:30-31
Devotion to God is measured in following through in everyday life.

Text: Nehemiah 10:32-39
Our worship life must remain a priority if our entire lives are to be ordered properly.