Leadership 51

Last week we dealt with several of the points of opposition faced by Nehemiah. In Chapter 2, we see how he dealt with derision. In Chapter 4, he had to work through personal and group discouragement as well as dangerous threats to his safety. And then in Chapter 5, he had to confront division. Each of these “deadly D’s” will accompany the leader’s path as changes are made and progress is happening.

In conversations I have been a part of with high-performing, leadership people, all of the “D”s will come up at some point in the story. But most will agree that maintaining unity and harmony is the greatest challenge to face. Division happens behind the wall. It happens from the lips and rumors and even out and out lies that come from “friendly fire;” those who should be on your side!

We need to be careful when dealing with division in our system – our church, company, start-up or nonprofit – that unity stays the central message. Ephesians 4:3 tells us that we are to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” That implies some important things:

  1. Unity is a given when anything begins. Unity is the product of people thinking together toward the same goal. It is a natural, harmonic, organic thing. It is a living thing. It can be nurtured and will grow stronger or neglected and wither.
  2. Unity is ours to lose. Again, at its inception, any organization begins with unity. That is not to say things are uniform… it means we are all moving in the same direction toward the same goal at the same time; bringing all of our diverse talents, experiences, thoughts and gifts to bear on the ultimate goal.
  3. Unity is everyone’s responsibility… not just the leader’s. If a church loses unity, that may or more possibly may not be the fault of the leader. The gift of unity belongs to everyone, therefore everyone must guard it at all costs. No entity, no organization, no system survives with the cancer of division running amuck.

Reality says, “To dwell above with saints we love, oh that will be glory! To dwell below with saints we know, well, that’s another story!”

How much better the Psalmist who said,

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.”


FOR MEDITATION: Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.                      Ephesians 4:3 NIV

FOR REFLECTION: Does you attitude, thinking and speech move the church body you are part of toward unity… or division?

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