I’ve just finished reading Nehemiah again. The final part, describing how Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem and finds that people have returned to their old ways, turned away from good things he put in place and ignored his good teaching, is rather heartbreaking.
Why did this happen? Was Nehemiah a good leader? I’m sure he was. Did he (and others) teach good stuff? I’m sure they did. What was the problem then? I would venture to say that the good direction the people had been given and the good teaching the people had heard did not, in too many cases, actually get into their hearts.
So with the Church today, do we think that good leaders giving a good example, and good teachers teaching solid Bible-based stuff, is enough to make sure the people in the Church keep following Jesus and doing his will?
If the example and the teaching never makes the transfer into people’s hearts, then no, it is absolutely not enough.
Too often leaders and teachers think that just talking at people will do the job. It won’t. I’m as guilty as anyone, having done my share of leading and teaching over the years.
Maybe we all need to talk at people rather less and share our lives and hearts with them rather more. Maybe we need to think an awful lot less about actions that are designed to make students and think an awful lot more about a way of life that will succeed in making disciples.