Nehemiah, the development worker
Nehemiah is one of the men of the Bible whose working methods must inspire every Christian development worker. As we read the book of Nehemiah, we can learn much to improve our own work strategy to obtain better results. If possible, try to read the whole book before making this study.
Chapter 1:1-11 Prayer. We must ask for God's help before undertaking any development work (Proverbs 16:1-3, Psalms 127:1)
Chapter 2:1-8 Nehemiah sought permission from the King before beginning work. The development worker must not disregard people in authority such as the chief, community leaders or local government of the State.
Chapter 2:11-15 Listen to and observe the situation before taking action. Nehemiah began by looking and he certainly listened to his fellow countrymen before doing anything. It takes time for a development worker to be accepted by the community.
Chapter 2:16-18 Make use of meetings. The development worker doesn't see problems in the same way as local people. Nehemiah brought his fellow countrymen together so that they could understand what he saw. A meeting helps all those concerned to identify their problems and to recommend solutions.
Chapter 3 The community must participate. Sound development must eventually become truly self-supporting and independent. This is the aim of community development. People who are confronted by misery organise themselves and set to work.
Chapter 4:7-15 Even when confronted by the attacks of his enemies, Nehemiah didn't stop work. He worked on with courage, perseverance and self-control. Development work must not be abandoned unfinished, no matter what price has to be paid. Development work is difficult and long-term.
Chapter 7:1-2 The work must be followed up. Measures were taken for the protection of the walls. If we do not think about the follow up or maintenance, some time later the work will collapse.
Chapter 7:73-8:8 We should plan for a time of prayer and praise at the end of the project, in order to thank the Lord for his working with us in our task.
Dangako Wango is Director of BDC/CBZN, Bangassou, Central African Republic, and teaches at FATEB on the Church and development.