Who was Nehemiah and why he is a role model for us?
We chose the name Proyecto Nehemías -Nehemiah Project- for a variety of reasons. Nehemiah was a layman rather than a priest. In Proyecto Nehemías we seek to see the key tenets of the Reformation taught, put in practice and then taught to others. One of these tenets of the Reformers was the notion of “the priesthood of all believers,” which was very much emphasized by Martin Luther in particular. What this means in practical terms is that all Christians have a role to play in ministry at some level. Just because Nehemiah wasn’t part of the priestly class did he excuse himself from being of any practical benefit to the people of God. It was actually just the opposite. He held a position of prestige in the king’s court and could have easily resigned himself to a life of relative comfort. God was actually able to use Nehemiah the way he did because of his position in “secular” society rather than in spite of it.
Nehemiah was also a man of prayer as revealed throughout the book in the Bible that bears his name. We encourage all believers to make prayer a priority in all they do. Nehemiah also knew the importance of explaining the meaning of Scripture to God’s people, which in effect, has to do with teaching them theology. He enlisted the help of the scribe Ezra for this purpose.
Theology can be defined as “the application of God’s Word by persons to all areas of human life.” Rather than something dry and purely academic, theology is practical, personal, comprehensive (covering all areas of life), pastoral, intellectual, volitional and emotional. Nehemiah addressed the issues the people of God faced in his day. It is interesting that some of these, such as unsustainable levels of personal indebtedness continue to be a serious problems in the church today.
Theology is also for all the people of God, not just pastors and missionaries. That said, one of our primary tasks is creating quality theological materials in the Reformed tradition and in particular in Spanish, as that’s primarily where our ministry activities take place.
Finally, Nehemiah knew how to get people from a wide variety of backgrounds involved in God’s work. We want to see the people of God have access to quality theological training in order that they then inform all they do in their families, places of work and in Christian service based on solid theological foundations.