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Leadership Part 4 – Choosing Leaders

Part four in a series about developing leadership potential in students

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider people whom God chose as leaders in the Bible.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the students to call out some of the qualities of leadership that have been identified in the previous assemblies. (See previous assemblies in this series, especially ‘Leadership Part 1 – Qualities’, available at:

  2. Explain that today, we will be listening to information about great leaders in the Bible. Ask the students to listen out for leadership qualities that have been noted before and also to see if they can identify any other leadership qualities.

    Narrator 1: My name is Moses. I was born to poor Jewish parents, but was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought up in Egypt. There, I killed an Egyptian and had to flee the country. God caught up with me and I had an encounter with him at a burning bush. He commissioned me to ask Pharaoh to release all the Jewish people who were being held as slaves. I didn’t want the job. I was scared. I told him, ‘But I don’t speak well. I’ve got a stutter!’

    However, God gave me the strength to go before Pharaoh many times to ask for the release of the Jews. There were some very hairy moments! Eventually, I led an exodus of 600,000 people from Egypt. We all witnessed the miraculous parting of the Red Sea before us. God had promised us a land of our own and now he was leading us there.

    It wasn’t long before there was grumbling and complaining. The Israelites were an awkward lot! What’s more, they were very disobedient, worshipping gold idols and not trusting in God. God was angry with them and, as a result, we had to wander in the desert for 40 years. Although my job was tough and frustrating, I learned to rely on God at all times. I witnessed how powerful God was.

    Which leadership qualities did Moses display?

  3. Narrator 2: My name is David. My father was called Jesse. I was the youngest of his eight sons, so I was given the task of shepherding the sheep. I loved being out in the fields, especially at night when I could lie and watch myriads of stars. Out on the hillside, I would play my harp and make up songs about the wonder of Gods creation.

    I am probably best known for my encounter with a giant, a Philistine called Goliath. Goliath was terrifying the people of Israel, but I knew that God was stronger than any giant! I fought against Goliath and won the battle. I was chosen as the future king when I was a young boy. The prophet, Samuel, came to our house. God had told him that someone from our family would become the king, but Samuel expected it to be one of my older brothers. Samuel saw that I wasn’t as tall or handsome as my brothers, but God said to him, ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.’ Then, he anointed me as the future king! It took many years and a lot of hardship before I actually became king. King Saul, the king before me, was very jealous of me because, with God’s help, I had led many successful battles and I was popular with the people. Eventually, I had to run away from Saul and hide in a cave with strangers while King Saul searched the country trying to kill me!

    I made many mistakes as king. My worst mistake was definitely organizing for a brave soldier to die in battle so that I could marry his wife, Bathsheba – that was terrible of me! However, somehow, God must have seen that, despite my awful mistakes and the number of times I messed up, deep down, I cared for people and wanted to be a good leader. Eventually, Jesus was born as one of my distant relatives.

    Which leadership qualities did David display?

  4. Narrator 3: My name is Nehemiah. I was an Israelite with a top position in the Persian Empire, as a cupbearer to the king. However, I was always thinking about my people, who had returned from captivity and were back home in Jerusalem. I received sad news that my people were experiencing great difficulty there, that they had lost their identity and their hope. I was very sad and kept praying that God would help me in some way. Then, one day, the king noticed my distress. There was a scary moment when he questioned why I was looking sad in his presence – being sad in front of the king was punishable by death! However, when I told the king my problem, he organized for me to return to Jerusalem to help my people rebuild it.

    I had to be very cautious because many people did not want the walls of the city to be rebuilt. Therefore, after I had surveyed the city, I gathered the people and encouraged them to join together and start to build. We had lots of opposition. Lots of people laughed at us and we even had to carry out the building while holding a sword in one hand in case we were attacked! We prayed a lot and, after just 52 days, the walls of the city were rebuilt. What a party we had when it was all over!

    Which leadership qualities did Nehemiah display?

  5. Narrator 4: My name is Simon Peter. I was a fisherman in Galilee. My brother, Andrew, and I were the first ones whom Jesus asked to be his disciples. Eventually, we were joined by ten other disciples. I watched Jesus attract hundreds of people, preaching and teaching a new message. There was no aggression in him, no call to arms as we might have expected in a time of Roman occupation.

    One day, Jesus sent us out in pairs to do his work, to tell people about God and to heal the sick. It was a big lesson for us! We were to take nothing for the journey, no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra clothes – just to trust in God to provide for us.

    When Jesus started to talk about dying and betrayal, I was certain that I would never leave him or let him down, but I am ashamed to say that I did. I was the worst of cowards. When the Roman guards came unexpectedly to arrest him, I ran for my life. That would have been bad enough, but when I was recognized later as one of his friends, I said that I’d never even met Jesus.

    When Jesus was crucified, I thought that it was the end, but he came back to life again and visited me. He forgave me and gave me a special job to do. I was to be a rock on which he would build his Church. Fancy that - choosing me despite all the things that I had got wrong! Over the next few years, I found that God allowed me to do some of the miracles that Jesus had done. Thousands of people joined us. Later on, when I was arrested because of my faith, I didn’t deny Jesus, so I was killed.

    Which leadership qualities did Simon Peter display?

  6. Ask the following questions. If appropriate, ask the students to discuss their answers with those sitting close to them. Alternatively, ask the students to spend a few moments in quiet thought after you have asked the questions.

    - Out of Moses, David, Nehemiah and Simon Peter, which one would you identify as displaying the greatest leadership qualities?
    From where would you say these men got wisdom to lead? (See Nehemiah 2.4-5: ‘Then I prayed to the God of heaven and I answered the king.’)
    God said, ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.’ How is this true of David? (Note that David was the youngest of his family and a simple shepherd. He was not as tall or attractive as his brothers.)
    - How is the same statement true of Simon Peter? (Note that Simon Peter was a rough, hardworking fisherman. He would have had little education, and perhaps little in the way of manners or etiquette.)
    Which of these four men had boldness and courage?
    Which of these four men had

Time for reflection

Ask the students which of these characters inspired them the most.

The difference between these leaders and some of the leaders we have studied in earlier assemblies is that great leaders in the Bible were first and foremost called by God, who gave them each a task to do. They all felt that they couldn’t complete the tasks on their own, but with God’s help and the help of other people, they were able to do so. God saw something special in each person. He didn’t look exclusively at their minds or physical appearance; rather, he looked at their hearts.

In the same way, each of us has gifts and abilities that are unique and special. For some of us, it is the gift of leadership. If we are called upon to be leaders, let’s lead well and show the great qualities that we have considered. However, let’s also be leaders who will ask for help and value the contribution of other people.

Dear God,
We thank you for stories of ordinary people whom you made extraordinary as leaders.
We ask that you will help us to use our gifts well.
Help us to seek your help.
Help us to value those around us as we seek to serve.

Publication date: January 2017   (Vol.19 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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