A Pastoral Leader is a Servant

February 28, 2011

Today I'm staring a three part series entitled, A Pastoral Leader is a Servent.

A Pastoral Leader Is a Servant

The most important characteristic of a pastoral leader is to be a servant and meet the needs of others.

This might be a word of encouragement to someone who needs it, it might be a great sermon prepared to cast vision to the congregation, or it might be teaching a practical lesson people can apply in their own lives  

The role of a leader is to make the lives of people better, happier, more fulfilling, and easier.  That’s a pretty tall order for a pastoral leader, but he does that by serving the needs of the people he pastors.

A pastoral leader does the job that few others want to do—not because of what she will gain from it—but because that’s what she is called to do in response to how Jesus was a pastoral leader to us.  One of the first verses in scripture I memorized was Luke 22:26-27 where Jesus is talking with his disciples after dinner the night he is arrested.  Jesus teaches his disciples:

But among you it will be different.  Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?  The one who sits at the table, of course.  But not here, for I am among you as the one who serves.[1]

This passage of scripture is even more influential when we research Jewish culture and learn that a large emphasis was placed on status, power, control, and authority.[2]  And just before Jesus exhorts Luke 22:26-27, the disciples were arguing about which disciple would be the greatest and most respected by God.[3] 

Jesus also makes this statement in Luke after James and John had gone to Jesus and asked if they could be seated next to Jesus on his left or right hand side in heaven.[4]  Jesus is telling us that to be a true leader is not to have power and control. 

To be a true leader we need to serve the needs of others because a pastoral leader is responsible for the spiritual and mental health of a group of believers.

[1] Luke 22:26-27 (New Living Translation)

[2] John C. Hutchison, “Servanthood: Jesus’ Countercultural Call to Christian Leaders,” Bibliotheca Sacra 166 (January-March 2009): 60.

[3] Mark 9:33-37

[4] Mark 10:35-39

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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