Ministry Style

Melinda, Tony Campolo, and myself at the National Youth Workers Convention.

My personal philosophy of ministry stems from both my experience and education. Experientially, I have been a part of ministry’s that were pastor led (more of a dictatorship) and those that were committee based. Both of these experiences have exhibited exceptional problems. Educationally, I have learned concept of servant leadership, but have had little exposure to it in practice. The philosophy that I hold to are the leadership principles of servant and team leadership or servant-led leadership (combined).

Through my experience, I have observed that the pastor led model of leadership can limit the growth potential of the staff and the congregation to the limit of the pastor themselves. Now, there is a tremendous amount of mega-churches today that hold to this model of leadership and on the outside appears to be successful on all fronts. I am not saying that this model is ineffective across the board, but rather, in my experience it has eventually led to major leadership issues within the senior pastor and staff or congregation. The other side of the dictatorship style of some pastor led congregations is the committee-based church. These committees are comprised of, usually untrained, volunteers who sacrifice their time to take part in the administration of the church. It would be great if every church had a person who was trained in human resources, a Forbes’s 500 list maker, and well versed handy-man who could all tackle the individual committees that they are trained to work in, but that is not the case. Oftentimes, these untrained individuals are doing their own thing or listening to others who are desperately seeking to have their will done as opposed to the will of the Father. Therefore, I desire to build a team where the individual members are altruistically leading their ministry and understand the strengths/ weaknesses of each other while meeting the needs of the congregation.

The servant-led organization is often viewed as successful when the leader focus’ on the followers, as opposed to the organization. This perspective can often lead to a highly positive work environment, which will then develop into followers that who invest in their positions and have the drive to succeed on part of the organization. In order to develop this form of work environment the leader must have a grasp of key principles such as (a) agapao love, (b) humility, (c) altruism, (d) vision, (e) trust, (f) empowerment, and (g) service.[1] I believe that one of the strongest principles identified by Dr. Patterson is that of altruism. If a servant- leader is not concerned for the welfare of others then the leadership is truly missing the point of their position.[2] It is the role of the servant-led leader to know their strengths, but also the strengths of their followers. It is the role of a servant leader to be willing to meet other’s needs, fill-in where needed, and pick-up the slack often created in a workplace atmosphere. This leader will also guide their employee’s into the proper projects, work aspirations, and even assist in their development into future leadership positions all because of the altruism principle living within them.

I or we (the team) will equip the people of God for the mission of loving with reckless abandon. This radical type of love is relentless. Through sincere worship experiences, passionate preaching, missional community, and purposeful outreach the local church will relentlessly pursue the great commission as lived out in the local area, the state, the nation, and the world. With this as my philosophy for ministry, I believe that the church can properly fulfill the Great Commission while living out the Great Commands.

[1] Patterson, Kathleen. Servant Leadership Theory. School of Global Leadership and Entrepeurship, Regent University, Virginia Beach: Regent University, 2003.

[2] Ibid.6.