In 1988, I presented the closing address to the Pan Asia Christian Education Seminar in Singapore. The theme of the address was “Servant Leadership for a Servant Community.” At the time, I served as president of the Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines.
The following year, I was elected the fifth president of Mount Vernon Nazarene College (now university) in Ohio, USA. After accepting the election, I sent a copy of the address to each of the MVNC faculty stating, “the approach to leadership in the address will characterize me at my best, and convict me at my worst.”
On retiring from MVNU in 2007, I sent a thank you letter, and a copy of the same address, now somewhat dated, to the much larger current faculty. I confessed that “the statement on servant leadership has too infrequently characterized me at my best, and too often convicted me at my worst.” I asked for their forgiveness.
I have been recently reading and re-reading the address. Click here to access the article. I continue to believe, deeply, the biblical and theological principles of Christian leadership presented in the address. My colleagues at the institutions where I have served will affirm, and have stories to tell, about where I fell short, far short, of my theological convictions outlined in the address. I also want to believe that colleagues can be found who affirm that I passionately desired to live and lead with “the mind of Christ,” as stated in Philippians 2:5-11, and summarized in the address.
Indeed, in my current assignment as interim pastor of the Tampa First Vietnamese Church of the Nazarene, I remain passionate about these Christian principles and values. I am still growing in my understanding and implications of this statement delivered over 25 years ago. And, as The Lord continues to teach and inspire me regarding these thoughts, I will continue exploring these convictions in the days ahead.
The two appendix references in the address are not included in the link. Please write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, on comment section of the blogpost, or on my Facebook pages, for the additional material.
I welcome your comments.