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.
Dr. Fairbanks, thank you so much for this gift you have given the children of God on this web site. By including not only your current guidance and thoughts but also granting us the privilege of so much of your past writings you have shown progression of thought- deepening of understanding and key gems of your own personal growth. With your usual honest assessment of both your calling and ministry you invite the Body to dig deeper and rely on, more heavily, the Holy Sprit to teach, mold, cleanse and shape your readers and their ministries. I am especially grateful for this present blog entry and the Address you have shared here-in for beyond the words you have shown both passion and compassion. Passion for the Lord, His Teachings and His Intentions; and compassion for His children who have been born, as you have said, not only into the Body to be in a solitary relationship with the Father but also and, just as vital, born into the Body to Serve It !Just as the heart, the brain and even the minute pineal gland work together to keep the physical body healthy and functioning. Ministry is not a choice for a Christian any more than breathing, growing and feeling is a choice for the mortal body. And you, have painted that truth with vibrant color and masterful strokes. Thank you. And let me add through out your writings here I find that you write with intelligence, logic, economy and a Vision of a Christian Worldview shaped by your many travels, education and eclectic readings- and yet are able to speak them with the heart of a “down-home” preacher. May the Lord continue to Bless You, your ministry and your impact on His children. The least of whom am I.
Greetings to you Dr. Lebron
‘ hoping and praying that you have a wonderful day’..
How are you Sir and also Ma’m Anne?
Over a year ago,I can still vividly remember my first official sunday as Antipolo First church pastor..that you preached on that sunday.
By God’s grace…things are going well here at Antipolo Church.
I’ve been gaining tremendous amount of knowledge and teachings everytime I visit your website boardserve.
This week my church board and I will seat and make some necessary plannings for this coming years.
I request your permission to share to my church board your minds and your rich insights from your ” SERVANT LEADERSHIP FOR A SERVANT COMMUNITY”
We miss you here in the Philippines Dr. Lebron
May the Lord Continually bless your wonderful ministries..
Pastor Jaime Eniceo
Antipolo First Church of the Nazarene