Jesus and Paul
Servant Leadership addresses a fundamental concern of the contemporary church by asking pertinent questions of the New Testament: Who became a leader in the Jesus movement and in Pauline Christianity? What was the social status of these leaders in the outside world as compared to the importance of such social status within the faith community? What practices characterized their leadership within the communities they served? The book explores models of leadership in the New Testament’s two prime exemplars, Jesus and Paul, and in their respective communities of faith. It studies both Paul’s statements and actions with regard to leadership issues with specific church communities, using Thessalonians, the Corinthians, the Galatians, and the Philippians correspondence as case studies in the practice of leadership. It concludes with a discussion of leadership challenges in the modern church and how a Pauline or Deutero-Pauline model can work for us today. The author shows how understanding one’s followers, as well as the goals and purposes of the group one leads, is a fundamental function of leadership today, even in the corporate world. Similarly, although we expect Christian leadership to be confrontational and assertive at times, it must also be open to creating opportunities for others to exercise their gifts and, therefore, their leadership. Good leaders move others to respond to their own personal calls and commitments.
Efrain Agosto is professor of New Testament and director of Programa de Ministerios Hispanos at Hartford Seminary and has directed the urban ministries program for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.