Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Carthen, Jason


This project examined the relationship between the gospel and servant leadership development. The purpose of the project was to show the need for a process to develop servant leaders at the heart level and propose a model for developing servant leaders through the discipline of applying the gospel. A theological and biblical study showed the heart to be central to faith and practice. The affective tradition of Christianity posits that a person’s action flows from a heart that loves God as response to the revealed love of God in the gospel by the Holy Spirit. A God-moved heart through the gospel results in servant leadership (i.e., the Fruit of the Spirit). Christians apply the gospel to their life and leadership as a daily discipline. The Apostle Paul is an example of a person transformed by the gospel from a non-servant leader to a servant leader. Servant leadership literature, following the writings of Robert Greenleaf, focuses on leadership practices neglecting inner-heart formation. However, various virtue models of servant leadership consider inner disposition/character of leaders. An instrumental case study of Westwood Community Church in Excelsior, MN, using personal interviews of pastors and directors, the OLA, and organizational documents, indicated that the gospel influences how leaders treat and respond to others. However, spiritual growth was foundational to leadership development for only two of eight leaders interviewed. Other findings included the importance of awareness, gospel clarity, and the need to move from a virtues-based to a faith-based model of servant leadership. A gospel-based servant leadership development model was proposed.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis