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Jesus: The Steward Leader by Zenet Maramara


The term “steward leader” suggests that the leader is not the owner but a trustee of the leadership responsibilities entrusted to him or to her. He/she is a steward leader and as opposed to an owner-leader.

Jesus is the perfect model of a steward leader.

His heart and mind were focused on the will of God. In difficult times, Jesus draws strength by praying to the Father in solitude. When he was about to face his death and predicted that his disciples will be scattered and he will be left alone, he reminded himself that he will not be alone because he has the Father (John 16:32).

Leading like Jesus is leading with truth and humility.

Jesus’ humility stems from knowing who he is, where he came from. Jesus always acted to glorify the Father. He did not speak of his own authority but the Father who sent him (John 12:49). Therefore, no words came out of his mouth that was not from God. Jesus was obedient to the command of God in what he should speak and say. As a leader, Jesus did not pursue his own agenda but always that of God.

A steward leader cannot lead like Jesus if his or her heart is full of pride and self-interest. Ken Blanchard in his book, Lead Like Jesus, states that “the most persistent barrier to leading like Jesus is a heart motivated by self-interest.”[1] He explains that people with hearts motivated by self-interest put their own agenda, safety, status, and gratification ahead of those affected by their thoughts and actions.[2] Not so with Jesus who says “I do as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31) In John 5:19 Jesus says that the son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

Leading like Jesus is leading with security and confidence.

As a steward leader, Jesus is secure in his relationship and position with God. He knows that he comes from God and is going back to God (John 13:3). He can stoop down and wash the apostles’ feet—a lowly task of a servant—and yet this was Jesus’ model of leadership that the leader is a servant to others (Mat. 20:20-28). “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (John 13:16).

A servant in not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them (John 13:17) Jesus led through example of his life that is anchored on personal integrity and genuine love and concern for people (Mark 10:43-44).

[1] Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons for Everyone from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of all Time. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 39.

[2] Ibid., 41.


Dr. Zenet Maramara is the director of the MBA program at Asian Theological Seminary, Manila, Philippines.  She is also the president of the Christian Stewardship Association.

The Outcomes Conference

April 17-19 in Dallas, Texas

Want to learn more about being a steward leader? Then register for The Outcomes Conference 2018 and plan to attend this full-day intensive:

Steward Leaders Achieve Kingdom Impact

Discover the difference between worldly success and kingdom impact and be equipped as a steward leader to be used by God to meet kingdom objectives that have eternal value.
  • Discover your unique call to lead for kingdom impact not just
  • worldly success,
  • Define your role as a steward leader for this work, and
  • Develop your battle plan to lead for God’s eternal purposes.


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