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Heart and Mind By Zenet Maranara

The Heart and Mind of the Steward Leader

The primary consideration in discussing the heart and mind of the steward leader focuses on the person of the steward leader. It starts with the “being” of the person.

Scott Rodin refers to it as the “who question” and asks “who am I and whose am I?”

Belonging to God

Steward leaders know that they belong to God. They are created in the image and likeness of God. As such, the steward leader bears the representation of the Triune God. The Trinitarian God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— live and operate in perfect harmony. It is the model for the steward leader to follow as he/she lives in a community of self, neighbors, God, and the rest of creation. This Trinitarian likeness shows us to live in communion with others versus living for the self alone.

The heart and mind of the steward leader knows that he/she lives in a world of relationships. This connectedness first of all to God, defines the self and projected to the people and the world around us.  The heart that is secure in the love of God and will not seek worldly affirmation, power, and fame. Such security that emanates from the true source of life is rid of self-centeredness but seeks the best interest of others.

Stewards are God’s representatives and therefore bearers of God’s truth, justice, righteousness and peace in the world. This is the fundamental reason why many of us serve in the non-profit world—to advocate and promote justice especially for the voiceless and the powerless.

Freedom To Follow God And His agenda

When the heart and mind of the steward leader are steadfastly focused on God there is freedom to follow him and pursue his priorities. Steward leaders nurture and grow the ministry that God puts in their care but discern when it is time to move on and seek what is God’s next agenda.

Steward leaders know how to let go and mentor younger leaders who will continue the work that God started through them. This is one mark of a steward leader that distinguishes him/her from those who think of themselves as owner-leaders. Steward leaders lead where they are called and make it count.  Treat every job as a “wow project” in the language of Tom Peters. You may be called as a fundraiser for your non-profit in this season in your life, then by all means make it flourish and leave a worthy contribution.

Stewards lead where they are and multiply leaders and leave a strong legacy through intentional succession planning.  Power is not hoarded but shared. Because the heart and mind of the steward leader is not one of an owner-leader, he/she empowers others to succeed. Now, that is true fruitfulness when we grow and develop other people.

[1] Scott Rodin, Stewards in Kingdom, A Theology of Life In All Its Fullness (Downers Grove, Il: Inter Varsity Press, 2000), 10-22.


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.


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