Although ministry revolves around one person, Jesus Christ, the methods and approaches to serving are ever-changing. God never commanded His pastors to serve as dictators nor as loners. Jesus and the disciples lived and feasted together before He died. He informed the disciples that He would never leave them alone and comfortless. He promised they would have the Holy Spirit to always lead and guide them into all truth (John 14:16-18, 26). Transformational leaders seek multiple ways to serve God and His people. For pastors to maintain sanctity of mind and heart, they need to assess their leadership styles.
Throughout Jesus’ three-year ministry, He functioned as both a servant and a transformational leader. The only times when Jesus was alone was during His private time of prayer with the Heavenly Father. The majority of His leadership time was spent teaching and equipping the disciples to serve and to transform. Like servant leadership concepts, transformational leadership theory also made a significant impact across all levels of leadership practices, including Christianity. The tenets of transformational leadership theory are becoming a growing mainstay of many formal and informal educational programs.
The emphasis of transformational leadership theory is on self reflection and motivating people to transcend self-interests. Jesus was the great example of servant leadership who also transformed the lives of others and of worship. As with servant leadership, transformational leadership develops unity in the church. The pastor establishes a clear understanding that they all must work together to build the kingdom of God. There are no big i’s and little t’s in fulfilling God’s ultimate plan of salvation. Pastors who are transformational leaders are aware that they cannot reach their designated community alone. In Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger stated, “God desires the miracle of unity for the church…Without the miracle of unity, churches divide and ministry suffers. And all of this occurs while the world watches.”
Transformational leadership facilitates deeper communication between the leader and follower, as leaders holistically engage followers to grow collectively in the achievement of organizational and spiritual goals. The transformational leader also helps shape the view of the church. Sadly, in the 21st century, the world has seen church and denominational wars, from a difference in theological opinions to the battle of possession of church property. Andy Salgado wrote, “Unfortunately, wars, divisions, and church splits have made the church look bad in the eyes of believers and unbelievers alike.”
People may withdraw from the church with the belief that others are hypocrites, gossipers, and are fighting with each other. When a pastor establishes a transformational leadership mentality, they embrace their role as a steward over the things God has entrusted and when one embraces this attitude, it will help the individual not to feel so overwhelmed in his obligation to transform others through his pastoral leadership. Since Jesus was transformational in the ways He inspired others to follow Him and to share the gospel. We, as pastors, should follow His transformational leadership examples.