The Spirituality of Leadership


The church of the future must emphasize spirituality. We traditionally have asked people to come to church simply because it is a good thing to do. But that won’t work anymore if you are not capable of moving the spirits of those attending. Howard Schultz of Starbucks said, “I don’t sell coffee. I want to evangelizecoffee.” He took away this wonderful word from us! Why do people drink Starbucks? Is it because of the taste of the coffee? There is a certain experience that they give you when you go to Starbucks, and people go for that. But the church has often lost its sense of spirit and experience in worship.

I work very hard at being a good pastor to my church members. And that means being the spiritual leader they expect.

When I became pastor of Manna Church near Seoul, South Korea, I was curious to know what kind of pastor the church members expected me to be. So I asked the members of the congregation. I opened myself to whatever they wanted to say. I got two clear answers. Members wanted an ethical leader. They also wanted a spiritual leader.

Twice a year at Manna Church we have a special morning service. I told members that for this week I would fast and lead the services. The service time is about an hour and a half. It is praise, sermon, and then prayer. Because I was fasting through the whole week, it was very difficult for me. As the days went by, people noticed how different my face looked. Members began to say, “Maybe it is because you are fasting, but we can see a light shining on your face.” I could never tell them how hungry I was.

For three years I fasted every time we had the early morning services. For three years it was hard, but that is when the members began to pray for me.

God gave us many miracles at the special early morning services. This year, over 4,000 people gathered at 5 am. More amazing was that over 1,000 children and youth came. When I saw all those kids, tears dropped from my face.

When I see the kids gathered, I always bow to them. I tell them, “I don’t know what you will become when you grow up, but I have high hopes for you, and I respect you.” And in the past year, other amazing things happened. The number of young adults attending the young adult Sunday service doubled. I do five sermons every Sunday, but I always preach for the young adult service. And I regularly bow to the young adults as well. The young adults know how much I love them.

I work very hard at being a good pastor to my church members. And that means being the spiritual leader they expect.

This article is adapted from a presentation Dr. Kim made at Wesley Theological Seminary in 2010.


About Author

The Rev. Dr. Byoung Sam Kim is Senior Pastor of Manna Church near Seoul, South Korea. He is also CEO of World Human Bridge (NGO), and an Adjunct Professor at Methodist Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea.


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