Pastor Youngju Steven Kim
Rev. Steven Kim


“Love and Nurture”

These days I’ve been involved in a process called ‘EM 360’ initiated by the New York Annual Conference. ‘EM’ stands for ‘Efficient Ministry.’ It is an 8 month-long process of which the goal is to enhance the efficient leadership of the clergy and thereby build up a model for efficient ministry. Weeks ago, I attended a retreat at Camp Olmsted as part of it. Camp Olmsted is one of the Methodist retreat centers, which is located near West Point by the Hudson River.

In one of the sessions, a participant shared with the group the four essential ingredients of efficient leadership. They are: Love, Listen, Nurture and Lead. She also addressed that a failure that many leaders commit in common is for them to try to lead people while skipping the first three elements beforehand. Her words deeply challenged me to reflect on my own leadership as a pastor.

A similar challenge is also found in Jesus’ words for Peter in John 21:15-17: “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' Peter said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'”

With his imminent passion ahead, Jesus commissioned Peter to his leadership over the faith community at another level. But, Jesus didn’t do so without checking out Peter’s commitment to love and nurture first. In other words, Peter should show his love (listen) and nurture the faith community first in order to make sure his leadership is efficient.

I believe this is a rule of thumb for everybody. That is because each of us performs leadership in life, big or small. A parent is a leader at his/her home. An office manager is a leader in the office. A businessman is a leader in the hierarchy of the organization. Church members, let alone a pastor, are also leaders in their positions. Even though you are not a church officer you are still a leader because people around you look up to you in terms of faith.

These days it is my morning routine to take a walk early in the morning and water the plants in the yard when I come back home. (I don’t have a sprinkler system). When I water them the plants look fresh, but if I fail to do so, they wither by the hot sunlight. I need to hear of their thirst, so to speak. That way my morning routine of watering the plants becomes a perfect reminder of efficient leadership.

My dear friends, the Bible says that God has called each of us to be a good steward of His. In other words, we are all leaders in one way or the other. My prayer is that we continue to grow in love, listening, nurturing, and leading. God will bless your life and mine in abundance. Amen.