Called to Lead:
An Orthodox Christian Perspective

Episode 2


Welcome to Called to Lead: An Orthodox Christian Perspective. Demitri Fardelos and Mary Scott co-host this podcast with the help and support of their collaborators: His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and the Strategic Planning Goal Team. This season discusses Orthodox Servant Leadership, diving into topics from understanding Christian Orthodox servant leadership to developing volunteer teams to conflict resolution.

In this episode, Fr. Tim Sas from Twelve Holy Apostles in Duluth, Minnesota joins Demitri and Mary to discuss developing servant leadership qualities. Fr. Tim has been serving in Minnesota for the last 20 years and has a beautiful family with Presvytera Gabriela and four daughters.  Fr. Tim also regularly consults with nonprofit organizations on organizational management and behavior. Today’s program allows listeners a better understanding of servant leadership and why it is important to develop these skills to be better leaders in the parish, community, and the workplace.

This episode talks about understanding servant leadership and why it is important to develop skills to guide leadership in the parish, community, and workplace. A servant leader is different from other types of leadership because a servant leader prioritizes service to his/her people, while typical leadership prioritizes the achievement of a set goal.

A good “Christian” leader is a good servant. Many characteristics make a person a good Christian leader a good servant, but in general, it means valuing people above all material or measurable goals.

Fr. Tim explains that it is important to consider that leaders are often reluctant to share power because of fear and the love of control. It can be hard for leaders to relinquish control, but it is necessary to step away from this mindset.

One can assess their leadership style by using outside points of accountability. Christ wants us to be in communion with one another, and being in communion means that we are not alone. This feedback can come from a Spiritual Director such as a parish priest, a peer (such as another ministry leader), or someone serving under one’s leadership. Furthermore, a leader can improve their blind spots by making sure they submit to a healthy system of accountability, and a leader should handle inevitable mistakes and setbacks with Repentance and Restoration.

Fr. Tim emphasizes that a servant leader can develop better empathy through listening without formulating a solution and through remembering the compassion and love we have all been shown through Christ.


Good servant leadership involves self-discipline when listening, practicing empathy, and holding oneself accountable. (3:53)

Power is a challenge in leadership. Sharing power or authority is a way humans can best function in societies. Also, it is crucial to have structures that are kept in good order. (8:12)

It is crucial to give others, and oneself, grace during leadership in the parish, workplace, and community. (10:00)

Becoming more self-aware of one’s blind spots… Personal development can take many forms, and everyone learns in different ways—from a book, from face-to-face conversations, from experimental learning. All of these areas of learning can be challenged effectively through self-discipline. (15:03)

Leaders should focus on gratitude—for their experiences and the people they encounter in their leadership spaces. (29:00)


“To be a servant leader means to place people above ideas, or even above goals, certainly above material things.” (Fr. Tim, 3:22)

“Precisely because we are focusing on becoming Christ-like every single day, we place value on each person as an icon of Christ before us.” (Fr. Tim, 7:43)

“No one person was created to live alone, and no one person has answers to everything. That’s precisely why we all need points of reference, and points of reference—in the form of accountability, in the concept of accountability— people who can actually pose questions to us which engage us in evaluating how a particular action or a particular statement affected one person or a large group of people.” (Fr. Tim, 11:08)

“Most of us are prone to listening with our minds going on towards a solution almost immediately…Proper listening means allowing the person to express him or herself fully, and then, together, thinking of a solution.” (Fr. Tim, 18:49)

“Living out a life by which empathy is natural to us, brings us into unison with Christ’s way of life. It aligns us with Christian path for our everyday experience, but we can train ourselves toward this.” (Fr. Tim, 24:05)


When did servant leadership start appearing as a concept? When did it start to take shape and to be studied?
True or false? Effective leaders are always good servants.
True or false? Christian Orthodoxy has a strong tradition of spiritual guidance and direction.
Demitri asks how to react to mistakes and setbacks made as leaders, and Fr. Tim mentions the importance of __________ and __________.
At the end of the episode, what skill of an effective servant leader does Fr. Tim mention that Brian Tate discusses in his article?
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