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. Doug Papulis, Protopresbyter from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, MO joins Demitri and Mary to discuss developing servant leadership qualities. Fr. Doug and Presvytera Christina have lived in the St. Louis area for over 20 years.
Negotiations are often connotated with a business setting, but negotiation extends to the household and Church. It’s easy to approach negotiations with a win-lose mindset. Today’s program gives an opportunity to better understand ethical negotiations and why it is important to develop these skills to be better leaders in the parish, community, and workplace.
Orthodox Christian leaders—laypeople and clergy—work most effectively when they engage and cooperate with those who serve with them. Cooperation and engagement are hallmarks of effective Orthodox leaders. The three Persons of the Holy Trinity cooperate equally—the Father is not dominating over the Spirit and the Son. Similarly, Church Leaders should follow this example, cooperating and building up the group. This involves listening attentively and being mentally present, as well as welcoming feedback.
Fr. Doug explains that there are certain business-life aspects of a church—maintaining facilities, managing the budget, and paying the bills; however, these do not define the Church. The Orthodox ethos in Church, in the workplace, school, and home is cooperation, humility, and open-mindedness. Parish leaders must guide the parish to be actively involved in helping the wider community for the salvation of the world, and all Church leaders must protect the faithful from anything or anyone that would betray the ethos or nature of Orthodoxy.
Fr. Doug explains that the parishioners are important to the parish leadership because, without them, the parish leaders have no one to serve and no reason to exist. Church leaders, as wise and knowledgeable as they may be, must also listen to the parishioners. A self-centered, self-righteous leadership mindset produces burn-out. If everyone involved is hurt, the entire parish suffers.
The Orthodox Church is the Church of change. The foundation of the Orthodox Christian Faith and Dogma never changes, but, at the same time, change is a dominant trait. Parish leaders need to welcome and navigate change. Church leaders must have the humility and discernment to advocate, support, and praise change, as well as be grateful for the past achievements of others. Effective Church leaders create a safe environment for everyone to exchange and discuss new possibilities and options.
It is important for Orthodox leaders to engage with each other, listen attentively, and truly listen to understand the position of others, their thought processes, and the experiences that led to their current perspectives. (5:45)
The Church is not anti-business, and there are many business aspects in the Church. Business practices, and all aspects of life, should be approached with an Orthodox Christian ethos. (10:12)
Parish leaders must guide the parish to be actively involved in helping the wider community by participating in services such as Prison Ministry, Senior Ministry, Philanthropic Outreach, and Orthodox Spirituality Classes. (15:04)
In matters where compromise can’t happen, due to Orthodox Christian Faith and values, it is best to engage with parish clergy and have them be heavily involved in the discussions. (18:08)
It is important to listen for facts, feelings, and values. When navigating a difference of opinion or carrying out the Orthodox faith into the community, it is crucial to think about taking a fully compassionate and collaborative approach. (27:20)
“Let no one seek his own, but each one, the other’s wellbeing.”
(1 Corinthians 10:24, 0:01)
“Church leaders, with God as their model, cooperate with one another to successfully engage parishioners in the ethos of Orthodox Christianity.”
(Fr. Doug, 4:24)
“A leader wants and seeks feedback.”
(Fr. Doug, 8:00)
“We are Orthodox Christians in the marathon race of eternal life.”
(Fr. Doug, 11:47)
“Most areas in life are gray, but some things are black and white, and not being faithful to the foundations of our faith changes the ethos—the character—of who we are, and we simply cannot have that.”
(Fr. Doug, 17:24)
“Nurturing change is crucial because most people do not like change. Thus, church leaders must have the humility and discernment to advocate, support, and praise change, as well as be grateful for the past achievements of others.”
(Fr. Doug, 25:57)
“Effective Orthodox Church leaders create a safe environment for everyone to exchange and discuss new possibilities and options of continuing to grow in the Lord.”
(Fr. Doug, 26:42)