Leadership Rooted in


Leadership Rooted in Discipleship

Dr. Matthew Bevere

Recent polls confirm we are in a crisis of leadership. Many people have low levels of trust in leaders of all kinds, not just in the corporate world. 

According to a recent Gallup poll, the number of people who trust clergy as honest and ethical is a mere 40%. Moreover, when interviewed, many clergy members themselves are not confident in their leadership skills. 

So who do people trust? 

According to the poll, nurses are the most trusted professionals at 86%. Nurses bring an important insight into the world of leadership because they are not valued for their skill and competencies alone, but also for coming alongside patients to offer personalized care.

Nurses help us see that people build trust, not only based on skill but on character and temperament.

For Christians, we understand that good character and temperament are the fruit of good discipleship. The Apostle Paul’s pastoral letter to Titus shows the connection between leadership and discipleship when he lays out for the young leader the characteristics that church elders should embody (Titus 1:5 NIV). Among the list of characteristics, elders should not be overbearing or quick-tempered. Instead, they should exercise self-control, discipline, holy-living, and hospitality. 

At Ashland Theological Seminary, we affirm that such characteristics are essential for skilled and competent leadership. Moreover, we understand that these traits develop within communities of faith that provide encouragement, accountability, and opportunities for self-reflection. Collectively, the professors and staff at Ashland Theological Seminary believe that our task is singularly focused: to equip modern-day disciples. We believe theological education is about creating a community in the classroom which embodies our four core values of Scripture, Spiritual Formation, Community, and Academic Excellence. We design our courses to help you develop and sharpen the skills necessary for good leadership, as we seek to fulfill Christ’s two greatest commandments together, to love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mt. 22:36-40). 

As an institution, we make space for you to grow in discipleship within your curriculum. Courses like Person in Ministry, which we offer within our theological degree programs, equip you to experience ongoing personal development and growth for well-being in ministry. Our Thriving in Church Ministry program fosters growth within a community of Christian leaders who learn from one another as they form bonds of trust through mutual encouragement, accountability, and support. In our clinical counseling and chaplaincy programs, self-reflection and personal growth are foundational to developing the skills and competencies necessary to work in a clinical environment. While we offer specific opportunities for you to explore spiritual and character formation, each class integrates personal formation into the subject matter as we seek to equip modern-day disciples holistically.

Good Christian leaders are lifelong disciples who, in turn, disciple others to grow and flourish in their faith. Peter urges his fellow Christians to use the gifts they have received to serve others as a part of their lives as faithful stewards (1 Pe 4:10). When we understand that leadership is rooted in discipleship, we discover the key to recovering a solid sense of trust in Christian leaders. By fostering our leadership practice within our lives as Christ’s disciples, we can demonstrate leadership that is not only competent but also empathic, self-reflective, and self-controlled. As we become more like Jesus, serving those who we are called to disciple, we simultaneously become trusted leaders in God’s kingdom work.

About the Author,
Dr. Matthew Bevere


As Director of Marketing and Recruitment, Dr. Bevere is focused on ways to most effectively communicate the seminary’s message.

Dr. Bevere and his wife Cindy have four grown children: Rachel, Sarah, Robert, and Emily. He enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors. His other hobbies include reading and music (particularly jazz), as well as watching professional football and college basketball, with the Cleveland Browns and Duke Blue Devils at the top of his list.

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