Snapshots of Jesus-Centered Leadership: Josh Stewart

Our world desperately needs Jesus-centered leaders!

We trust this interview with Josh Stewart (Arrow Class 30), Lead Pastor at Bedford Community Church in Bedford Hills, New York will encourage and equip you to be led more by Jesus, lead more like Jesus and lead more to Jesus.

Josh, how are you seeking to lead more LIKE Jesus?

One of the things I’m finding in my ministry is the sheer collateral damage that comes with being a pastor. For a long time, I struggled with the reality of the damage and frustrations of being a pastor. Within the last year or two the Lord has shown me these scars. I’m learning to love people and love Christ more through the persecutions, disappointments, frustrations and sometimes betrayal of ministry.

How do you transition between seeing the scars that come with being a pastor and loving people and Christ more?

Perspective is the key here. When we live and lead vulnerably, we will be wounded. It’s inevitable. But returning to Christ, to be led by Him, we are reminded that this was His path. The comfort of Scripture, namely verses like Luke 6:22, remind me that if I want to look like Jesus, I will undoubtedly bear some of His scars.

Have the scars of pastoring drawn you into deeper fellowship with the suffering of Jesus? How?

Absolutely. The realities of betrayal and disappointment in ministry point to a deeper fellowship with Christ (Philippians 3:10). But it also does something else that is quite beneficial, it shows me where I am being codependent, stashing ministry idols or leading out of self-sufficiency. So the scars brought on by the actions of others actually become the remnants and reminders on my soul of the surgery that God has done to make me more like Him.

So the scars brought on by the actions of others actually become the remnants and reminders on my soul of the surgery that God has done to make me more like Him. Click To Tweet

How do you share your burdens as a pastor?

I am grateful to have regular, intentional communion with other pastors to discuss the unique challenges of ministry. These are scheduled times of open, honest sharing with men that I have known for many years. If there was one piece of counsel that I have for any new person in ministry, it is this—make sure that you have a small handful of close friends with whom you can share the journey, in honesty and integrity. This has been a lifeline for me in ministry.

In seeking to lead more to Jesus, how do you continuously preach the gospel to yourself and your flock?

Ah, my favorite question. To paraphrase Luther, any act of sin or rebellion is a failure to remember the Gospel. And so the centrality of the Gospel is the essential protagonist in my life and ministry. I literally begin the morning remembering the finished work of Christ on the Cross and my place as his bride. Every sermon I preach, every counseling appointment I conduct, every event that I lead has the intended purpose of leading people to (or back to) the Gospel. It is there (and only there) we meet Christ because it is in the Gospel that Christ has willfully condescended to meet us.

Every sermon I preach, every counseling appointment I conduct, every event that I lead has the intended purpose of leading people to the Gospel. Click To Tweet

How are you leading differently because of participating in the Arrow Leadership Program™?

Dependence. One of the beautiful things of Arrow, is it brings you back to the feet of Jesus and reminds you of your dependence on Christ. For your life and for your ministry. Arrow doesn’t forget that. The books, the resources, the teachings. All of it. Arrow constantly bring us back to feet of Jesus.

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Rose Thompson

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