The Office of Servant Leadership

For over 100 years NNU has been nurturing persons to be effective leaders across the spectrum of society and around the world. Leadership development is inherent in every academic discipline. That is not unique. A university education is about leadership development. But NNU’s vision of leadership is different than most. It is shaped by our commitment to leadership in “the way of Jesus.” This way is intentionally focused on servanthood—becoming leaders by learning to serve—modeled after Jesus’, the servant leader.

The Wesley Center’s Office of Servant Leadership is about making explicit this implicit vision that has guided NNU since our inception. Through campus-wide initiatives for students, faculty and staff, the Office of Servant Leadership seeks to instill a spirit of servant leadership and the practices consistent with that spirit. Through consultations with congregational leaders (clergy and laity) the Office of Servant Leadership seeks to enhance the effectiveness of local churches across the Northwest Region in leadership development, pastoral sabbaticals, as well as purposeful and practical congregational strategic planning.

One of the hallmarks of effective servant leadership in any organization is that everyone within the reach of influence of that organization are encouraged and empowered to reach their full God-given potential. Servant leaders nurture other servant leaders for the future. The Office of Servant Leadership is committed to helping leaders and organizations realize this hallmark.

Dr. Ed Robinson
Office: Williams Hall 105C
Phone: 208-467-8064

Servant Leadership Resources

The Office of Servant Leadership collaborates with faculty in degree programs and academic disciplines to enhance leadership education with servant leadership resources including access to servant leadership organizations and foundations, consultations, workshops and bibliographic resources.

The Office of Servant Leadership also works with a variety of campus entities to facilitate leadership development opportunities for faculty, staff, students and external constituencies. Current initiatives include a campus-based working group to encourage women in leadership roles in the NNU community.

For information concerning servant leadership resources contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)

Service Learning

The NNU community has long been characterized by service (one of NNU’s four core values) on the campus, in the community, and to the world. This emphasis on service finds its academic expression in “Service Learning.”

Service Learning may be defined as an educational strategy that integrates academic content with relevantly-based service in an external context for the purpose of positive, sustainable, even transformational, change for both students and external constituents. Through assignments and discussion with faculty, students reflect on the service in order to increase their understanding of the academic content, gain a broader appreciation of the discipline, and enhance their sense of personal responsibility to be a creative and redemptive agent in the world.

The Office of Servant Leadership seeks to assist faculty in the strategic development of appropriate educational experiences for their students, integrating those experiences into the program curricula, and assessing the effectiveness of service learning for student learning outcomes and institutional mission. Examples of Service Learning at NNU include:

  • Developing reading tutorials for under-resourced and under-performing schools
  • Using visual arts as a means of community development
  • Doing historiography for local communities in times of social transition
  • Developing marketing plans for non-profit service organizations
  • Conducting water testing for low income area
  • Counseling returning veterans and their families
  • Providing health screening for under-served international areas
  • Providing social services and mentoring for recent immigrants and refugees

For information concerning NNU’s Service Learning efforts contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)

Faculty and Staff Orientations

EZER: New Faculty Orientation

The Office of Servant Leadership is working cooperatively with the Vice President for Academic Affairs to provide new faculty at NNU with helpful guidance during their first full year of service. EZER seeks to empower new faculty by giving them a safe and nurturing environment to raise questions and share ideas guided by two central questions: 1) What does it mean to teach at NNU with its distinctive theological and cultural ethos? 2) How can I succeed in the various roles as a faculty member at NNU?

EZER is designed to help new faculty integrate into the NNU community by providing appropriate welcoming and orienting opportunities, nurturing personal relationships with veteran faculty, and providing helpful information and resources focused on the first-year experience.

For information about EZER contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)

Staff Culture Orientation

Like any institution, Northwest Nazarene University has its own culture shaped by its history, mission, vision, values and practices. The Office of Servant Leadership works collaboratively with the Office of Human Resources to provide a focused orientation to NNU’s culture for each staff member within the first six months of his/her employment.

The culture orientation provides a relaxed but purposeful setting in which staff may explore their personal purpose and place within the NNU community. The three session orientation provides an overview of the university history, mission, vision and values and explores the implications of NNU’s commitment to be a servant leader organization. The culture orientation sessions are repeated each fall and spring.

For information about the Staff Culture Orientation contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)

Congregational Strategic Planning

Like any purposeful organization, local church congregations need a focused mission and a reasonable, but ambitious, plan to accomplish that mission. The Office of Servant Leadership provides consultation to pastors and lay leaders to articulate a focused mission that “fits” the church’s size and context and then assists in the development of a workable strategic plan with reasonable goals and strategies to reach those goals.

Some strategic plans (and the processes of preparing them) are bulky, complex and, consequently, seldom effective for church leaders in medium or small-sized churches. Effective strategic plans are focused, concise and practical. The Office of Servant Leadership helps local churches develop a customized strategic plan that will establish appropriate goals, guide the development and utilization of resources, and provide effective evaluative indicators. Consultations usually involve at least one on-site visit with church leaders.

For information about Congregational Strategic Planning contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)

Consultation for Pastoral Sabbaticals

Sabbaticals for pastors who have been in their congregations for an extended tenure (e.g., at least seven years) are becoming more popular. Many districts or conferences have written policies to guide pastors and congregations in scheduling, planning, and administering sabbaticals.

The Office of Leadership Studies provides personal consultation with pastors in the development of a beneficial sabbatical plan that gives attention to the restoration and renewal of body, soul, mind and spirit. Materials assist lay leaders to understand the principles of pastoral sabbatical and embrace the practice for their pastor and local church (including what congregations can do during sabbaticals to make them a positive experience for everyone). On-site consultations with pastors and lay leaders are possible, but not necessary.

For information about Pastoral Sabbatical contact the Office of Servant Leadership at erobinson(at)