Original Research

A study of Matthew 20:20–28 in relation to Pentecostal churches leadership in Nigeria

Daniel C. Unachukwu
African Journal of Pentecostal Studies | Vol 1, No 1 | a13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajops.v1i1.13 | © 2024 Daniel C. Unachukwu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2024 | Published: 10 May 2024

About the author(s)

Daniel C. Unachukwu, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Matthew 20:20–28 contains Jesus’ teaching on a leadership model that is anchored on selflessness, love, and servanthood. Today, when this teaching is juxtaposed with some Pentecostal churches’ leadership situation in Nigeria, it is apparent that the opposite is the case. Some Pentecostal church leaders in Nigeria have demonstrated a leadership mentality that is focused on selfishness, materialism, and abuse of power.

Objectives: The study provides a re-reading of Matthew 20:20–28 to reveal its implications for Pentecostal churches leadership in Nigeria.

Method: This study is a qualitative research conducted through a triangulation of a historical-critical method and in-depth interview (IDI). The historical-critical approach was used to study the pericope, while IDI served as a means of data collection from respondents.

Results: Matthew 20:20–28 paints a picture of servant leadership, which entails placing others above self, divine approval above human commendation, responsibility above position, contribution above recognition, and care above ownership.

Conclusion: The pericope pierces deeply into the heart of the leadership problems in some Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, and calls for imitation of Jesus’ leadership model.

Contribution: Drawing from the pericope, this study unfolds a biblical model of leadership that is crucial to lessening the current leadership problems in Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.


Matthew 20:20–28; leadership style; servant leadership; Pentecostal churches; Nigeria

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions


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