Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)




Medical missionaries provide benevolent medical services to underserved people internationally. This exploratory research was conducted to examine whether medical missionaries demonstrate the ten behavioral characteristics of servant leaders as outlined by Larry Spears, president and CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. The characteristics are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others, and building communities. Qualitative data from interviews with four medical missionaries supported that Spear's ten characteristics are evident among this group of people. Analysis of these characteristics highlights their importance in the leadership of medical missionary work. This study provides valuable information for individuals who employ health care workers that serve as medical missionaries. Further research would be helpful to expand on this small study and to investigate what health care organizations can do to acknowledge, support, and encourage these servant leaders and to use the potentially significant contributions that medical missionaries bring back to their organizations.


SC 11.MAL.2006.Arvold.J