from November 5, 2008
A leader or a follower be…
About a week ago, wehad our first “Biblical Advance,” with author Leonard Sweet as our teacher for the event. The title of the event was “From oranges to apples: coming alive to the living Word,” and we had just about 100 people attend, half adults, half youth. If you have not heard Len Sweet, he is a dynamic, thoughtful teacher and theologian, who has a real gift for helping people see the Bible in a new light.
One of the things Len said really caught me – he was talking about our tendency to read everything we can get our hands on about leadership, to study the leadership models in society, to study all the “habits” of successful leaders, so we can be good leaders in the church. Well, this is what he pointed out – read the Bible and notice how many time God calls people to be leaders, vs. how many times God calls people to be followers. Of course we can all think of the many “follow me” scriptures in the gospels. But even Moses, whom we think of as a great leader, was really called to follow – after all, he didn’t set the direction in the wilderness – it was the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day! Even Paul stresses not his leadership qualities, but his followership qualities, as he follows Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in his ministry.
So let me just ask you a question, and let you sit with it for a while – how does it affect your ministry, whether you are a pastor, elder, deacon, or lay person, to see yourself primarily as a follower of Jesus Christ, instead of a leader of God’s people? What does it mean for you to lead as a faithful follower?