Leading the Followers

Posted by Kelly.Staples on July 13, 2015


Do you remember when you were in grade school and inevitably struggling on some class problem and your teacher would comment with some cutesy phrase like, "There are too many Chefs/Kings/Generals and not enough Line Cooks/Peasants/Foot Soldiers in this group!”

We’d all sigh and look around, making eye contact and trying to shame or convince others via pained facial expressions that they needed to back down and let you continue to lead.

I find myself in a grown-up version of this situation very often. From times when I feel stretched between two strong opinions and leaders, to times where the tide is most certainly going steadily in one direction, I am more often than not called to... follow.

I’m making my peace with it.

You see, the world needs more follower-leaders. They are the people who say, “Yes! Let’s do this! I’m right behind you!” or even sometimes, "I’m really not sure about this, but we’re going to try something new and we’re going to try it right now."

Everyone likes a non-anxious presence. And no, the real leaders don’t count. Of course they’re not anxious, they think their ideas are great; they’ve got that fancy leader’s confidence! Follower-leaders exude a cautious optimism. They walk faithfully. They are adventurous in spirit but careful in execution.

And sometimes, they even disagree with the leader. There have been a few times in ministry where I have followed a leader toward something I didn’t think was the best idea. Sometimes it completely changes my mind. (For those keeping track, this is my public admission that the Reverse Food Truck was in fact, an excellent idea.)

Sometimes it doesn't change my mind, but following a leader you believe in (whether it’s a particular church, a denomination, or the confusing words of Christ himself) becomes an exercise in discernment, and thoughtful followers LOVE discernment.

So friends, fellow non-leadership types, I invite you to follow with me. Be swept up in the passion of another. Be the guy behind the trailblazer and hold your head high, because that guy also carries the light of Christ out into the world and is a leader in his or her own right.

There’s ministry to be done, and Christ’s call awaits. Let’s go!  (after you, of course...)


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