What makes a great leader? We live in an age where unprecedented attention is being paid to leadership. You walk in a bookstore and you find shelves and shelves bulging with books on leadership. There’s servant leadership, visionary leadership, strategic leadership, team leadership, co-leadership, Leadership by the book, Leadership with a Stick, The Marshmallow Leader… (OK, I made those last couple up)
You can get books on what makes a great corporate leader, a great political leader, a great non profit leader…there is even a genre of leadership books about leaders in history:
---Abraham Lincoln on Leadership
---Jesus as CEO
---Attila the Hun’s Leadership Secrets
---Elvis on Leadership (Just kidding!)
But, here’s a book that is hard to find…What makes a great follower? See, very little, if anything is said about the art of following/follow-ship. I think it is because there’s this idea in our culture that follow-ship is what you get stuck with if you don’t get to lead. Have you seen the t-shirt “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes”? I think that says a lot about what our culture thinks about leaders and followers.
However, the truth is that followership is a fundamental part of all of our lives. We are born as followers: Little kids follow their parents around and learn from them, players are taught to follow the coach, students to follow their teachers, etc…
More than that, Jesus said that if anyone wants to be associated with him, following is essential. He did not say, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and lead me.” See, it is not about doing what I want, but what he wants for us. His one call is “Follow me. Be with me. Watch me. Trust me. Obey me. Devote yourself to me.”
Christians are followers. That is what a disciple does. And, when we follow Christ, we seek to give him our full devotion. That is why our mission statement is “Loving people toward full devotion to Jesus Christ.”
So, what makes a great follower? Great followers are proactive. They are people of initiative. This is countercultural…which says great followers hang around waiting for someone to tell them what to do. This is not a great follower. This type of person is characterized by passivity, by the ability to drift… See, people think of great followers as sheep…who follow the lead sheep over a cliff. The Bible does not call people to this kind of followership.
God wants us to follow him actively, and to invite others to follow as well.