Followship Develops Leadership
By: Lindsey Whitmore
In recent weeks, with a new year rapidly approaching, I have been asking myself many reflective questions. One of which is, ‘What kind of leader do I want to be known as?’
You see, once we believe with our minds and confess with our mouths Jesus is Lord and give Him all authority over us, we die to self, and with Christ we are raised to life anew. Through our rebirth, we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our identity is no longer in who we were, but in who we are becoming; ‘little Christs,’ or in modern day terms, ‘Christians.’ By adoption, we are now sons and daughters of God, the true King of this world (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Being a child of the King means we are accepted, loved, and set apart for God's special purposes. We no longer are slaves to this world, our past, limitations, or Satan, but instead are slaves to righteousness. (1 John 3:1, Romans 15:7, Romans 6:18).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
We have been given new lives and names. God is now able to use us for His good works, which were planned long before we were even thought of by our earthly parents. God has always had a plan and purpose for our lives, and we are now in the proper posture to pursue it. With our new allegiance comes new responsibilities.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
This responsibility is to pursue God's truth by looking to His Son, Jesus Christ, and to live as He lived through daily surrendering of ourselves to the power of Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to obey all Jesus commanded us, such as the Greatest Commandment – love God over all else and love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Another is the Great Commission – take Jesus' authority and ‘go,’ making disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20). The pattern of discipleship is to continue – disciples making disciples.
Whether we are an hour old in our salvation or have been walking faithfully for years, God sets us apart as His spiritual leaders. As His leaders, we put His mission before our own, yield ourselves fully to God, and learn how to cast powerful, biblical, God-honoring vision so others can grow in all areas of their walks as well.
John Piper defines spiritual leadership as “knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there, relying on God’s power, so they can bring glory to God by the way they think, feel, and act.” This is the type of leader, representative, and ambassador of God I want to be known as. I pray it is your desire as well.
I read recently about leadership being likened to a compass that consists of four ninety-degree intervals – North, South, East, and West. A good leader learns to lead in all directions. ‘South’ are those who have been entrusted to them, ‘North' are those who lead over them, and ‘East’ and ‘West’ are their peer-group settings. The most overlooked and difficult leadership challenge for most is the one in the middle – ourselves.
This brings me back to my initial question, ‘What kind of leader do I want to be known as?’ I pray it is one who always remembers “it is a great privilege and blessing to receive a call from the holy God”1 and one who remembers it is my responsibility to keep my calling sure by keeping my life focused.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision…Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Philippians 3:15-16 MSG
I pray I am one who is consistently able to receive and communicate God’s vision clearly. As a leader, we should always remain teachable, fluid, and creative in our methods, while firm in mission. I pray I will be a leader who does whatever it takes to keep my embers hot. May I have the spirit of John Wesley when he said, “Light yourself on fire with passion, and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”
I pray I am a leader who is always looking to develop my gifts and help others to do the same. May I be first to accept a challenge before asking another to do so. I pray to be a leader who displays a character submitted to Christ, is humble in spirit, and always pursues the fear of the Lord over people, obstacles, or imagination. I pray I am a leader who is able to go deeper, daily, in my love of God and people. Lastly, I pray I am a leader who is able to lead others into their leadership roles in the mission of Christ.
“You don't lead people by what you say to them; you lead them by what they see you do. True leaders are self-leaders.” -Israelmore Ayivor
1. Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360° Leader (Zondervan, 2012)