The Follow First Leader
Use challenges to serve and love.
For the past 16 years our preaching pastor has often risen at three or four in the morning. It's not because he's an early bird. He has trouble sleeping. But he wisely uses the time to prepare sermons and care for his own soul in Bible reading and prayer. We've benefitted from his quiet service in the night hours in myriad ways.
His service was a model for me. Now, at 43 years old, I find myself waking in the middle of the night. When I am unable to get back to sleep I often think to myself, Dennis would use this opportunity to pray and read and prepare. So I get up and pray and read and prepare. My authority served me and I want to serve others as a result.
Following precedes leading
Christian discipleship is all about following. As disciples of Jesus, we are all followers first and foremost. Following first is a lesson that extends throughout life. Children learn to follow God by obeying their parents. Apprentices learn a craft my mimicking a master. In the church we learn to lead by following our elders and pastors and overseers. There's a practical payoff as well. Not everyone is a natural leader. Some of us learned to lead by following. Become a good follower. It's not an easy thing to do. But in the long run it will make you a wiser leader, one that others will be glad to follow.
Ross Guthrie is a pastor at Christ Community Church in Jackson, Tennessee.
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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