Everything Rises and Falls on … “Followership”?

24 Feb

Everyone on the planet is writing books about Leadership! Casually walk through any major bookstore and you will see all kinds of books on the subject. These books promise you can: “Lead Like Jesus”, Lead from the “Second Chair”, Lead with a “Limp”, Lead in a Circle (360 Degrees), become the “Leader You Were Meant to Be” (scary) and of course “Release the Leader In You!”.

While most of us aspire to be leaders the fact is that the vast majority of our lives will be spent following someone else’s cause, direction or mandate. (Even when we have made it our own).

After some digging you will find only two books dedicated to what most of us must,  at some point, embrace. The Power of Followership, published in 1992 by Robert Kelley, and The Courageous Follower, published in 1995. They are not big sellers or are reserved for academic types who really need to stay behind closed doors anyway but they are pivotal works (secular) on the importance of being able to follow well.   “ZZZZZZZZZ…..snort, snort…wha… ?”

Ok, Here is the point: Most of us are terrible followers. We bristle when told we must do something that we don’t want to do…..And for the Christian, their faith will mean nothing to a lost and dying world if they cannot follow well. I spoke to a Godly Christian business man who employes a couple hundred people. He expressed a peculiar frustration: Of all of his personnel problems, the vast majority have to do with the Christians that he hired. (In large part because of their common faith, he assumed that these folks would be the ones who worked the hardest, had integrity and would be loyal to him.) He found many to feel entitled, lazy, untrustworthy and disloyal. A stinging indictment to be sure.

A Few Problems with Following:

  1. WE ARE AMERICANS!  Nobody tells us what to do! Our whole country was established based on the principle: Don’ t tell me what I can or cannot do!”
  2. LITTLE LAWYERS rise up inside of us whenever we are told we have to do something (Parent, boss, cop, organizational leader etc…) We question their authority, their direction and even their lineage!
  3. ABUSIVE LEADERS ABOUND! We have all had to submit to the authority of someone who abused their authority either by decree or neglect.
  4. WE HAVE REBELLIOUS HEARTS. (Jeremiah 17:9)


  1. God expects you to follow an unbelieving, unfair, mean, etc… boss, teacher, cop, parent, president, chairman and “grand poobah”! For it is God who established the authority in your life. (1 Peter 2)
  2. Authority in your life represents ORDER and not VALUE. In other words, someone’s authority has nothing to do with their value. (Contratary to Secular Humanism, scripture actually encourage followers of Christ to become less and less in their submission to both Christ and “every authority instituted among men” (John 3:30/1 Peter 2:13)
  3. Following a boss well gives you a unique platform to share what is really important, faith in Jesus Christ? You stand out “like a sore thumb”! How can you ever be a “light in a dark world” if your own bosses (and others) question your integrity or work ethic or loyalty?
  4. If we are unable to follow the authority that we can see, how can we follow the authority we cannot see? (John 4:20, interp)
  5. God uses an unfair authority figure to make us better….. (James 1:3)
  6. Scripture says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…. in other words not good at all.  (1 Sam 15:23)

While we are all busy learning how to be better leaders…we may want to pay a little more attention to following whomever God has placed in authority over us.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Discipleship, Leadership


One response to “Everything Rises and Falls on … “Followership”?

  1. chrisrivers

    February 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Excellent post Frank. Accepting the authority that God has placed in your life can be a powerful thing!


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