“Follow me as I follow Christ” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Very early in my time as an average pastor, I was overwhelmed by the demands of ministry. The pressure I placed on my shoulders to be the leader of the church was killing me. I had read all the books I could, tried as many things as I could and had wore myself out trying to develop myself as a leader.
Then one day I had a thought. Why am I working so hard to learn to be a better leader? After all, I am not actually the leader of my church. The church belongs to Jesus. It is His body, His people and His bride. This church I am leading has never belonged to me as the Pastor, to my board, or to my staff. We are not leading the church. Jesus is the leader. That thought set me free. From that point on I stopped trying to lead and started following. I even started referring to myself as the “Lead Follower” of my church. If Jesus is the leader, then the only thing I need to do is become a better follower and invite my church to follow Jesus with me. I think that is what Paul meant when he said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.” Its not that I am the standard God’s people need to follow, rather I am the lead follower as we all learn to follow Jesus together.
If Jesus is the leader, then the only thing I need to do become a better follower and invite the church to follow with me.
Recognizing that Jesus is the true leader helped me in several different ways.
- If Jesus is the leader, then it is His strength, His plan and His job to build His church. I was bearing an unnecessary burden. I was looking to myself to lead. I was trusting in my gifts, my strengths, and my ability as a leader. But Jesus never asked me to lead His church. That took the pressure off me and put me in my place as a follower. If I follow Jesus and let him lead, we will be a successful church because we will be an obedient church.
- If Jesus is the leader, it is his responsibility to provide. I found myself stressing over things like finances, what programs to do and how to fill our leadership positions. If Jesus is the leader then I have to believe he already has a plan. I just need to seek him and understand what His plan is. God is faithful. He has always provided when we let him lead.
- If Jesus is the leader, I need to become a better follower of Him instead of a better church leader. I have been focusing my energy on learning how to follow Jesus and less time on being a good leader. That doesn’t mean I am not learning from the leadership resources I have been given. I certainly am. But more so, I am learning that my ability to follow Jesus in my own life allows me to lead my church in following Jesus. My confidence as a leader has grown by learning how to hear His voice, know His heart and to lead His church based on my experience of following Him.
I believe we need today is more followers, not more leaders. We need more people willing to follow Jesus. There is a song on the radio right now that has the words “So many leaders… you asked for followers.” I think that’s true. What does Jesus want from you average pastor? He wants you to be a great follower. Jesus call has always been “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Become a great follower of Jesus and you will be the leader Jesus wants you to be.
Become a great follower of Jesus and you will be the leader Jesus wants you to be.