Take Me To Your Leader
Take Me To Your Leader
by Stephanie Miller
Follow The Leader
A lot of people overestimate what it means to be a leader. It may seem like a big responsibility to be someone that others look up to and follow. Let’s take the pressure off! The truth is that every leader has a leader. Some follow people based on popularity and influence, like how many followers they have on Instagram, or what office or title they hold. That is underestimating what it means to be a leader; not everyone with a platform or a microphone is someone worth following.
I believe the most successful leaders live for someone bigger than themselves: the most successful people I know follow Jesus. Keep in mind that ultimate success is not just defined by our earthly lives, but by where we spend eternity. If we want to be kingdom- minded, impactful people while we live here on earth it is important that we understand what it truly means to be a leader. Leadership isn’t about symbol or status. You can be on level ground with your peers and still lead from the pack.
The apostle Paul said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV) In this one statement he masterfully shows what it means to lead from the pack. First off, he acknowledges that people are following him. Whether you have a title or not, everyone is a role model to someone. When we least expect it we will find that people have been watching us and examining our example. If you’ve ever had someone approach you and tell you how much something you said or did impacted them, then you know that it reinforces the fact that nothing is truly hidden. If you haven’t experienced this, I guarantee there is someone somewhere who remembers what you said or did- for better or worse.
God is merciful and will forgive us when we drop the ball on our responsibility to reflect Him well. But remember- your example to your peers matters. What you say, how you say it, how you dress, how you serve, your attitude and demeanor, and your faithfulness and consistency to the things of God matter. And how you live before your friends in the world definitely matters. We are not as invisible as we think we are! I was walking in the park with a friend one day and as we got back to her car, the person parked next to us was getting out of his car. He turned to us and said, “Hey, you guys are from that church! I recognize you.” Folks, I had never seen that person, nor been to that park before but he knew exactly which church we went to by name and location.
In our culture, everyone is saying “do what makes you happy!” Hyphens, we ought to do what makes us right with God and right before men. When we become Christians, we become Christ Representers (cue Jonathan McReynolds song). On a personal level, this means I don’t just live for myself. Everything I do is now a representation of Jesus, whom I have declared as my King. Real talk? We’re humans and we don’t like being told what to do or having expectations put on us. I get it. But we must remember that we are responsible for the message our lives communicate.
Whether in private or in public, we don’t get to just do whatever we want to do. In my life personally, I challenge myself not to participate in anything that I wouldn’t want anyone who looks up to me to participate in. I think that leading is about practicing what you preach, and making sure you preach the truth. Paul had a firm grasp on what it meant to be an ambassador of Christ. That is why in Corinthians 11 Paul told believers to follow only “as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul’s standard was Jesus, because he knew that only Jesus can sustain a person.
Imagine the pressure of trying to lead by your own example! Paul strips the prestige, and pressure, from his reputation by presenting the idea that if he himself isn’t following Christ, then he isn’t worth following.
Lead From The Pack
Hyphens, our standard must be the same. The world we live in is too dark for us to be rubber- band Christians whose beliefs and convictions bend and sway with the changes of life. Our peers and especially new converts are watching our example. We must take it as a personal responsibility to represent Jesus well to even the people we think should already know better. The church is only as strong as the weakest member. It is our responsibility to be people who spur one another to good works (Hebrews 10:23). The beauty of being part of the church is that we all play a part. We don’t all have the same strengths and we don’t have to be perfect people, but God’s design is for us to be people who build each other up, offering our God- given gifts to help unify and mature the church (Ephesians 4).
It isn’t always convenient. We may not always feel like being an example, or sacrificing, or whatever we are called to. But being an ambassador is an identity, not just a job and identity takes no days off. The gifts and convictions God has given us aren’t just about us. When you start to feel weary and wonder if what you’re doing makes a difference, remind yourself: your life is bigger than you. You don’t individually have to change the whole world, you just have to impact your world. It starts with you being a leader right where you are.
Your witness is so much deeper than just your words. Leading from the pack is not about saying the perfect thing or being flawless and never making mistakes. It’s about relentlessly pursuing Jesus and striving to please Him in all we do. Now, that’s a person worth following.