Richard Langer and Joanne J. Jung have put their finger on one of the major causes of the ineffectiveness of Christian outreach and Christian organizations: everybody believes they are called to be a leader.
They show how this belief is unbiblical and ineffective and urge us to replace it with the desire to be followers of Jesus. They tell us that followership is more important than leadership, that followership is the foundation of effective leadership. They quote the apostle Paul, who said: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). We have no right to expect others to follow us unless they can be assured that we are following Christ.
This book often uses the word followership. This was a new word to me, but they did not invent the word for this book. They quote literature that advocates followership in business and work relationships and show how that term applies in Christian life and has its true basis in the Bible.
To be a follower is not to be a passive and obedient lemming. The writers list three qualities that characterize true followership: 1) deference to others; 2) zeal and engagement; 3) mission ownership. A true follower is committed to a project and demonstrates initiative in carrying it out, yet is able to receive input and instructions from others and work harmoniously with them.
I have observed that evangelical Christians often have a tendency to each think that they have a personal mission, or ministry. It has seemed to me that the inspiration may be good but the individualism tends to fragment the witness of Christ’s love. This book is a good antidote to that individualism.
This is just a brief introduction to the concept of followership advocated in the book. I would recommend thoughtful reading and consideration of the book.
The Call to Follow, Hearing Jesus in a Culture Obsessed with Leadership, Copyright 2022 by Richard Langer and Joanne J. Jung. Published by Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois.