John Maxwell once said, “If no one is following you. then you are not leading. You are taking a walk.” There is a little bit of pressure in saying: “Do what I do. Follow me” But that’s what great leaders say. Jesus repeatedly said it. Paul did too. Paul gave early church leaders plenty of challenging words in his writings, but his biggest challenge was the one he put on himself. He told the rag-tag group in Corinth: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Dear church leader could you say what Paul said? Follow me, as I follow Christ.
Could you tell the people whom you influence: “Put me under a microscope. Examine my life. Look at my social media posts. Notice how I interact with those people who get under my skin. Checkout my time commitments. Look at my bank statements and how I spend my money. Hear my interactions with non-believers. Am I attempting to influence people toward Jesus? Watch me in a crowd or view me when I’m all alone. Look at my life, then do what I do.” Could you say that?
A defeatist would say, “Oh no, don’t look at me, I will mess up.” (Of course, you will mess up. You are a human, the last time I checked). Visionary, godly leaders says, “I take on the challenge to live in a Christ-like manner in all of my relationships and in all areas of my life. Will I mess up? Hopefully not often. But when I do, I will get back up and move forward, because that’s what Christ-like leaders do. Follow me, as I follow Christ”
Dear church leaders, here’s an even bigger challenge: Could we say the same thing about your church to other churches? “Look at us. Not in an arrogant, ‘look-at-me-I’m better-than-you’ sort of way, but look at the way we operate. Audit our books. Notice where we spend our monies. How do we treat one another? Pay attention to how we care for the ‘the least of these.’ Are we investing in our community? What are our evangelism techniques? Look at what we are doing for Jesus and then do that. Follow us as we follow Jesus.”
Could we say those words? Could you offer that challenge to your surrounding churches or to other churches across the country? If not, why not?
“The times– they are a changin.” There are challenges from the left and right. Temptations are all around. People are walking out of churches and not looking back. Our society is becoming more and more post-Christian. Under our watch is the greatest decline in Christianity in America. Right now. It’s happening under our noses. The message of Jesus is being shut out. Can this post-Christian trend be turned around? What are we doing about it?
I believe the tide can turn. I believe God can work in America. I believe revival can come. How? Change occurs when Godly leaders personally and local churches collectively say, “Follow us as we follow Jesus.” Then actually living into those expectations.
The six words our society needs church leaders to say: Follow me, as I follow Christ.
Can you say it?
Will you say it?
Don’t just say it, live it out. Follow me, as I follow Christ!