This morning, I needed to “follow” my husband into town to drop off a vehicle that needed to be worked on. Because he had to stop to get gas first, I got on the interstate before he did. Not too long after, I saw him in the rear view mirror zooming along in the passing lane. Since I can be a little feisty from time to time, I had the briefest temptation to move over to his lane and not let him pass me (-smile-). However, I thought better of it and let him pass. As I did, I thought about how foreign it can feel for leaders to follow. Most of the time, we are the ones blazing the trail, looking in our rear-view mirrors to see if people are able to keep up with us.
Yet, there are times when we need to follow, not lead. Of course this is always true in our relationship with Christ and our husbands; but there are also times in ministry when we need to step off the gas and let someone else take the lead. Here are some suggestions from my morning drive on how to be a good follower:
- Ease off the gas and allow someone else to get the lead. Don’t get feisty and begin to compete for the lead. This only leads to recklessness.
- Stay close to the leader and don’t let anything ugly get in between you. While I was following, an old, ugly, beat-up truck tried to get in between me and my husband. So, I sped up and got as close to my husband as I could so that wouldn’t happen. Sometimes, there are ugly feelings that try to come between you and your leader. These can be old things that you have gotten victory over, but they still try to rear their ugly head, feelings like pride or judgment or jealousy or negativity towards your leader. The best way to get rid of these feelings is by staying close to your leader. Stay close by praying for them and your relationship with them, stay close by seeing them as a human person in need of grace (just like you), stay close by crowding the old & ugly feelings away.
- Make it easy for your leader to lead. Because I had listened to the directions my husband gave before we left, as we were getting close to our exit, my husband put on his blinker and I quickly switched from the middle lane to the right hand lane so that he could easily get over as well. Are you easily led? Have you listened to the directions your leader has given so you can anticipate “lane changes”, making it easy for them?
- Relax and enjoy the ride! One of the things I loved about my morning drive is how relaxing it was to be the follower. I didn’t have to over-think anything; my main objective was to simply follow the leader. How freeing!
Being a follower can feel uncomfortable for a leader. However, every now and again, it is good for us to follow rather than lead. In addition to keeping us humble, it also allows us to experience what it’s like for those we lead to follow us. This causes us to get a new perspective, which makes us better leaders!
Your Friend in Ministry,