“I am a Follower: the Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus” is a paradigm-shifting experience. In this book (on it, too, since it’s kind of on the cover), Leonard Sweet makes the point that “it’s never been about leading.” Sweet describes much of the modern church as an organism that has missed the point. We spend time learning to lead, when we were truly called to follow.
Each year we – and I certainly include myself as part of this “we” – spend a great deal of time reading books on leadership, attending leadership conferences, and seemingly trying to fit ourselves into a certain top-down mentality. When in truth the call of Jesus was to follow. Sweet wants to know where conferences on Followership are being held today? This is actually a question that my Leadership Class (I think the term “ironic” could indeed be inserted here) has discussed before.
I do find myself drawn to the statements and ideas of Sweet – I mean, Shane Claiborne does recommend this book, so that had me right from the start -, though I still don’t know that I find myself fully aligning with his tenets. I agree that we tend to focus much on learning to lead, which plays itself well to an individualistic society. Yet, we don’t spend time learning what it truly means to follow. Sweet uses a couple of fantastic allegories to show what it means to follow. One is the Horse Whisperer, which seemed like a sappy movie, but it makes a great illustration for what it means to follow.
The greatest analogy is of a dance party that started at the Gorge a few years ago during the Sasquatch Festival. Follow this link to the video and check it out on Youtube, and you’ll see a great allegory of how a movement can begin through followership. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZUkae0mKnc&feature=fvst) Yes, it is somewhat comical, but I think it illustrates well how an entire movement can begin in such a short period of time. And how people will do absolutely bizarre things in positions of following someone else. When we link up with the rhythm of the leader – the right leader, obviously – we empower others to do the same.
(I also really enjoyed the story of the “Old man and his horse,” which you can find in my previous blog.)
Overall, this is truly interesting book, and I would recommend it to anyone in a position of leading or following – which I think pretty much encompasses all of us. The book is set up to be able to work through in a small group setting. Sweet also includes A LOT of quotes, exegesis, and examples. It is also broken up into small segments – a page or two, up to many pages – so it becomes easy to read in smaller sittings or as a devotional. If you feel like being challenged, then give it a shot!
This book was provided for me free by Booksneeze for review. I have no requirement to write a positive review. I just like it.