June 10th, 2017| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


In 1934, a college questionnaire completed by the parent of an applicant, Sara Pollard, to Vassar University described his daughter as “a follower than a leader.”

Guess what? Vassar admitted this young lady, explaining that the school “had enough leaders.”

Imagine that! A college accepting a self-confessed “follower.” Were they crazy, or what?

Everyone wants leaders. And everyone wants to be a leader.

Harvard’s goal: “to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society.”

Yale wants only “the leaders of their generation.

Princeton requires “leadership activities” for potential students.

Why, even Dallas Seminary wants to train “godly servant-leaders.” (Though, of course, DTS is a grad school and has a more narrower focus.)

But how about a “godly servant-follower”?

Leadership is the prize to win. Leadership skills are what are prized above all. The best society, the ideal community, the perfect nation, it seems, should be made up of Type As, trailblazing the way forward, with the rest of us meekly following their cue. Oh, wait, we’re all supposed to be leaders.

Said Susan Cain, a staunch supporter of introverts and others of that ilk (“followers”):

It’s part of the American DNA to celebrate those who rise above the crowd. And in recent decades, the meteoric path to leadership of youthful garage- and dorm-dwellers, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, has made king of the hill status seem possible for every 19-year-old. So now we have high school students vying to be president of as many clubs as they can. It’s no longer enough to be a member of the student council; now you have to run the school.”

Everyone wants to be chief, and nobody wants to be an Indian (even some of us who are born Indian!).

Enough already with leadership. What we need are some good followers. What good are leaders without followers?

Cain was right when she said that we need “leaders who are called to service rather than to status.” (Yup, godly servant-leaders.)

But that doesn’t seem to be the current notion of “leadership skills” sought in colleges and schools. What seems to be in demand are those extroverts who are loquacious and loud, who are driven and demanding, who direct and dominate. Bosses, in other words, who wield political and business power.

Rather, we need leaders who are models of godliness, exemplars of holiness, patterns of Christlikeness.

Robert Kelley, professor of management and organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University agrees. He coined the term “followership.”

What distinguishes an effective from an ineffective follower is enthusiastic, intelligent, and self-reliant participation—without star billing—in the pursuit of an organizational goal. … [One must] view the role of follower as legitimate, inherently valuable, even virtuous.”

Indeed, that’s what children of God are primarily called to be: followers. As Jesus exhorted:

“Follow me!”
Mark 1:14

“Followership” of the serving kind is what the life of the Christian is all about.

“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them;
and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you,
but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;
and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”
Mark 10:42–44

And in such followership, such servanthood, we follow our Lord who …

“… did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45

More Indians. Fewer chiefs.

(And that’s not an ethnic statement!)

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