I am a natural-born leader. If you asked me to get up in front of a group of thousands and sing, preach, or speak I would do it boldly, without hesitation. No stage fright for this girl! Leadership is something that comes naturally to me, however one of the questions God has been asking me in the past few days is this:
Kelsey, do you know how to follow?
Whether it’s in conversation, in ministry, in friendship, or in life, I have come to realize that following is not as easy for me as leading. Ironically, I’ve led myself to believe that I’m a great follower. Sure, I can allow others to take over and relinquish the reins of control…if I really wanted to.
My friends, the sad truth is that I’m just beginning to learn how to follow the lead of others, and I’m not very good at it. Yet, like the old sports adage – practice makes perfect.
It’s painfully difficult, but I’m learning.
Following is just as much of an art as leading. If anything, the more I learn how to follow, the better leader I become. Relinquishing the leadership position gives me the freedom to allow others to have their voices heard and their gifts known. After all, how do we know whether we’re great leaders if we’re not given the opportunity to lead? Likewise, how do we know we have a great capacity to follow if we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to follow?
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
Following the lead of others around me is a beautiful representation of the love we have for others – honor and respect is rooted in the act of following. When I humble my own selfish desire to control and to lead, I honor those around me and their gifts of leadership, even if their technique looks differently than my own. There is beauty in the give-and-take of community, in the relinquishing and building up of taking turns being the leader. I wonder what our churches and our communities would look like if we all took turns being the leader?
Let’s do a heart check – Do you know how to follow?