5 Signs of a Productive Follower
Everybody desires to be the leader, but few desire to follow. As I write this, my oldest son (in preschool) is designated as class leader today. He is three, so do not expect him leading on his own. If he was, expect candy, monster trucks, and toys for all. The class leader is set up as a big helper. The teacher is still in the leading role, but my son will assist and have opportunities to lead at the same time.
The church is set up in a similar fashion. Above all, God is the leader of the flock. God appoints Pastors as leaders under His sovereign will, and other Pastors and staff under the Pastor’s leadership. Jesus called the apostles and He simply called them to follow Him.
I serve as a Pastor of Students and Outreach at my church. I’m naturally in a role that requires me to be a follower and leader. I have opportunities to lead, but my leading comes in response to how I follow the direction the senior pastor and leadership set, including direction I help with at times. Here are five signs of a productive follower.
1. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS KNOW THEIR ROLE.
This often takes humility, but knowing your exact role will propel you as a productive follower. Job descriptions and guidelines are there for a reason. Your role is generally laid out. If for some reason it is not, ask and let it be known.
2. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS PLAN TO FOLLOW.
Planning and preparing is essential for most areas of life. We plan vacation, leisure, entertainment, education, and many other day-to-day activities. A productive follower must plan to lay aside our agenda so that what we are following is championed. Not planning to follow will result in a me…me…me mentality.
3. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS STRIVE FOR UNITY.
Unity takes hard work and dedication. Ephesians four highlights the importance of unity in the body of Christ. The church should be the most united place on earth, yet, unity is often neglected for personal preference. It is essential that we aim to be a united front. If we the leadership fail to be united, how can we expect the church to follow?
4. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS ENGAGE CAREFULLY.
Careful and precise engagement is necessary for productivity. Patience can be difficult to achieve and maintain. However, a good leader ought to be willing to have productive engagement with their followers. When you engage (and you should sometimes), ask yourself if you are being careful and not careless. If we follow well, we will have plenty of opportunities for engagement. Earn the right to be engaged.
5. PRODUCTIVE FOLLOWERS INTERJECT APPROPRIATE
Some of us believe we have to interject our thoughts and opinions early and often. Sometimes this is warranted (if something is unbiblical) right away, but more so than not, the timing might be too soon. Understanding you leader’s personality will be the key to unlocking when and how you interject. You better have a good reason (and be able to back it up) when you interject your thoughts on a situation. Do not be afraid to speak up, but understand that there is a time and place to do so.
A productive follower essentially strives to maintain this status. It takes a daily heart check to fully be productive. You may have the best idea, but it may not be best for this particular time or moment. Be willing to humble yourself and ultimately follow Jesus first and the rest will follow. The Disciples set aside opinions and personal preference to follow Jesus. We should be willing to do the same!