Jesus’ call is simple and clear: “Follow.” As fond as we are of declaring that “all Christians are leaders,” the core of our journey of faith is one of following. We are children of the Father, servants of the Master, sheep of the Shepherd.
The challenge is that most of modern society, and even contemporary Christian culture, doesn’t do a lot to aid us in that journey of followership. As we are immersed in leadership principles, we often skim over the fundamental work of developing ourselves as excellent followers: faithful stewards, valuable contributors, sharers in the ownership of a project, and yes—visionaries and influencers as well.
My own journey in Christian ministry, which included regular helpings of some of the best leadership literature, led me to frequently ask, “But where is the book for me?” Where is the resource that will encourage me right where I’m at, without a formal title or role of responsibility, and yet with a desire to do my part, to use my gifts, to cooperate with others towards the fulfillment of our mutual passions and collective vision?
It was in this season that I first encountered the term “followership,” and instantly the notion resonated with me. Here was a concept that surely got at the heart of what I am, what I want to be, how I want to grow and contribute. While the works on followership have been slowly multiplying in recent years (mostly in secular business literature), I still felt a significant gap in what was offered: the “book for me” would be an encouragement that I needn’t be a leader to make a difference, it would validate who I am and the opportunities for contribution that are currently available, and it would be a practical guide in what that followership could look like—the challenges, the resources, the opportunities, the relationships, and the questions to consider.
Finding that such a book didn’t exist led me to a place to hear God’s invitation to write it, and a partnership with Lexham Press/Faithlife which culminated in publishing books in 2016 and 2017.
Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture is a guidebook to encourage all people to follow with excellence in their workplaces, organizations, teams, and communities. Although my Christian faith and experiences are an undercurrent throughout the book, it’s presented without much specifically Christian content in order to be palatable to a non-faith-based audience; it’s an ideal opportunity for believers to bring biblical principles into their engagement with the world.
The book is supplemented with Bible study material in Embracing Followership: A Discussion Guide for Teams & Small Groups, a 16 session study resource containing a flexible menu of material for bringing the individual journey of followership into a specifically Christian group context. Along with biblical reflection and group dialogue are opportunities to consider application in the realms of one’s workplace (relationship with your boss/leader), one’s volunteer activities (relationships with one’s peers), and in a church/ministry context (considering followership in a specifically Christian environment).
From lay-people to full-time overseas Christian ministers, the ideas of following with excellence are an important facet of our spiritual growth and walk with the Lord as fellow members of the Body of Christ. These resources create opportunities for individual and group reflection to consider God’s expectations for us as we utilize the gifts He’s given and fulfill the stewardships He’s appointed to us, individually and collectively.
Learn more at EmbracingFollowership.com, where you can peruse dozens of blogs posts, download a free sample study from the Discussion Guide, and access free activities to use with your ministry staff, church committee, or discipleship training to build healthy mutual engagement in response to God’s call to follow Him.
—Allen Hamlin Jr has served overseas for 12 years, providing team building support to ministry teams around the world. He can be reached at Facebook.com/EmbracingFollowership, Twitter (@AllenHamlinJr, #EmbracingFollowership), and at embracingfollowership.com.