Great Leaders Are First Terrific Followers

This is a guest post on leadership that my friend, Adam Jones has written! I hope that this is a challenge to you:

Following is where we learn patience, grace and compassion.  It’s where we learn to hold our tongue and listen, where we learn which hills are worth dying on and which are not.  Following teaches us to submit our will to someone who is ultimately wiser and more gifted than we are.

Without first learning to serve and follow, we will never be able to lead with empathy and understanding.  There’s a great chance that we’ll begin to lead with arrogance instead of gentleness.  And we ultimately risk gaining the reputation of a bully rather than a teacher.

But following takes time.  Surrendering our agenda to someone else’s seems like a waste of time, doesn’t it?  I mean, if God has called us to lead, then we better start leading, right?  There’s this nagging voice in the back of our heads that’s telling us, “Go for it!  Take the reigns!  You’re better than this!  No one appreciates what you can do!”

It’s so tempting to step outside of our current reality of following and force the future we can imagine.  It would be so easy.

And so wrong.  Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that “there is a time for everything…”  There’s a time to lead and a time to follow.  A time to learn and a time to teach.  A time to set the pace and a time to pull the load.

God has positioned you right where you are…and maybe that means you’re following when you want to be leading.  You could step outside where God has you and make your own path but you would be pushing Him out and replacing His plan with your own.

If you’re in a season of following, resist the urge to climb the ladder on your own.  Be a terrific follower who is wholly committed to the cause and surrender yourself to God’s timing.  Learn, grow and prepare.  Because God is going to call your number.  When it fits His will, not yours.

About Adam: My name is Adam Jones.  I’ve been married to Grace for 10 years and have a son named Andrew.  I’ve been the student minister at Georgetown Church since March of 2006.  I currently work with JH/HS students and am the main speaker/leader at one of our 3 worship services.  The service I lead is called Soma and it meets in our gym while another service is happening in our sanctuary.  Soma began as a student worship service 6 years ago and transitioned to families and people of all ages at the beginning of this year. You can check out my blog at or catch me on twitter at @adamgcc.  On facebook, I’m

Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at

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