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L+L August 2015: Followership

8 years ago written by

Going With Him

I grew up attending a small Free Methodist church where we occasionally sang a hymn that concluded, “Where He leads me, I will follow. I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.”

According to, Salvation Army officer E.W. Blandy was inspired to write these lyrics after deciding to serve in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood instead of in a safer position at an established church. The lyrics
reflect Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

As a young newlywed, I took a brief sojourn from Free Methodism during my wife’s counseling internship at a suburban Chicago megachurch. I didn’t find much difference theologically at this congregation known for pioneering “seeker-
sensitive” worship services, but I noticed a big difference in the lingo. The pastors seemingly avoided the word “Christian” but repeatedly referred to “Christ followers.” At the same time, the church hosted a “leadership summit” that featured well-known pastors alongside corporate executives and government officials. Despite the frequent mentions of “followers,” I don’t remember ever seeing posters for a “followership summit.”

In the decade and a half since then, I’ve heard fellow Free Methodists increasingly refer to “Christ followers,” and I’ve added these words to headlines and articles in this magazine. Meanwhile, some of us host our own leadership summits. One of our strategic priorities ( is “Develop Leaders.” But how can one be a leader and a follower simultaneously? Is this a contradiction?

No, we can (and must) be followers of Jesus while also leading others to Him. That’s what Blandy did way back in the 1890s.

Let’s be followers who lead while also being leaders who follow. Keep reading for followership wisdom from leading/following leaders/followers.

Downloadable PDF: Light + Life August 2015

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