I hear so many songs about “Jesus is the center of my life, la la la…” today. We are driven and passionate about thinking that way because we are looking for the one right answer; a fool-prof solution. I am finding out as I journey through the Scriptures and my own heart that took take a trip to the center is actually to travel away from Jesus. He is always on the margins and the edges and out at the boundaries.
The cornerstone is not always the center.
To find and follow Jesus, we must decentralize our thinking and decenter everything. I am very aware of my A.D.H.D and my ability to grow tired of trends and trinkets, especially in the realm of faith. Our culture of “American-ized” faith made success to mean more than holiness. It’s like this- You wake up as a somebody in a world of 7 billion somebodies and the game is to be a better somebody, a happier somebody, a more secure somebody, a more loved somebody, a more significant somebody, a more attractive somebody, a more accomplished somebody, a wealthier somebody, a more spiritual somebody – a somebody with more pleasure, more comfort, and more attainment.
We view this world of somebodies through the lens of scarcity. There is only so much happiness, pleasure, love, significance, and attainment to go around, and we devise our strategy to get ours. So, for some time now, I have been journeying through many spiritual challenges as God presses me for more obedience and wider arms. One of the major aspects of my current changing is my ability to let loose of the church’s “leadership” phenomenon and embrace what Len Sweet calls “follower-ship.”
We have had a time of so many leadership books and self-help books that the industry itself keeps growing. The crash of 2008 actually began to disrupt the “leader explosion” within the church because so many leadership books were based on successful business principles that ultimately failed, thus the fall. Successful leaders usually work themselves out of a job. Instead, the leader trend has produced the single most arrogant and territorial generation of church “leaders” in the history of the Christendom. I spent years during that time trying to become a better leader, and forgot all about following. God has called us to FOLLOW HIM. Leading is what Jesus does, and in some ways, I forgot that. We all have.
According to Sweet, a person engaged in “Follower-ship” is one who has said yes to being chosen and who announces that chosenness to to the world. Jesus choses us, but we are free to decline our chosenness.
To follow a person means you are following someone who is indeed alive. The key issue for Jesus followers is our ability to see where “Jesus is alive in the world today, and follow Him. If more of us would just let go of our “lead” titles, we might just be able to “follow” Him to the edges of the earth.
I will let you know how far I get…