Disciple-Making Field Manual: Grow as a Follower

“HE GUIDES ME IN PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” ~PSALM 23:3

Outward Characteristics

Denying Self/Obeying God

Seeking God’s Will

Effective Input: Confession of Sins

“Followership is the beginning and the end of effective leadership”*

The 2nd mark of a Disciple is one who follows. We all follow something. The main image of leader and followership throughout scripture is that of a Shepherd and Sheep relationship. Like sheep, we have a tendency to follow either “trails or tails.” Sheep are notorious for following either the worn out ruts of an old trail or the alluring tail of the sheep in front of them. In fact, in July 2005 nearly 1500 sheep followed each other off a cliff killing nearly 450 of them. “It is a curious behavior of sheep that once one picks a trail, the rest simply follow the tail in front of them without regard for their destination.”* In order to prevent such calamity, a shepherd will sometimes lead from the front guiding the sheep, or at other times drop to the back to push the sheep.

Another way to describe a disciple is a “student.” However, disciples are more than mere studiers of information. They are receiving practical life-on-life guidance. In essence, they are learning through an apprenticeship in order to take over the craft. This transfer is accomplished through watching, helping and doing.

It begins with the leader’s mantra “I do, you watch” which develops the knowledge base. Then comes the invitation to assist —“I do, you help,” in order to develop a rudimentary skill base. Once the skills are established, the leader moves from the front to the rear in order for the follower to develop the experience necessary: “You do, I help.” Ultimately, the final stage is “You do, I watch” so that the follower receives feedback regarding the endeavor.

To position ourselves as followers, it requires a position of surrender. A disciple has surrendered, repented and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus. This is a continual process of denying oneself and obeying the call of God. Therefore, growing as a follower means we develop the listening skills necessary to hear his voice, and surrender control to trust Him.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…my sheep listen to my voice.” In order to know the voice of God, we must demonstrate the first mark of discipleship by spending time in God’s Word. This should then convict us that we are often not wanting to follow God’s leading but the old worn out trails or the alluring tails of our lives. This should lead us towards repentance—which means a turning around. Confession is a process where we admit our failures, ask for forgiveness and change our behavior. Therefore, to grow as a follower we stop heading where we want and start allowing Jesus to direct every aspect of our lives.

Questions for Reflection

• What are you following? Where is it leading you?

• How can you develop the listening skills necessary to hear the voice of God in your life?

 

Action Step

  • In order to–GROW AS A FOLLOWER
  • My next step is–to watch First Follower and reflect on a ruthless self assessment here.
  • I will do it before–_________________________.

 


* Tim Laniak, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks.

 

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