Will They Follow You? By Wayne Hastings
The More I Lose Myself, The More They Follow
You have a team of people, and you want them to pick up on the vision and follow you to implement God’s calling for us. As passionate, goal-oriented leaders, we all have a vision for our organization, department, and ourselves. But will others follow?
Moses was intelligent. He spoke to God face-to-face. At times his people loved him, and many times they grumbled, complained, and didn’t make it to the Promised Land. How can we avoid a trap like this? How can we inspire our people not merely to work hard but pull with us to achieve the vision? I find one answer in Paul’s advice to the Philippians.
“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.”
– Philippians 2:17
Learning from Paul
Let’s backtrack a minute. Paul had the resume and credentials to be a successful leader, but as he mentored others like Timothy or led groups of people, something else about the Apostle Paul caused people to follow his lead. And remember, following Paul often led to incredibly adverse circumstances for his followers. But they followed. They achieved success.
What made the difference? I believe it was Paul’s selflessness. As a role model to various new pastors, church leaders, and people, Paul didn’t merely teach; his behavior and selfless attitude gave them something to watch and emulate. I find four ways in which Paul’s selflessness led to people who wanted to follow him and do the work the Lord called them to do.
Singularity of Purpose
He wasn’t distracted by the “skinny rabbits’ that we often chase. Paul had one goal—the faith of his people. He wanted them to grow and mature. He wasn’t distracted by the noise of infighting and control. He saw himself as a drink offering poured out over the alter and gone. But, he knew if he helped his people succeed and understand the ultimate goals, the church would grow.
“But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.” (Php 2:22 emphasis mine). Paul considered Timothy a son, and Timothy caught Paul’s vision and teaching as he walked with the apostle. How do you mentor? Do you feel your people are walking with you? Or are they listening with distracted ears? Paul selflessly gave of himself to Timothy and others.
Paul worked with the people. He didn’t confine his selfless behavior to his leadership team. He gave the best he had to everyone. Philippians 2:23 tells us that Paul is sending Timothy back to them. He could have kept Timothy to himself, but that was not Paul’s way. His heart was for the people and their needs.
God’s Will First
Paul set aside his plans and sought God’s will. Paul trusted the Lord completely. He wanted to return to the Philippian church, but He desired to follow God’s will first. Paul measured everything in his life against God’s will. His selfless attitude caused him to forget about himself and his plans. He sought God’s way and didn’t selfishly hold on to what he thought was the best plan or strategy.
A Call to Action
Do you want your team to follow you confidently? I suggest you learn from the apostle Paul. Be selfless in your purpose, your mentoring, and your people. Seek God’s will, not your plans. When you, as a leader, forget about yourself and turn your full attention to God and your people, you’ll see incredible things happen. They may not happen the way you think they should—God may have other plans. But with His help, you’ll have a united team ready to do what God is calling you and them to do.
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