|I am a Follower June 27, 12|
My daugher asked me one day if I had the book I am a Follower, by Leonard Sweet. I had thought I had read everything that he had written. Well I had fallen behind. So I bought this book and a few others Leonard is an amazingly productive writter, and began to read. I must say this has had a profound effect on me. It came to me at the right moment.
You see I was struggling with growing old, no I am old, near the end of my career as a Pastor feeling like a failure. Looking back asking myself was it worth all the hurt, the abuse that churches lay on you, did I accomplish anything with my life? The answers that I was giving my self were not positive in fact I came to the conclusion that it was all a waste of time. Now I know why Solomon wrote Ecc. For one of the few times in my life I was doubting my calling, doubting my abilities, doubting the goodneess of God.
Then I began to read I am a Follower. I had bought into the idea that the church needs leaders. I was a leader in this church for 16 years. I helped this church transition theologically, worship styles are continuing to evolve, Ministries have come and gone. Yet here we were shinking. Instead of getting bigger we were getting smaller. I was leading and for the first time people were not following me. Sweet's first chapters deal with the leadership myth, he frees us from being God to being God's followers. I am not called to lead but to follow. Very freeing. I need to follow God I mght be the first follower but I am no longer addicted to the need for others to follow me. At least I am moving that way.
I am at the point in the book where he is talking about failure and how God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. Which is nothing but our failures. I have preached on 2 Cor 12:9, I had head knowledge of being weak but in reality I spent most of my time doing things for God and saying look at how good I am. It really hurt to realize that all that I had accomplished in my strength has failed. A lot of my good ideas were now coming back to bite me in the ass. It was the last thing that I wanted in my life at this stage. I wanted to go out a winner, a popular pastor, who is loved by his people and who will be missed. Instead they might be really glad to get rid of me.
Sweet mentions that in our strengths we bless people but it is our weaknesses that we supernaturally bless the world. He shared a story about a Epic Failure Conference in the US. Where people who have failed come together to celebrate their weakness, instead of bragging about their accomplishments. This has promopted me to set aside Aug 19, 2012 at 7:30 as a night for Epic Failure Celebration. I am not sure if anyone will come. I will be here. I am hoping that by getting together in our weakness we will unleash the power and the glory of the Risen King Jesus. Maybe you will come.
I strongly recommend that you read this book. I am a follower, will help shape your thinking and serving for the years to come. May Sweets insight bless you as much as it has blessed me.