For years we have had this collection of short articles posted on line and we slowly add to them as new topics come up. We don't claim to have all the answers, but we're sharing how we see things. As we all share, our perspectives are widened, and it becomes easier to lay aside fear and dead religion and to choose instead pathways of freedom, boldness, life, and love. We hope you enjoy the mythbusters.
Myth buster #6 - "Lead, Follow, or Get out Of The Way"
Here is another nonbiblical saying that floats freely around Christian circles. What a great recipe for a cult this is. Let's dissect the saying.
1. "Lead,..." The Bible is shockingly free of the words "lead, leader, and leadership". In most cases where these words do appear, it is in a negative context - blind leaders of the blind, etc. Jesus told us not to place humans as leaders over us. Period. He said those who were greatest in his kingdom were the ones who served others, never lording it over them. The Biblical model for influence is by being an example, not by empire building. And on this point, much of the church, "leadership" is in huge obvious bigtime disobedience. We are not called to lead people, we are called to share the Good News with each other - that God indwells us, has open communication with us because of the Cross, and that He is able to lead each one of us. And that is what we come together to celebrate, uphold, and remind each other of.
2. "follow,..." If we follow anyone but God, we will find our lives diverted, aborted, and shipwrecked. Following a person is just an excuse not to follow God. Most people are terrified of removing all of the human mediators in our lives and answering only to God. This is because we will have to take responsibility for our own lives. Following a person is also a sin against that person. Many people follow human leaders and then make a big fuss when they turn out to be human. What were we thinking? People who are vaunted up as leaders need Jesus as much as any of the rest of us. They do not deserve the damaging isolation or the impossible expectations. It is a terrible thing to set a person up as your god...or even as a sub-god. It's terrible for you, terrible for them.
3."...or get out of the way." This is like saying, "if you are not part of our agenda for conquering the world with our crushing version of Christianity, then you are not worthy, so step aside". I think I remember Jesus saying he'd leave his healthy flock to search for a lost lamb. On the other hand, if you are leading or following people, yes, you are in somebody's way. Jesus said the religious leaders of His day were standing in the door, neither entering in nor allowing anyone else to enter.
There is a line from a song written in the 80s, "Some people want to abuse you, some people want to be abused". This is a true statement about fallen human nature. So let's not structure our churches around it, ok? There is another song --, "We don't need another hero. We just need to know the way home."
The Biblical replacement for "Lead, follow, or get out of the way," is, "Serve, and stand in the freedom of Jesus, who is the Way."