A follower. What a unique word. Not many people aspire to be a follower. When we play the game follow the leader most want to be the leader and have all the followers mimicking behind them. Do you know that you are called to be a follower?
Being a follower is not like being a nun or monk hidden away in a mountain monastery. God doesn’t call us to be quiet, secluded, and sheltered about our faith. Quite the country. He calls us to be actively following Christ and seeking other followers to mentor. He does not call us to a monastic list of rules, but to a monastic view of our sacred vow to Jesus Christ. He doesn’t call you to put on the drab nun garb, rather you are called to be peculiar people because of the change Christ has done in your soul as His follower.
Have you heard of the spread of Christianity in China? It is amazing. I have never been there to see it ground level, but I have heard first hand stories from Chinese followers. There is a movement in China of Christ’s church that is rising up underground taking His message to that nation and others with relentless passion. We can learn from the Chinese followers about true followership in action. Their monastic followership resembles that of Jesus and His followers. It is like an apprenticeship: followership is incorporated with all of life, followers are considered learners, learning is viewed as a lifelong process, and maturity comes through holistic imitation of the Master.
I am not a big Star Wars fan [unlike some of my friends], but another take on followership that follows this apprentice learner mold is the way of the Jedi. Christ follower are like young padawans following their Grand Master. There is no dichotomy between secular and sacred for the progressing Jedi. There is no rush to fix everything today: patience, persistence, and practice over a lifetime will yield results [note: progression from follower to faithful follower; John 1:25ff; John 18:1ff; John 21:1ff; Acts 2:14ff; Acts 4:11-12]. Seeking to emulate the one you follow. At times the process begins when the apprentice is quite young [8 years old], but the process is lifelong no matter when the training begins.
A call to followership is not tucked away in a monastery, but visible in everyday living. Unlike China, the American church has largely lost this sense of apprenticeship. We follow our Master, Jesus Christ the Grand Master, after whose pattern we are recreated as image bearers. Followership is a lifelong process without immediacies, but you must be driven to invest in yourselves in others because that is what followers do.