Follow and Lead. Learning and growing, then turning around and passing it on to others. This is a pretty basic life concept that plays out in so many areas. So much of the good we have in this world is people building on the ideas of those who have gone before. We see this in technology, as a obvious example, but have you thought that your life is greater because of all the ideas others have shared with you?
- We learn from our parents and turn around and teach our children
- We learn in school, study a career, then find ourselves in the position of training new workers
- We play a sport, then become a coach
So how does it apply to a Life with Faith?
What does it mean to follow?
When Jesus was on the earth, he called his disciples with the words, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:17, John 1:43) And that’s literally what he wanted them to do. Follow him as he ministered to those in need. Watch as he cared for people, listen while he taught. He wanted them to pay attention so what he cared for became what they cared for. So that they understood what he was doing and why he was doing it.
When he ascended back into heaven, he gave them the gift of his Spirit to be their helper, to help them remember all that I have taught you… (John 14:26)
We do not have the awesome privilege of sitting on the hillsides while Jesus taught the crowds, but we do have God’s living Word at our fingertips, and we have the same Spirit within us to help.
How can we follow?
To be continuing in our journey of faith and growing into the person God created us to be, takes just that – continuing. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Take notes during the Pastor’s sermon. Refer back to them during the week.
- Start going to a Sunday School class or a Bible Study.
- Start a devotional on your phone with reminders set for each morning. We like the ones on the Bible App, but there are lots out there.
- Find a mentor to meet with who will ask you what you’re learning.
- Take a class at a Bible School, online or in person, or a course offered by a Bible teacher online.
- Simply read a book!
What does it mean to lead?
I think there are very few people who feel confident enough to say, “Listen to me! I know what I’m talking about!” (There are many many who say this who aren’t worth listening to…) But if you have learned something enough for it to have made a difference in your life, then you absolutely know enough to pass it on. We forget that filters matter. What I mean by that is that you are the only person with your unique combination of learning, skills, personality, and life experiences. You are seriously the ONLY one that can pass on what you have. And while there are going to be many people who have learned what you have already, there are also so many that have never thought about it before, or that need to hear a reminder.
How can we lead?
- Teach a Sunday School class
- Lead a Bible Study
- Mentor youth with Youth for Christ or from a local camp’s Leader’s in Training program
- Be a volunteer at your church’s kid’s club
- Be a youth leader
These examples all deal with ways to pass on your faith, but since faith should be part of every part of our lives, why not consider following and leading in these areas?
- Take a lesson in a physical activity or sport / teach a class
- Join a team / coach
- Study an art, craft, painting / offer your skills to teach others what you already enjoy
- Become a Girl Guide or Boy Scout leader
The benefits of these types of roles are the relationships you build. Sharing your faith doesn’t need to be the only reason you lead. Ideally you’ll be sharing all of yourself in any of these roles, and God’s light will shine through you to make this world a better place.
What About Online?
It’s true that the word ‘follow’ these days is often used in a social media setting. Follow us! Like this! Get our updates! We are bombarded with people who want us to follow them. And we need to be critical thinkers about who we choose to follow. On Instagram I found a number of people who do amazing hand lettering, and I followed a couple of them. One is a Christian and her posts are often Scripture. One has a few too many words I’d rather not see in her work. Guess which one I unfollowed?
It is also true that there are a great number of people to follow online who can help you build up your faith. If that is where you spend any time, I encourage you to find the ones who are worth following, and unfollow the ones who aren’t.
(And speaking of following, in the side bar you’ll find ways to follow me on social media, and how to get my newsletter or blog posts in your inbox. Thanks, friends.)