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“We are followers before we ever lead others, and that following is key to everything. We lead out of following.”
In his first book, God’s Leader, Andy Mason took key biblical passages and applied them to issues connected with spiritual leadership. In this book, he focuses on the spiritual leader’s relationship with the Lord Jesus, showing that this is the starting point for all leadership. By looking at the Gospels of Luke and John, he encourages leaders to think through what it means to know and follow Jesus, so that spiritual leadership becomes about him.
Leaders Who Follow will refresh and strengthen those who want to ensure that following Jesus is at the heart of their ministry.
In nine terrific chapters, we are taken on a journey with Jesus through key points in Luke and John’s gospels. Each one emphasises how, as disciples and leaders, we must trust and follow our saviour, king, and lord. So, Following, Loving, Depending on, Feeding on, Proclaiming, Slaving for, Longing for, Knowing, and Seeing Jesus are the headings through which he brings each and every Christian leader into the presence of the risen Lord and his will for us. Every chapter points every leader to the all–sufficient grace of Christ. Andy doesn’t uncover those false, deceitful, self–serving motives that plague us to condemn, but to “wound to heal”. He is honest about himself so he can speak directly to you and me. Rich mercy is all over this book, for it is about the one who is first and foremost our saviour. There are some wonderful quotes full of spiritual and leadership insight from my favourite ‘friend’ John Newton, wise Tim Keller and Dane Ortlund references, a helpful Spurgeon saying, and some C.S. Lewis illustrations. But it is mainly and simply the author telling us about the Scriptures that speak all about the lovely Lord Jesus. And how rejuvenating is that? Soul–refreshing views of Jesus will enable you to serve as the Christian and leader he wants you to be. It is the great leadership issue we all must grapple with beyond all others. This is a great leadership book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
“This is a book all about how to follow Jesus in Christian ministry” (p9). As such it fulfils its objectives. The book takes a series of passages from Luke and John and applies them to ministry. It thus can be read either straight through or devotionally passage by passage. All Christian leaders must remember that they are still disciples, called to love Jesus. All too often the need to the job crowds out those fundamentals. Professionalism, while important, can trump dependence on Jesus. Leaders need to feed on Jesus in order to feed others. They should follow the example of John the Baptist in pointing people to the Lord Jesus rather than trying to be the Saviour themselves. One challenging chapter is on slaving for Jesus. Many English versions of the Bible translate doulos as servant when it often means slave. We belong to Jesus and leaders especially mustn’t forget that, but then he is the kindest master possible from whom we can derive status and identity. Mason also calls on leaders to long for Jesus’ return as the only permanent solution to the world’s problems. Pastors and elders will be greatly encouraged from reading this book, as will anyone in a leadership position or any other Christian, as the leaders (people) we all want are the leaders (people) who follow Jesus.
As a follow–up to his first book “God’s Leader”, Andy Mason moves on from focusing on issues connected with spiritual leadership to focusing on the spiritual leader’s relationship with the Lord Jesus and this vitally important connection with leading spiritually from a position of being a faithful follower of Christ. This is sadly so often forgotten in the modern church, particularly since church leadership structures have often become more influenced by the business world rather than a biblical model of servant–hearted leadership. This is where Andy Mason brings us right back to the Gospels of Luke and John and shows us a very practical and biblical example of what it looks like to lead as a faithful follower of Jesus in pastoral ministry. What I particularly enjoyed about reading this book is the way that it can be read devotionally, and each of the nine chapters provide a different perspective on how we focus our lives and ministries on Jesus. One of my favourite chapters was “Depending on Jesus” which focused on how the pressures and expectations of ministry can so easily lead to a church leader trying to do things in their own strength rather than depending on God. This can be both exhausting and demoralising, so Andy Mason points out that a “godly neediness” is actually a necessity for leadership and that dependence and neediness are at the heart of true spiritual vitality.” (p56) I also particularly loved how the book ended on the death and resurrection of Christ and was particularly stirred and challenged by this quote: “Human jockeying for position, power and influence look ridiculous alongside such a suffering King.” (p165) In conclusion, “Leaders Who Follow” is an essential read for pastors and church leaders, there is so much in this book that both refreshes the soul and also challenges us to keep the focus of our ministry on the suffering servant King.
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