11 Things Followers Learn from Followship

Are You a Servant Leader who Serves Leaders?

Michael Brown and I partner on a few projects from time to time, and one of those projects is a training program called Followship: Servant Leaders. Serving Leaders. This week we launched a Kindle version of the participant guide, which is pretty cool, at least in our minds. You can read it on your Kindle reader and it has links to the videos and articles that are referenced. You just need to take notes in a journal or using your computer.

So, in celebration of the launch, I thought I’d share some key points that people takeaway when they go through this training. The actual training goes deeper into each of these to explain things like why they matter and how we can live differently. So these are just highlights.

I started with about 25, with the intention of cutting it down to the top 10. I settled on 11, because who says you have to use round numbers anyway?

  1. Everyone is a follower.
  2. Followers build others up, show respect, and promote collaboration.
  3. Our values drive who we are and how we behave, so we should identify what we believe and why.
  4. We each must take responsibility for our role in effective communication; it is counter-productive to blame others. Own it.
  5. Keep an open mind when listening; don’t jump to conclusions so you can respond rather than react.
  6. Bloom where you’re planted.
  7. The best organizations promote growth, but we ultimately are responsible for our personal growth, regardless of what others do or don’t do for us.
  8. You really can’t “be anything,” but you can find satisfaction in whoever you are and whatever you become.
  9. Contentment is a place within you, not a place you go.
  10. A mark of a great follower is the ability to step in and out of that role in appropriate ways at appropriate times.
  11. Happiness is a creature that feeds on emotions and lives according to the circumstances of the moment. Joy maintains a sense of peace while moving through good times and bad.

If you’re interested in the Kindle version, here’s the link.

If you’re interested in the print edition and/or the leader’s discussion guide, or if you just want more information about the program, the here’s the link you need.





One Year Later …

A letter to a 1-year-old

Happy Birthday, Grow Like Jesus!

You were years in the making, so it’s amazing to celebrate this day with you. It was one year ago today that you officially “launched,” which is book-trade jargon that means you officially became available to the public. There were pre-orders before that, of course, but it was on this day that those orders shipped and sites like Amazon.com changed your status to “available.” No more waiting.

I’ll never forget that day, especially when it comes to Amazon.com. It seems the big, bad online bookseller didn’t have much faith in the demand you would create, so it didn’t stock up. Within a few hours it indicated you were “out of stock.” I took it as a good sign, but it would have been better if Amazon had started with, say, 1,000 copies rather than … well, let’s just say it was far fewer than 1,000. Nevertheless, it felt like there was a gold rush of demand for you.

Truth is, sales have not been spectacular. That’s no surprise, frankly, because, as you know, salesmanship and marketing are not my forte. Oh, I know how to market books. I just don’t execute it very well. It’s a learning opportunity, I guess. But the truth is, I’m pretty content in the background. I don’t mind speaking to audiences, but it’s not my calling to be a sage on the stage. I’m not naturally self-promotional, and, unfortunately, it’s hard to promote you without feeling like I’m promoting me. I have friends who are great at this. They promote themselves and their books, and somehow they seldom come across as egomaniacs who are only in it for the fame and the spotlight. I’m happy for them and all, but I’m not gifted in that way. As a result, my “platform” is limited and, thus, so have been your sales.

That’s not to say sales are non-existent. People are buying you. In fact, several people bought 50 to 100 copies. You’ve been read and shared and gifted. You’ve had an impact on teenagers, as well as folks who are older in life. You’ve been there for people who are new in their faith in Christ, and there for people who are looking for new ways to experience growth.

In fact, I want to make it clear that modest book sales is not an indication of success. Indeed, my first measure of success for you is found in the reality that you actually exist. I felt called to write you and find a publisher and, albeit reluctantly at times, I followed that call. So obedience is one measure of success.

Another measure of your success is found in the feedback. Not everyone who has read your pages has provided feedback. But among those who have, only one offered what I would consider a negative review. He said the book didn’t “connect to his heart,” which, frankly, stung more than a little bit. Many others have found your pages helpful. Here’s a link to read some reviews, if you’d like a few ego biscuits. Aside from those written reviews, I’ve also heard positive feedback from several pastors and friends and business leaders.

The greatest measure of your success, however, is still unknown. Audrey (that’s my wife) and I have prayed from the beginning that you would make a difference in the lives of people who read you. We believe that’s happened, but that’s still our prayer – that God will use this book to help people who want to grow in their faith in Jesus.

Whatever happens, with sales or with impact, God gets the credit. Everything valuable in your pages, after all, came from Him. And everything that happens with you or through you will come by His hand.

So happy birthday, and here’s to many more bright days and deep influence. God willing, you will continue to make a difference in the lives of more and more people.

Oh, yeah. Sorry I didn’t bring a cake or presents. What would you do with them, anyway? You’re a book. But I love you just the same.


Click to buy Grow Like Jesus 

Lessons from a Bad Golf Joke

What I learned from Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson didn’t have much to say when he failed to make the cut at last week’s Masters golf tournament, so he made a joke that he later admitted was as bad as his game. Watson, who has won the tournament twice, told a reporter after shooting a 78 in Friday’s round that, “Golf is tough; I don’t know if you’ve ever played it. But writing articles is easy.”

As you might expect, sports journalists fired back. That’s because sports journalists tend to only have a sense of humor when it’s aimed at someone else. I know, because I once was a sports journalist. At any rate, Watson later apologized, saying, “Obviously I made a bad joke, just like I played bad golf this week.”

Good for him. But even if he intended it as a joke, that doesn’t mean he was wrong. I’ve played golf. And I’ve written articles. I’ve never done either with Masters-level quality, but I can tell you that writing an article is far easier than hitting a 5-iron with accuracy, especially with thousands of people watching and a 30-mile-an-hour wind blowing. And I don’t care how poorly you write, you still probably write better than you play golf. Because, as Watson pointed out, golf is hard. If I shot at 78 at Augusta National, by the way, I’d be leaping for joy – even if I only played the front nine.

In my never-ended quest to learn something from everything, I reflected on this little slice (no pun intended) of American history and asked myself, “What can I learn from all of this?”

Mostly, it was a reminder: Don’t take myself too seriously. Don’t take offense too easily. Forgive others who take themselves too seriously. And don’t play golf for a living.


Getting Out of the Silo

Engaging the Culture Helps Us Grow Like Jesus

There are days when I’m tempted to disconnect from some of my friends on Facebook, mainly the ones who regularly post opinions with which I almost never agree. Then I remember two important truths: One, I love them for who they are, not what they do or how they think, and, two, they help me grow like Jesus. So I resist the temptation to isolate myself in a silo of like-minded thinkers, of which there are very few.

We live in a divisive age. It feels more divisive than any era in history, but that’s probably because we’re living it, not reading about it. The fact it, other ages and eras were plenty divisive. But that doesn’t negate our current sad state of affairs. And the worst thing we can do if we want to promote unity is separate more and more from each other.

Not that that unity is the ultimate goal. It would be nice, and I’m all for it. But the bigger goal is the discovery of truth – not my truth or your truth, but the truth. Unity around lies creates a smooth path toward collective destruction. (See the Jonestown mass suicide for Exhibit A. For a more slippery-slope example, see the “decline of thinking” in American higher education.)

As followers of Jesus, our spiritual growth depends on deepening our relationship with Christ. Jesus is The Truth we seek. And none of us – not one among us – has a lock on understanding Truth. A.T. Robertson put it this way in The Minister and His Greek New Testament: “Scholarship, real scholarship, seeks to find the truth. That is its reward. The Christian scholar finds the same joy in truth and he is not uneasy that the foundations will be destroyed.”

We live in an age, however, when the priority for many people seems to focus on protecting their personal truth, which invariably is based on their feelings and emotions, not facts or logic. The last thing they want is the opinions, fact-based or not, of those who disagree with them. The most troubling examples of this are found in our universities, where many schools no longer invite speakers who disagree with the faculty’s ideologies or, if they do, they protest, lead riots, and, in some cases, attack people who support the speaker. (See Middlebury College as Exhibit A.) More and more, it seems people are protesting for the sake of protest. At Middlebury College, faculty and students admitted that they’d actually never read anything written by Charles Murry, the social scientist speaker they were protesting.

As I noted in a previous blog, it seems we’ve lost our desire (and the necessary skills) for civil discourse. What we need, in my humble opinion, is more friends who don’t agree with us on everything. Not so we can yell and scream at them on social media in some misguided attempt to “win” them to “our truth,” but so that we can listen to them, talk to them, and learn from them in a shared pursuit of the Truth.

As followers of Jesus, the divisive world around us should send us deeper in to the Word of God and into communication with God. Then if and when we engage the world around us, perhaps others would seek that Truth, as well. And if they seek, they will find.


Click to buy Grow Like Jesus