It seems we live in a time when everyone wants to lead and no one wants to follow.
One thing I learned over the years, is that you will never make a good Leader until you have learned to be a good Follower.
We are called to certain roles in this life and in the Church, and some people are what we call natural born leaders.
But what good is a leader, if he or she has no followers?
I was in that kind of half-awake, half-asleep place last morning and I saw myself teaching a music class and rehearsing an old song we once did called “Looking for a City.”
On the chorus, the Altos take the lead and the rest of the voices do the repeat. What a wonderful time of singing that was back in the days of the Stamps-Baxter music schools and how we all learned to sight read and perform some of the greatest numbers of all time.
The Altos so loved it when they got a chance to take the lead and I must say they were simply fine, their rich tones accenting their excitement and determination.
I do remember so well the days when we were asked to accompany soloists at meetings and services when we had never heard the song they wished to do. It took real talent to follow someone on the piano or organ and help their song go over well.
It was a blessing to God and to His people to follow someone who was singing in the Spirit. I am even now amazed at just how good we were.
You didn’t overplay the people soloing, you backed them up helped them do a successful job. Not only were you appreciated by the people you played for, you felt like you had also done something good for The LORD.
Even the least talented was encouraged and sang well with such dedicated backup.
Rather than following the lead of The Holy Spirit today, it appears at times that we want the Spirit to follow us!
It’s often about our agenda, or our talent, and we want comments and approval from others more than His words, “well done.”
I couldn’t help but think today of another old song we used to sing, quite often actually, “Where He leads me I will Follow.”
It was not about being the star or main attraction but following the real Star, following His lead.
The Church as we know it today would never have grown or prospered if everybody declared themselves the leader, if everyone wanted to preach and nobody wanted to listen.
Singing loud or preaching loud seems to be the gauge for most success today, or it appears that way.
I declare that some have actually ruined their beautiful voices trying to be too powerful and sing or preach like someone else rather than be themselves and let God use them the way He wants to.
Long ago there were times when we just hummed, quietly and reverently, and let the Spirit wash over us. Just sweetly, solemnly.
I remember times when we brought the entire service to a halt, stopped the music, the singing and sat still and waited on The Spirit to speak and give direction to our people.
What a depth that was, a real closeness and being sensitive to what the supreme Leader wanted in His service, what songs He wanted sung.
Tongues and Interpretations went forth and Prophecy, out of the quietness and stillness that gave absolute first priority over anything else we had planned.
We need more good leaders, for sure but I think we need more good followers, those who choose to follow in the steps of the Chief Shepherd, obedient to what He wants to do and what He wants to say.
Following the leading of The Spirit can do more in one moment than all our planned sermons or songs.
Oh, I know, we can sing beautifully or do a great job with our cranked up numbers and rouse the Indians to full dance but forget the Chief may not want a war hoop today.
He may want this children to just sit and moan and wait for words from the Great Spirit.
Let it be known that this title is no slight to our Native American people. I am of their heritage also and mean no offense.
Even so, I think they would deeply agree that we most definitely need to get back to basics. There is a battle raging and it must be won but someone must be in the trenches.
First Published: December 2, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn