For someone who loves leadership, I am a Follower is a challenging read. Len Sweet it turns out does not like the word leadership/leader and especially when it comes to life as followers of Jesus Christ.
As much as I loved this book and its key insights into being a follower of Jesus Christ, it is hard to overcome the complete dismissal and disdain for the word leader as well as some leaders Len takes a shot at through his anti-leader grid.
Here’s what’s good about I am a Follower: Jesus is the ultimate leader, at best we are first followers. Len Sweet does a great job affirming what it means that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Such a life is missional, relational and incarnational. Following Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life involves belonging, believing and behaving.
Len is at his best when digging deep into the dimensions of these 3 areas of following Jesus and what it means for following Christ today. He deals with abuses of leadership that have become more business model then building the body of Christ model. Ministry and marketing are not synonymous. Ministry leads to following Christ. He points out the danger of following personalities rather then the person of Christ.
His hope in the book is for Christians to stop defining themselves as leaders and to redefine themselves as followers. His call to see ourselves as followers of Christ is a worthy call.
Here’s what’s bad about I am a Follower: Leadership and the word leader are seen as useless, even seems heretical words to associate with Christians. His shots at Willow Creek seem to dismiss the positive influence (leadership is influence) for people to follow Christ.
I kept waiting for him to say the best Christian leaders follow Jesus Christ. He had set up a powerful argument for that rational. Instead leaders are bad. He even twists Peter Drucker’s 2 questions. He deplores the order “How’s business?” before asking “What’s your business?” Drucker taught to ask what before how as Len would prefer.
I give the book 4 stars because it is well written as Len Sweet provides a wealth of information. He also provides a good reminder of the danger of ever forgetting Christian leaders at their best follow where Jesus leads. Yet the desire to eliminate the word leader completely that is throughout the book ignoring even the spiritual gift of leadership in Romans 12 and the powerful examples of leadership by Paul, David, Moses and others tarnished a good read for me.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255