Because I work in a leadership position, I’m constantly trying to learn new things about how to be a better leader. I constantly want to grow my leadership skills, know what God expects of me as a leader, and how can I grow those whom I lead to carry on the work that I currently do. One lesson I’ve learned is there are times where the leader has to be willing to follow.
If you’ve ever sat back and watched and observed a group of people, it usually doesn’t take long to identify the leaders and the followers. Everyone of us ends up being the leader at some point in life – even those who are quiet and shy. But there are some people who are just more prone to lead and some more prone to follow. Age doesn’t matter. Adults at work, teens at school, and kids in a kindergarten class or daycare playground will all have leaders and followers. The same is true among siblings and within families. There are leaders and followers found in the sports team or cheer leading squad. They are at the office. They’re in politics and government offices. They’re within the church. And they’re with in criminal organizations. Some lead others toward excellence and some lead others into the path of sin and rebelliousness. Some follow good leaders and some follow bad. And sometimes leaders need to be followers.
As Jesus started his earthly ministry, he knew that part of being a leader was to prepare the next leaders. He knew His time on earth was limited and that He would return to Heaven once He accomplished God’s plan to redeem man. And so, he chose 12 men and said, “Follow me.” And for the next 3 1/2 years he would live with them, teach them, train them, and get them ready to spread the gospel message to every nation. What if Jesus came to earth, died, was buried, and resurrected but no one was prepared to spread the news and tell others about His free gift of salvation? Jesus’ ministry on earth was to redeem man. He accomplished His mission. The disciple’s mission would be to spread the good news. Because Christianity is still thriving today, we know they accomplished their mission. Whatever leadership role God has called you to, what are you doing to train the next person to fill your shoes? If you are in a ministry role, who will carry on the ministry God has begun where you are? If God calls you to the next church or ministry organization, who will follow you in the work being done where you are now? What if God calls you home to heaven? Will you leave the team you are leading floundering without a leader? Will the flock you shepherd be left without a shepherd to care for them? Jesus’ very first instructions to these 12 men was, “Follow me” for the purpose of preparing them to spread the gospel. Who have you invited to follow you so that you can mentor and train them to lead and continue the work God is doing when you are no longer there?
Leaders know that whatever ministry, organization, or team they are leading, the responsibility falls on them – the buck stops with them. They make decisions, set goals, have a vision, strategically plan, create teams, assign tasks, and evaluate effectiveness – and they often get so caught up in leading that they forget Jesus’ first instruction. Whether you’re a church leader, non-profit leader, retail leader, or corporate leader, if you’re a Christian then Jesus’ first instruction is the same today. He says, “Follow me.” If you are a leader, are you allowing Christ to lead you? Are you a leader that’s willing to follow the example of Jesus and submit to the will of God, obediently following His instructions to you? If the ministry, organization, or team had to score you on how well you are following the leadership of God, how would they score you?
What does it mean to follow? It means that you come after someone else. It can also mean that you follow them in the sense of seeing that person as an example or someone you look up to or admire. When kids play “Follow the leader” the “leader” does something and everyone else mimics the “leader.” 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” When Jesus told the disciples to follow him, he was inviting them to go on mission with Him, to learn from Him and do what He taught them. If those who follow you walked in the way in which you walked, is that a good thing or bad?
There is another aspect to Jesus telling the disciples to follow Him that we as leaders can learn from. Leaders have to take the people following them somewhere. If you stay right where you are, then you’re not leading – you’re just joining in. Jesus was leading the disciples to grow in faith and to experience a relationship with God. As a leader, are you leading those who follow you to Jesus?
There is also an important thing for leaders to see through the eyes of Jesus’ followers. With the exception of Judas who betrayed Jesus then hung himself, the other eleven disciples grew to love and respect Jesus so much that they changed their world as they took the gospel to every nation, starting churches wherever they went. They even died because they would not stop telling others about Jesus. They were so committed to Jesus and the task He gave them that they were willing to die so that others would know who Jesus was. If you’re a leader, how do those who follow you see you? Are you a person they respect or hate? Are they committed to you because they see you as a person that seeks God’s will and know you to be a person that obey’s God. Do they trust you to lead them as God leads you?
As leaders, we need to follow Jesus. He is our example of how to lead others. We should lead with the same character traits as Jesus did – love, loyalty, integrity, honesty, compassion, grace, forgiveness, humility, wisdom, sacrificial, giving, tenderness, accountability, instructing, and setting the example. If those who follow you scored you on an annual evaluation in each of these areas, what scores would they give you?
Lord, because you have called us to step out and lead, the responsibility is great and to be a great leader, we need to first be a follower. Thank you that you invite us to follow you and may we never forget that as a leader our greatest responsibility is to be a follower of you. May we lead others in such as way that we lead them to you. Show us from those you’ve appointed us to lead the ones you’d have carry on behind us and train them to continue you’re work. May we lead with the same character traits you did and may we ever be more like you. Be our example. Lead us Lord, because leading others is often difficult and messy and we can’t do it alone.
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BOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
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Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
To request more information or a booking,
fill out the online form here.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
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By Provident Films
From the creators of War Room, Courageous and Fireproof. Basketball coach John Harrison’s high school team is crushed by the closing of the town’s largest employer. Hundreds of families move, leaving him running a struggling cross-country program. But then he meets Hannah and begins helping this unlikely runner attempt the impossible in the year’s biggest race. Starring Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, and Aryn Wright-Thompson. Rated PG. Dove approved (12+). Approx. 119 minutes.
- The Heart of Overcomer
- Creating the Opening Drone Shot
- Working with the Kendricks
- Post-Production Behind-the-Scenes: Editing, Scoring, Coloring, and Sound Design
- “Enough” (Lyric Video) Featuring Koryn Hawthorne
- Don’t Mess with the Editors
- The Making of Overcomer
- 10 Minutes of Additional Scenes
- Commentary with Director Alex Kendrick and Producer Stephen Kendrick
- Overcomer in 60 Seconds
- The Theme of Identity
- The Power of Forgiveness
- “Overcomer” (Lip Sync Music Video) Featuring Mandisa and More!
- Audio: English, French (PAR), Spanish, Thai
- Subtitles: English, English (SDH), Spanish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Tagalog, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese
||Waiting on God
By Charles F. Stanley / Howard Books
Are you waiting for God to answer your prayers? Does time tick by without any hint that things will change? You’re not alone! Drawing on personal experiences and biblical principles, Stanley offers a practical and encouraging guide to making the most of the “delays” and following God’s lead to the blessings he has planned for you.
||Letters to the Church
By Francis Chan / David C Cook
If God had it His way, what would our churches look like?
In his most powerful book yet, Pastor Francis Chan digs deep into biblical truths, reflections on his own failures and dreams, and stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.
As Chan says, “We’ve strayed so far from what God calls Church. We all know it. We know that what we’re experiencing is radically different from the Church in Scripture. For decades, church leaders like myself have lost sight of the inherent mystery of the Church. We have trained people sitting in the pews to become addicted to lesser things. It’s time for that to change.”
When Jesus returns, will He find us caring for His Bride-even more than for our own lives? Letters to the Church reminds us of how powerful, how glorious the Church once was … and calls us to once again be the Church God intended us to be.
Bonus Videos: The 4 videos from Francis Chan’s BASIC Study series (Fellowship, Communion, Teaching, Prayer) are included here as additional material for you to feel free to use in your church. They are not part of the “Letters to the Church” series.
||A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer
By John Piper / Crossway
Is your soul so stuffed with worldly desires that you have little room left for God? Piper invites you to turn from materialism and sharpen your appetite for God through prayer and fasting. His exploration of fasting will help you understand how this ancient biblical practice can nourish your spiritual life and satisfy your longings. 201 pages, softcover from Crossway.
||Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up
By Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle / David C Cook
In Erasing Hell, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle take on the topic of hell and our eternal destiny, with a sense of humility and a deep respect for the inspired Word of God. They will address questions such as “Will everyone be saved?” and “Does God Get What He Wants in the End?” as well as reviewing in depth, everything Jesus said about Hell. Chan and Sprinkle lay all the evidence on the table and present all the facts from Scripture, so that people can decide what to believe for themselves.
||Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It.
By Mark Batterson / Multnomah
New York Times bestselling author and pastor Mark Batterson believes the key to radically increasing your faith, joy, and abundance can be found in these three words:
Flip the blessing.
His discovery started with a simple experiment. Whenever he received a blessing, he would give a similar blessing away. If someone paid him a compliment or gave him a gift or went out of their way to help him, he would return the favor by doing something similar for someone else.
We flip the blessing by blessing others in the way God has blessed us. That’s how the blessing becomes a double blessing. It turns giving into a game–one we can’t win because God will always outgive us! It’s an ancient truth found within the Abrahamic covenant: “I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.”
In other words, we are blessed to bless. In a day and age where the idea of blessing has been reduced to a hashtag (#blessed), Batteron challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing. Don’t settle for half of what God offers. Discover how you can both get it and give it.
||Not Safe: Discovering God’s Dangerous Plan for Your Life
By Mark Batterson / Zondervan
As believers, we may feel tempted to “play it safe”—but God wants to make us dangerous on his behalf! In this inspiring message based on his book All In, Batterson explains that “holding the fort” was never Jesus’ plan for his followers. Instead, he dares you to choose a radical life of spiritual surrender—beginning today. 160 pages, hardcover from Zondervan.
||Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God
By Mark Batterson / Multnomah
God still speaks today. His voice and guidance wasn’t only for the saints and prophets of old, but for followers of Jesus now. In Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, author and pastor Mark Batterson shares seven ways that God communicates with His followers, if they’ll stop to listen. Through the tools of Scripture, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain, God weaves divine messages of love, encouragement and insight, into our lives every day. Hardcover.
||Zondervan’s 2020 Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide
By D. Busby, V. Laue, M. Martin & J. Van Drunen / Zondervan
One of the few resources offering advice to churches and nonprofit organizations on issues of financial accountability, receiving and maintaining tax-exempt status, and charitable gifts. Also includes a thorough description of tax laws, sample policies and procedures with easy techniques for simplifying them, insights on medical expense reimbursements, sound compensation planning, and examples of required IRS filings. 224 pages, softcover.
||Zondervan’s 2020 Minister’s Tax and Financial Guide
By D. Busby, V. Laue, M. Martin & J. Van Drunen / Zondervan
If you find April 15 taxing in more ways than one, let this easy-to-follow manual come to the rescue! The 2020 edition features a line-by-line explanation of Form 1040 and recent changes in the tax code—with valuable hints about how to reduce next year’s bill. Also includes guidance on compensation, retirement, and ways to maximize business expense reimbursements. 192 pages, softcover.
||2020 Multiple Blessings Create It Planner
By Caroline Simas Simas / Perfect Timing Inc
Multiple Blessings Create-It Planner lets you plan out your schedule the way you want with pages for reminders, lists, monthly goals and special dates. Blank calendar grids in a perpetual 12-month format lets you start on any month you choose in weekly and monthly views. Includes additional space for project tracking, contact and password info, and drawing make this all-in-one planner a must-have!
- Colorful art design by Caroline Simas
- 120+ coordinating stickers
- Color-coordinating elastic band closure
- 218 pages of premium paper.
- Spiral bound, Linen-embossed hardcover
- Measures 7″ x 9″
||2020 Planner Too Blessed to be Stressed
By Debora Coty / Barbour Publishing
Ideal for personal or home use, the 2020 Too Blessed to be Stressed 15-month engagement planner, features memorable quotes from Debora M. Coty’s heartwarming devotional, Too Blessed to be Stressed, as well as specially selected Scripture quotations.
Other features include:
- Weekly, monthly, and year-at-a-glance calendars
- 17 months of inspiring readings from inspirational humorist Debora M. Coty
- Pages for monthly goal-setting
- 17 months of planning – August 2019 – January 2021
- Address book for frequent contacts
- Color coordinating pages
- Elastic belly band to all your notes contained
- Scripture from various translations
- 4.375” x 7.25”
||2020 Mornings with Jesus
Begin each day with Jesus . . . and get to know him as your Redeemer, Friend, and Faithful One! Designed to take just five minutes every morning, these 365 engaging readings include Scripture verses, meditations from 13 different authors, and challenging “Faith Steps” meant to inspire and encourage you in your daily walk. 379 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
||One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land, Member Book
By Priscilla Shirer / Lifeway
One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land – Member Book by Priscilla Shirer provides a personal study experience five days a week plus viewer guides for the group video sessions of this discussion-driven women’s Bible study. Priscilla encourages participants to fully engage in the abundant life God has waiting for those who will allow Him to take the lead in daily living. One in a Million is an opportunity for you to experience your deliverance from strongholds, to conquer your wilderness living, and to claim your God-given inheritance. 6 Sessions. Includes Leader Guide.
||Before Amen: The Power of Simple Prayer (Study Guide)
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
In Before Amen, Max Lucado, a self-professed “recovering prayer wimp,” reveals his personal struggles with prayer. He will show you how he discovered that prayer is not a privilege for the pious or the art of a chosen few but a simple tool all believers have been given to have a conversation with God. Through the use of a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-sized prayer that he distilled from the prayers in the Bible, he will lead your church members in building a prayer life that is stronger, better and deeper.
Designed to be used with the Before Amen 4-session small group DVD study, this study guide includes leader helps, discussion questions, conversation starters, and between-session activities to enhance your understanding and application of Max’s teaching.
First Lesson Free! PDF Study Guide
God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars: 365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage
By Julia M. Bruce / WestBow Press