Follow the Leader

Do you remember playing the game, “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid?  Pretty simple really…. someone is put in the “leader” role, and everyone else lines up behind them and follows, mimicking everything they do.  When the game gets a little boring, someone else is put in the front as the leader, and the game goes on.

Probably my worst experience playing “follow the leader” happened while I was in university, and my friend Jim and I decided to play while riding off-road motorcycles.  It wasn’t boring at all, especially when I followed Jim around a really tight corner and saw him laying down in the middle of the trail, and I had to change my course, which resulted in a pretty good crash, a little bit of blood, and some real sore muscles the next day.

There’s always risk when you follow someone.

Following “YOUR” leader is a great thing, unless you don’t trust who you’re following!  I’m not talking about avoiding dangerous or risky situations, but if you are really going to put your life, your career, your family, your security into someone else’s hands, be sure that you trust them, and that you’re willing to follow them!

In choosing a mentor, when choosing someone to lead you and to guide you, choose someone you trust.  If you don’t trust them, you will question everything they say and do.  You’ll judge them.  You’ll pick and choose the advice and the teaching that takes place.  In choosing a mentor, find someone who you trust, someone who you want to be like.

In John 13, the disciple Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay my life down for you.”  (John 13:37)  Peter went on to deny knowing who Jesus was when he was confronted, however we see the depth of his trust of his mentor and leader, Jesus.  His desire was to follow Jesus anywhere.  His desire was to defend Jesus before everybody.  He knew who he was following.

So, when you choose someone to mentor you, ask these questions:

*Why did you choose this person to follow?  What stands out about them?

*Are you following the “whole person”, or are you looking for mentoring in help in some specific area?  (This is important.  It’s OK to compartmentalize mentoring, and only focus on certain things from certain people).

*Is this someone you can trust?  If not, why?

*Are you able to talk about this kind of trust with your mentor?  There is accountability in having this conversation.

If you are a mentor, you need to understand the level of responsibility that comes to you when someone is watching you, following you and learning from you.  Take that seriously and realize that mentoring comes with accountability.

Playing “Follow the Leader” is a great game, however with it comes risk and reward.


Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: Write directly to Russ at: twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

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