Leaders Blog

Following Well: 3 Secrets Great Leaders Know

While leadership sounds appealing, many consider following to be subservient. “I’ll never be a follower” is a statement we often hear. In the course Follower Skills, Danette High states, “We will spend far more of our lives following than leading. Following is not a place to let your guard down, or to take a break from leadership.”

Great leaders understand the vital and dynamic relationship that must exist between leaders and followers. They also know when to lead and when to follow. These leaders remain excellent followers. Danette compares following and leading to a couple dancing. “Both have their own moves, but if the leader and follower truly partner, that’s where the beauty occurs.”

Since developing follower skills is practically non-existent in leadership training, many leaders have no idea how to do so. There are at least three secrets that great leaders know about following well.

World Water Day: Pure Water, Pure Love

How many times have you used water today? Did you stop and wonder if the water was clean? Most likely you use water more times in a day than you realize and you are blessed with not having to wonder whether the water you are drinking is safe and clean. However, this is not the case in many places around the world. Did you know that more than 663 million people lack access to clean water? The need for clean water access is great as the lack of clean water leads to numerous water-related diseases. Consider the following:

Get to Know Annie

Annie Armstrong, for whom the North American missions offering is named, was an amazing woman, yet many of our church members knew very little about her. To alleviate that, our WMU presented an informative skit the Sunday prior to the Week of Prayer for North American Missions. Women (dressed in period costumes) shared tidbits of information about “their friend, Annie.”

Here is a sampling of the information shared:

Minister around the Town

Children’s Ministry Day is an excellent way to involve not only your Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors or Children in Action in missions but also their parents. Too often, parents drop their children off and head to the grocery store or back home and miss the opportunity to be on mission with them. Our church’s theme of Random Acts of Kindness was tailor-made for family fun.

After being given a list of suggested random acts of kindness, the teams were on their way. Items to help perform these acts were available for each team to use. Small boxes of laundry detergent and dryer sheets for visits to a laundromat, bags of microwave popcorn to be taped to DVD rental machines, blank self-stick removable notes for writing uplifting messages to be left on restroom mirrors or in library books, bubbles to be left on doorsteps, and sidewalk chalk for more messages were just some of the items. Each act of kindness was accompanied by an invitation to visit our church.

Support Missions

We who are blessed with a constant source of water on tap find it difficult to imagine life without a ready source of water. Without water, we cannot live, so when a village without water gets a well, it is cause for rejoicing!

The villages of Sayoo and Gaa Beni in Ghana were overjoyed when water began to flow from the pump. In Gaa Beni, children sat under the pump and played in the water. In Sayoo, women were so excited they danced and ran to the pump to obtain water until 2:00 a.m.

A very good supply of water is present in all 3 of the wells, bringing rejoicing and satisfaction to the Mobile Care Mission Ghana well drilling team; Gila Valley Baptist Association partners in Casa Grande, Arizona; and, most especially, the residents of the 2 villages. Money to drill these wells was provided by Pure Water, Pure Love (PWPL), a ministry of WMU. PWPL demonstrates the love of Christ by meeting the basic, physical need for potable water and alleviating the burden women throughout much of the world share—finding water for their households.

Focus on Generations

Imagine a gym full of preschoolers through women in their 80s. Imagine fun and games mixed with ministry. Imagine a multigenerational morning celebrating Focus on WMU association-wide. 

While it might sound unwieldy to have all age levels together for 1 large event, everyone in our association enjoyed eating a potluck brunch before the children led in prayer for those on the missionary prayer calendar. Soon everyone split into groups to work on ministry projects specifically designed for his or her age level.

Moms who were not members of Women on Mission participated with other women and learned more about missions. In a role reversal, the children worked on projects while the adults played games designed to help them learn more about missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® using ideas that could be duplicated in their churches. Laughter swirled around the gym.

Serve in Missions

LaShondra's mentor, Cathy, characterizes her as tenacious: “After some initial success in passing some of the sections [of the GED test], several sections were proving to be much more difficult challenges, such as math and science. . . . She contemplated giving up after failing some of the tests for a second time. However, she recognized what an incredible opportunity CWJC’s program afforded her.”

CWJC, or Christian Women’s Job Corps, was founded by WMU in 1997. The ministry, which has expanded to include Christian Men’s Job Corps (CMJC), serves thousands of individuals through nearly 200 registered sites in 23 states and 5 countries by utilizing a two-pronged holistic,strengths-based approach of mentoring and discipleship. This all-inclusive method produces a holistic approach to life change, allowing individuals to understand that wholeness is a by-product of daily, personal decisions of behavior modification and thought transformation, outworked through a disciplined relationship with God and people.

Give to Missions

The foundation of giving to missions is biblical tithing and sacrificial giving through the church. Giving to missions work is not only a blessing but also an honor and a privilege. WMU actively promotes giving to the 2 missions offerings, which supply about half of the annual budgets for the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, and giving through the Cooperative Program, the foundational means of supporting Southern Baptist work in each state, nationally, and around the world.

Pray for Missions

Prayer is vital to all we do in WMU. We can’t all go, but we can all pray.

Hold a special prayertime focusing on those serving globally and in the United States. Pray also for those without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting a missionary family who served in Brazil for many years through the International Mission Board (IMB) and learning the story of their miracle daughter, Priscila: 

In 1996, we were pregnant with baby number 4. We were just out of language school and living in Niterói, a city of around 500,000. We had planned on having this baby like the previous 3 and doing natural childbirth. We had finally found a doctor who would agree to not do a C-section and had just begun practicing our Lamaze breathing methods. However, God had other plans. Our youngest daughter, Priscila, was not going to come into this world on time but would instead arrive 2 months premature.

Learn about Missions

WMU resources engage people of all ages in learning about missions. 

In May 2013, children learned about homeless ministries in Baltimore, Maryland. And the weekly lessons quickly turned into a ministry project for the Children in Action (CA) at Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, when a homeless woman named Delores began coming to the church. 

Steve Lasiter, Woodland Heights Baptist’s codirector of family and children’s ministry, said Delores made homelessness even more real to the children.

As CA members learned more about homeless ministries, they prayed for Delores and helped her as much as possible. The church later found out that she had suffered a stroke and been placed in a rehabilitation facility.

“As we wrapped up our study of São Paulo, Brazil, [in June 2013] and learned how some missionaries share Christ through graffiti art, our CA kids got busy encouraging and loving on Delores through their own graffiti,” Lasiter said.

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