Entering into a leadership development relationship with someone is both a high honor and a weighty responsibility. In essence, you’re saying to them “follow me; I’ll be your model.” The first thought that comes to mind when I read this phrase is “who am I?” I’m far from being a perfect leader. What qualifies me to say, “follow me”?
Yet leadership development is most powerful when it’s carried out in a modeling relationship. I have to remind myself that I’m not being a model of perfection, I’m simply modeling a pattern; a pattern for them to watch, to reflect back on, to learn from. The man who mentored me was a completely different personality than me. He had a far different leadership style than I do. Yet as I was able to watch him go through the ups and downs of day-to-day leadership, his influence became a pattern for me to learn from.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul told those believers, “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul knew he wasn’t modeling perfection; he was modeling a pattern of striving towards a consistent walk with Christ.
“Follow me” includes watch me fail and admit it. It means watch me sin and confess it. Watch me make a wrong decision and correct it. Watch me have a bad idea and laugh about it. Take the pressure off yourself. Don’t try to be perfect, but do strive to be a pattern of seeking Jesus in a way that those you lead will want to emulate.