Follow the Leader

Written by: Wilma Luimes

“No. You can’t play. I am the boss of this game.” Johnny shouts. Sarah turns away dejected. It’s standard ‘modus operandi’ on playgrounds around the world. The struggle for power, status and prestige. Johnny declares a new game. “Follow the leader,” he announces. Those who are ‘not allowed’ to play watch from a distance. And all the other boys and girls line up behind Johnny in their full stature of Velcro shoes, pigtails, ribbons, cartoon crested t-shirts and begin their march around the playground, over the monkey bars, through the tunnel… And for a while, all the children are enjoying the new game.

Eventually, Tommy is brave enough to ask, isn’t it time for someone else to be the leader? Tommy kicks his new sneaker against the ground impatiently.“No!” Johnny shouts. “I am the leader.” Tommy looks around disgruntled and continues playing for a few minutes but eventually goes off with a ball to go and play soccer instead. A few of the other ‘followers’ join him; leaving the line much shorter than when the game began.

A short while later, Christine takes a few of her friends out of the line to go and play with a skipping rope. Soon ‘the boss’ mentality leaves Johnny all alone on the playground. Ironically often organisations don’t behave much different. The predominant male belief that ‘we are the boss of this church’… is an echo that has and still reverberates from many a church building through the ages with a blatant disregard for the fruit that spirit produces. And while the male-dominated spirit is still prevalent in many a church today, somehow, I seriously doubt that God agrees on the outcomes… because when it’s about power, status and prestige; God is not in it!

The love has disappeared.

And often the difference between good leadership and great leadership is the ability to know when to step forward and when to step back!

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