Leaders are Followers, Too

by Karen Porter in Leading Hearts

It is important for each of us to be followers of the Good Shepherd because who we follow will determine how we lead.


Hundreds of sheep foraged in the field while a group of shepherds stood nearby. After the guide spoke to the shepherds, each one began making a noise with his tongue.

One shepherd’s sound was, “click, click,” and one sounded like “quack, quack.” Another’s was a whistle. Another shepherd repeated a certain word.

Each shepherd had a unique way to call his sheep. The sheep gathered — each animal next to its shepherd. They distinguished the call and the voice of their master.

As promised by the guide, the tour saw a remarkable illustration of what Jesus said in John 10, “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him [the shepherd], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).

When we follow our Shepherd, we will hear His voice and gather ourselves to Him. Where He leads, we will follow.

He is the Good Shepherd who: Cares for Us in Times of Pain Notice that we can cast our all. Nothing is too heavy for Him. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

He sees our weaknesses and pain and has empathy.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

Protects Us From Harm

Listen to what Jesus said about how He shepherds us.I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11-15)

Rescues Us From Danger

Even if we feel insignificant or unimportant, God rescues us.

What do you think?

If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. (Matthew 18:12-13).

Leads Us to Peace and Rest

Scientists say that rest is life-giving. Our shepherd offers the sweetest rest.“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11).

As leaders, it is important for each of us to be followers of the Good Shepherd because who we follow will determine how we lead.

Do we care for the people we lead?

Caring means we recognize the unique difficulties of each team member.

What issues does he or she face at home, in family life, in finances, in physical and mental health?

If we know them well, we will care for them well. Do we protect the people we lead? Protection means keeping our organizations strong and solvent and viable so that our team members will have a place to work and serve. What creative innovations have you implemented in your organization?

Do we rescue the people we lead?

Rescue means finding ways to rehabilitate and salvage lives that have gone astray. If a team member gets involved in addictive behaviors, what is your plan to help them and bring them back to the fold? If a team member loses focus and productivity, what can you do to restore their enthusiasm and concentration?

Do we know the place of rest and peace?

As a leader, rest and peace are central to your success. What will you do to rest in the Lord this week? How will you bring peace and calm to your organization?

Listen for your Shepherd’s voice.

It will be a unique and sweet sound that calls you into the leadership success you crave.

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice” (Psalm 95:6-7).

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