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An interesting take on followers and leaders from Sam Rainer… see what you think… If followers have power and influence, then why might they fall prey to bad leaders? How can the leader-follower relationship break down? What makes followers susceptible to toxic leadership? It is followers who are more to blame than leaders. Allow me to share three ways this breakdown occurs. Safety. In most situations, unfollowing a leader is almost as simple as the aptly named Twitter button. Most people are not locked into a leader. You can leave a church. You can transition out of a job. You can transfer schools. People can vote out politicians and strike against companies.  Most followers in our culture have the freedom to walk away. But with every increase in freedom comes a corresponding decrease in safety. If you walk away from your job, then the paycheck is no longer guaranteed. If you vote out a politician, then you risk voting in one who is worse. In short, followers stick with bad leaders because they are not willing to risk safety in order to be free. Belonging. Ditching a bad leader may mean leaving an important community. For instance, many followers remain loyal to a professional sports team despite an unscrupulous owner or ineffective coach. Loyalty is a powerful force within a community. Belonging in a human community will often supersede leaving a group leader. It’s why some churchgoers tolerate a fruitless pastor.  It’s why cult followers do not denounce the cult after the leader falters catastrophically. Unfollowing a toxic leader is often more painful (and less important) than the sense of belonging that comes from the community over which the leader presides. Comfort. Challenging bad leaders is uncomfortable (at best) and deadly (at worst), but many followers forget they have the power to challenge leaders. In fact, dual accountability is one of the keys to a successful leader-follower relationship. In order to challenge leaders, however, followers must let go of comfortable silence. If you are the only one to speak out, and no one joins you, then you’re left alone in a vulnerable and uncomfortable position. Many followers are not willing to risk comfort to challenge bad leaders. Same says that a healthy leader-follower relationship is less about an exaggerated leader romance and more about dual accountability. Accountability is what prevents leaders from becoming dictators and tyrants. Followers need leaders to help guide them to better places. Leaders need followers in order to fulfill their purpose. The proper glue sticking followers with leaders is accountability, not safety, belonging, and comfort. // Read more here on this from Sam now:  Why We Romance Poor Leadership « Church Forward.

Sam Rainer writes: Pastors, you must lead and shepherd all types—that’s what God called you to do when He sent you to a particular fellowship in a specific location. You have to work with the people that are there. In short, you must love your church where it is now, not where you hope it will be. With that being said, let’s look at some church member stereotypes: (Following is an abbreviated listing of the different types of church members Sam identifies. See if you can relate): The friend. Every pastor should be blessed with at least one person that doesn’t care about the fact he’s the shepherd. The supporter. This person is a vocal supporter of leadership. The dude. For whatever reason, every church seems to have at least one guy with great hair. The Mulder. Remember X-Files? Remember how Mulder always had some crazy conspiracy theory about aliens? Seems like there’s always at least one hyper-spiritual person in the church that thinks demons are behind everything that goes wrong. The caregiver. These people truly enjoy being selfless. The opportunist. He uses the church for a business network. The Pharisee. I like to call them the silly police. They enforce neckties in the traditional church. The mentor. This member is a rare breed. The warrior. This person prays unceasingly. The Axl Rose. They can belt it. They have incredible stage ability and top-notch musical talent. But they are temperamental. The anxious Annie. This person feels the need to tell everyone to pray for their third cousin’s best friend’s neighbor’s son’s cat that recently coughed up a tough hairball and had to go to the vet. The chinwag starter. Most everyone is guilty of some form of gossip, but this person is the hub for all the rumor spokes. The follower. If we are honest, this category accounts for the majority of our churches. Most people are happy with your leadership, on board with the vision and direction of the church, and willing to help you with ministry. You can read more of Sam’s thoughts on EACH of these categories right here… I’m wondering… what’s your favorite type of church person?  What’s your least favorite? And what categories would you add to Sam’s list?