Fake or Follower?

To be or not to be … Fake or Follower that is the question that every believer is going to have to answer at some point whether in the here and now or on the other side of eternity.

Pastor John said to the staff recently, “If you’re not reading you’re not leading.” He then proceeded to ask us what we were currently reading.  If I’m to tell the truth, I have 17 books in various stages of being read sitting on my nightstand and next to my reading chair. This does not count the ones that are in my “to read pile” or that are on my Kindle.  

I know this is a little different blog post than you are used to, but I figured it was worth sharing since this book has challenged me and got me thinking:

As a leader am I leading others to be fake and go through the motions of Christianity or am I living authentically and showing what it means to follow Jesus?

I have not just been reading this book but listening to the audio version as well.  It’s that good! It contains so much information that you need to read and reread it just to absorb it all.

Everyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ needs to read this book. As a pastor and ministry leader, I want the people under my leadership to read it. I was convicted at times by the Holy Spirit to repent of my own attitudes, but always inspired to live more authentically and to go deep!  

Many of the topics in Andi’s book are ones I have talked about and shared as well. Many topics she covers in the book, I have heard others complain about too.  For example, in her chapter on “Crowd Pleaser or Mountain Climber” she has a section that talks about the consumer within all of us. She included a passage from: The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity by Soong-Chan Rah.  Honestly, this book is going to the top of my must-read list.  The quote I am about to share is powerful, it is inspiring, and it is convicting!  

Rah, a college professor and pastor, addresses consumerism and materialism – the soul of Western, white cultural captivity – as applied to “shopping” for a church.  He reflects on a Sunday when he drove his family forty-five minutes to their “local” church.

“Even after an American Christian chooses a church, he or she will entertain prospects of leaving a church because it is not meeting his or her personal and individual needs. How easy is it for an American Christian to approach finding the right church the way we approach buying cereal at the local supermarket?  We’re looking for all the right ingredients and rejecting churches because they don’t have our style of worship, our style of preaching, or our type of people. We’re purchasing a product rather than committing to the body of Christ.” [1]

Andi goes on to explain that there are certainly valid reasons why people can’t stay a part of one community, however, what she and Rah are addressing is the “consumer mentality” that is within us ALL.  It’s the mentality that chooses to critique rather than contribute a solution to the body of Christ.    

Andi goes on to say this:

“If I, as a pastor, am teaching you to be a consumer, then I shouldn’t be surprised when you act like one. But if I keep pushing you back into the arms of your Father, encouraging you to listen to the Holy Spirit and read your Bible, digging into all that you’ve been given in Jesus and breaking down the religious constructs in your own heart, then you’ll become a self-feeder, transformed by your walk with God and in turn, a multiplier.  Sunday’s will become a place of community, contribution, equipping, encouragement, and activation, not the place where out spiritually grocery shop for your needs. … It’s easy to leave a church based on offense, past experience, snap judgements, or not being fed as if we don’t have the ability to feed ourselves.” [2]

Now, please hear me when I say this. This is not to point fingers at anyone.  I’ve been guilty of having a “consumer mentality” as well! The truth is, we all choose: Will I be a consumer or a contributor?

This book has caused me to take a good long hard look in the mirror and ask God to examine my heart.  I believe that it is important that we truly examine our hearts and ask ourselves the tough question: Am I a Fake? Or Am I a Follower?

As John 10: 14-16 says, “14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd,”(ESV). My prayer is that we each have the courage to make the necessary adjustments in our own lives and attitudes to live authentically as a follower of Jesus Christ; to follow the voice of our Shepherd.

[1] Andi Andrews, Fake or Follower: Refusing to Settle for a Shallow Faith (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker books 2018) page 89

[2] Andi Andrews, Fake or Follower: Refusing to Settle for a Shallow Faith (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker books 2018) page 90-91

 


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