Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader


The TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon is a Boston qualifier course. The 26.2 mile-run starts and ends in downtown Moline, Illinois. It carries the runners through some of the most picturesque scenes of our nation’s heartland.

In the September 2021 race, a very unusual thing happened. Tyler Pence is a sports coach at the University of Illinois. During the race, he was far behind two Kenyan runners. Because the Kenyans were so fast, volunteer leaders were not in place yet to direct the runners. A volunteer leader unintentionally directed the Kenyan runners to make a wrong turn. Because of the extra mileage they ran, Tyler Pence won the race. It was the first time a local person had won in many years.

This happens occasionally. In the Venice marathon in 2017, a local Italian runner won the race when the six leading runners took a wrong turn. It is very important to have leaders who can lead. People follow where leaders lead.

When I was pastor at Frazer, we had a large children’s choir program. One Sunday night, the 5-year-old children’s choir was going to sing at the evening worship service. There were 49 of them present. They lined up in the hall outside the sanctuary so they could come in at the appropriate time to sing.

The teachers had done an excellent job in teaching the music. They made one simple error in picking the wrong little boy to be the leader. He had on a new suit and bowtie, and everybody thought he was cute.

The little boy started leading the other 48 children down the side aisle. People sitting in the pews were smiling and commenting about how cute he looked. He began to enjoy it. Rather than leading the children up to the steps to sing, he just took a right turn near the altar rail and started back up the center aisle. All 48 were following him. His mother saw what was happening but was not sitting on the end of the pew. She tried to grab him but was unable to.

I’ll never forget the scene of those 49 children going up and down the aisles following that little boy. Finally, his daddy intercepted him on the second trip around and led him up to the steps. The rest of the kids followed. People follow where leaders lead.

The problem in many churches is that leaders are being complimented and enjoying their leadership role but deviate from the course they should be leading. Some churches just go around in circles because they are following the leader.

When business organizations, churches, athletic teams, and schools get the right leader, you begin to see amazing results. Observe the leadership in any organization in which you are a part. Is it being led by people you want to follow?

Moses invited the children of Israel to follow him to the Promised Land. They followed. (Exodus 6 ff.) Nehemiah invited the people to join him in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They followed him. (Nehemiah 2,3 ff.) Jesus invited people to follow him, and they did. (Matthew 4:18-22) People follow where leaders lead.

The most important race in town is the race of life. Are you leading people to win an imperishable prize? (I Corinthians 9:24-27) Are you following leaders who are leading to the finish line?

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