A followship leadership

By this, I was taken by surprise. Humbly knowing in our 4 1/2 years of existence, our people were following us as we followed Christ. But not to this measure. Not to this newly discovered height. It was a night I will always remember. A night 200 women showed up in downtown San Francisco (a city not known for women’s ministry events.) A night of unity and a picture of followship in the most beautiful way. I’m not the one who cheers loudly, “Show up every day. Be faithful in the ordinary. Plant the seeds and let God bring the harvest.” My cheers tend to go, “Let’s go God. Let’s get this thing going. Time is of the essence.” {Note: the first set of cheers proves far more productive.} However, starting a church from scratch, I’ve learned to chant to myself and have watched as our lean staff of five show up everyday, live out faithfulness in the ordinary, and plant seeds. Leadership can be lonely for sure, but it can’t exist without others. Leadership requires followship. But who’s following? Are they just watching or are they truly leaning in and believing with you? Do they intend to stick it out despite the risks and challenges or are they fair weather fans? For 200 women to show up on a night created just for them, there was buy in. For a number of Sundays leading up to the event, I was overwhelmed at the sign up. As I sold tickets, I was grateful for the ones I knew who were coming and assured them it was going to be so special. In a city where isolation and depression grip way too many hearts, women were attaching themselves to community in mom’s groups and women’s groups, serving in a poverty-stricken neighborhood and tutoring kids at an under resourced school. I first saw this in spurts, hearing stories of transformation and life change. Then as our small groups begin to grow and multiply, it was evident on Sundays after church that community was happening. People were staying around in huddles discussing where they were going to lunch together and what time they would gather at someone’s apartment to watch the game. I would see pictures on facebook and know these people were spending time together because of their connection at church. The fun part is pointing to one woman and thinking about who invited her and to then point the other direction and think about who she’s now pouring into! To point to Bea who came to Epic during the early launch days because someone from the launch team invited her and her family. They bought in quickly to the vision and community of the church. Shortly after, she was volunteering and attending the first mom’s small group. She sought after discipleship and began to grow deeper in her faith. Then she was leading the mom’s group, inviting other women. Now she can look in front of her at the leadership she has had and behind her at the followship she now has been given. Bea was one of the leaders at the women’s event! But many times, I was meeting the woman for the first time as I sold her a ticket. I kept coming back to the start of it all where I knew the faces of everyone that sat in our living room, but then was jolted into the present where new people were coming into the church and I couldn’t meet them fast enough. Yet, someone was investing in them. Someone had invited them. Someone was intentional in knowing their name. But I’m not even going to give all the credit to the church. A number of women were brave enough to come to the event having only been to the church a time or two. Followship is contagious. People notice the buy-in. If we’re doing it right, a guest will feel welcomed at the first connection point and see it’s the culture. The Sunday before the women’s event on Monday night, a young professional man approached the ticket table with a young woman. He had moved to San Francisco from China a few months prior for his job and someone introduced him to Epic. Now he was bringing a girl who had just moved from Korea that worked on his team at work. It was her first time ever in church and here she stood ready to buy a ticket! Followship says, “I trust you.” With little known about one another, she was giving us her time and expecting us to welcome her and show her the way. What happened on the night 200 women showed up? First timers and committed followers, we saw ourselves as His light in our city. In a unified way we imagined radiance filtrating our neighborhoods, homes, apartments, coffee shops, hair salons, trains, and buses, and businesses. We saw ourselves as He sees us. We are not alone in such a big place. We are daughters with a purpose and have what we need to thrive in a community together for His glory! Followship Leadership is keeping an eye on where you’re going and an eye on who you’re leading. Leadership and followship combined are radiant! It always is and always will be with Christ at the center of it all. So let me cheer you on. I’m cheering loudly for you, a leader with followers: show up every day. be faithful in the ordinary. plant the seeds and let God bring the harvest. Be faithful. God will bring the harvest. How we did our women’s event: Our women’s event was planned from the heart with a small budget specific to the needs of our community. We hosted it at 7 pm on a Monday night before their week filled up. Tickets were $15 with scholarships available. The ticket included heavy appetizers, craft station make-n-takes, and guest speaker, also a local, Lisa Chan and her daughter Mercy who led worship. We used Eventbrite for ticket sales. Our purpose and plan: “Radiant is an ongoing display of light and with Christ, we become radiant! Join us for our first women’s event, Radiant, created to connect and empower us. A special night of fellowship and food and sound teaching by Lisa Chan.”

Published February 8, 2016