In I Am a Follower: The Way, The Truth, and The Life of Following Jesus, Leonard Sweet makes a plea that the church has lost the biblical focus on being a follower of Jesus in the midst of the leadership culture of modern evangelicalism. Sweet argues that Jesus never called anyone to lead but simply to follow. As we follow Jesus ourselves, we should bring others alongside us to join us in our pilgrimage of following Jesus. Sweet states:
“This is the great tragedy of the church in the last fifty years: We have changed Paul’s words, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ,’ to ‘Follow me as I lead for Christ.'” (p. 20).
According to Sweet, the focus on leadership has fractured the church. People are now seen as a part of a Christian hierarchy where we cannot simply relate to each other as fellow disciples of Jesus. This shift is causing the church to lose its focus on biblical discipleship.
In a biblical discipleship model, Christians should be bringing others along with them in their own spiritual journey to encourage and equip them for how to live the Christian life. The goal of the scriptures was never professional clergy but brothers and sisters in Christ living together in authentic biblical community seeking to follow the Master.
I Am a Follower is organized around the thesis verse of John 14:6 with a focus on Jesus being “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Sweet helpfully addresses how these aspects of Jesus’ ministry and personality apply to the life of a disciple. The book contains many thoughtful quotes and helpful illustrations that make the biblical truth come alive to the reader. The sections also conclude with helpful questions for small group discussion. This is a challenging and practical book, which should be thoughtfully considered by those in church leadership and Christians seeking to truly follow Jesus.