What Makes a Good Follower?
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I heard a speaker named Patrick Lencioni share a really counterintuitive coaching strategy. He and another dad coached his son’s soccer team, and this particular league did a big draft. On the day of the draft, all the players and coaches got together and ran drills, demonstrated skills and then had a big draft to pick teams.
I remember Lencioni sharing that he and his assistant coach made it a point to ignore the kids who were obviously the best players. The ones demonstrating crazy dribbling skills, killer corner kicks and probably even those sick bicycle kicks. No, he said they looked for kids who were really engaged with the other players. The kids who were really positive, excited to be out there. Not the kids who never made a mistake, but the kids who never made the same mistake twice. The ones who were coachable.
He said that a crazy thing happened – when it came time to draft teams, they got every single one of their picks.
And then an even crazier thing happened – they had an amazing season. I don’t remember if they won first place or not, but Lencioni said that all the kids loved it. The parents did too – none of the drama that often comes with having all-star kids on a team. They learned a lot, they improved massively as a team and they had an incredible season.
Because Lencioni and his assistant coach realized there was something broken about the typical way sports drafts work – even at the level of kids’ sports. That maybe skill with a ball isn’t the only – or best – skill for a team. (Tell that to Jamie Tart, am I right, Ted Lasso fans?)
Lencioni’s insight applies to our question for today: What makes a good disciple?
If you’re going out to share the good news about Jesus, who are you going to talk to? If you were to imagine the ideal convert. Who is that? A business leader who can donate lots of money? Or maybe a celebrity – a rock star or movie star who can use their platform to tell more people? Or what about a politician – someone in office who could genuinely represent the way of Jesus at the highest levels of government (you know, instead of giving lip service then ignoring anything Jesus actually taught).
Fame. Power. Wealth. Are these the things that make someone an ideal follower of Jesus? You’d think so, to look at Evangelicalism today. We’re obsessed with Kanye’s Sunday Services, who Justin Bieber calls his pastor, and how much money various pastors’ sneakers cost.