Leaders, Followers, and Outliers in Christian Culture.

Published in: Theology.

I recently read a blog post about leaders, followers, and gifted outliers.1 The idea is that there are some people that fall outside the scope of leader/follower dynamics. These people are unusually gifted in a particular area and don’t need teamwork for individual success. The article used a story to illustrate the idea:

Imagine a group of kids working on a team-building exercise where the entire group must walk across a wire between two trees without touching the ground. After receiving instruction, all the kids talk at once about their ideas. Eventually, one child emerges as the natural leader, able to sort through the ideas and direct the group with purpose. While all this is happening, a few kids with exceptional balance have not been paying attention to the conversation of their peers, but have been traversing the wire several times with ease.

The article goes on to state that while some leaders may ignore these gifted outliers and others may try and control them, truly effective leaders harness the gifts of these individuals for the best success of the group.

I don’t care what effective leaders do.2 What I’m concerned about here is the idea of this third dynamic to the traditional leader-follower paradigm. I see an incredible parallel in Christian culture.

In Christian culture we have people that are creating the culture (leaders) and people that are consuming the culture (followers). The leaders are the first to know about the coolest Christian band, or have the latest Christian fashion.3 The followers are the ones who, to an extent, copy these leaders likes and dislikes.

In this environment, there are some individuals who don’t care about the coolest Christian band or the latest Christian fashions. These are our gifted outliers. Marching to their own drummer, they are pursuing Christ. They don’t create popular trends or follow them. But they follow a long line of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles.4

May we all ignore Christian culture and be such outliers.

  1. I searched and searched to find this blog again, but to no avail. I would give due credit if I could.
  2. I do care about effective leadership, just not in the scope of this post.
  3. I use the term Christian here in connection to the subculture that can be found in Western Christianity. I do not mean that Christianity is cool music and latest fashion. The religion of Christianity is far more than this and far different from this.
  4. The patriarchs, prophets, and apostles found in the Bible. Not your familial patriarchs. Or your familial matriarchs.

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