Follow the Leader is Not a Game for Children

2012 RightNow Conference


In this 44 minute session from the 2012 RightNow Conference, Todd Wagner, Senior Pastor of Watermark Community Church, talks about the importance of modeling the kind of life that we are leading others to live. 

First, take a look at this profile of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas, which shows how they equip members to intentionally and relationally serve and engage the community for Christ.



It's exciting to see a church that is equipping and unleashing the congregation to reach others for Christ. How are we leading others to be on the front line? How are we living that life ourselves?

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact the way you lead.



Todd described the qualities of a great leader, Jesus Christ: "Follow me. Do what I've done. Well done, not well said."  And he contrasted that with examples of how God declared that poor leaders were ones who acted like children (Isaiah 3: 1–4, Ecclesiastes 10:16).

Todd listed some negative attributes and actions of children: selfish, foolish, impetuous, lack wisdom, lack discipline, throw temper tantrums, easily deceived, fickle, make messes they can't clean up, invent their own right and wrong, danger to themselves and others.

Have you lived under the leadership of a "childish" leader? Have you served under the leadership of a great, "follow me" leader? Describe the difference.
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Are there any childish attributes or actions that you struggle with? Where do you see a need for change?
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Todd talked about several different types of leaders:

  • 1. Charismatic leaders - able to build large followings by their talent
  • 2. Family - leadership bestowed because of their family name
  • 3. Title - leadership authority is in their position
The danger comes if any of those leaders are not ultimately surrendered daily to Jesus Christ. Todd explained that when leaders do not stand on moral authority, they become a scourge to the Kingdom and devastating to the people.

Describe how you come by your authority. Charismatic? Family? Title? None of the above? What self-doubts (if any) has that caused?
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Todd referred to John 12:20–29 as the disciples looked to Jesus near the end of his earthly life. He pointed out in vs. 27 that Jesus was "writhing" with what he had to do. What in your leadership role makes you writhe, think of rebellion, want to run? How can you surrender to what God has called you to do?
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No matter the rank of our title or how many we lead, we have all been given the same access to God's strength and provision in our lives and in our call to leadership. How are you handling what you've been given? Are there ways to improve?
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How are you living an integrated life? Are you living the same in private as you are in public? How would your family compare your public and private life?
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Are you modeling a regular confession of sin? How do the people you lead know that you are "not perfect." What can you do this week to live a more authentic life? What would you add? What would you give up?
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When you surrender to anything other than God, you are surrendering to something less than what is good for you. You cannot convince others to do what you don't believe and practice yourself.

"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." - John 13:15 (NIV)


In his session, Todd referred to Jen Hatmaker's talk from the 2012 RightNow Conference. You can find it in the RightNow Conference Leadership Event channel titled "Live a Better Story featuring Jen Hatmaker" or click here.

For information about the upcoming RightNow Conference, go to rightnowconferences.org.