Do you want followers or runners? – Jeremy Austill

“People will follow you because of your title, talent
and anointing. They will run with you because of your heart.”

As I observe and attempt to
perceive how over the last five years TYM has become a “movement”, how growth
has happened and momentum attained, I can point to many variables. Some
variables have little to do with me and are more about right time, right place,
right people and the right thing happening when it needed to happen. The
ultimate variable is the sovereignty of God and His choosing to bestow his
favor and command blessing. If you were to ask me what practice in my life, as
a leader, has been a strong catalyst for this “movement”, the low hanging fruit
would be to cite prayer, an emphasis on Jesus’ presence, relationship building,
so on and so forth. However, the dynamic I have practiced from the beginning of
my time in this role, that I believe has had profound affect, is tied to the
opening quote.

It is easy to identify when
someone is very talented, and the truth is we all like to be associated with
excellence. Many, depending on how they revere a particular institution, have
an elevated view and honor regarding particular titles. Thus they follow a
person out of respect and duty because those are their core values. We are all
aware of how anointing on someone’s life draws on people’s hearts and compels
them to follow. It’s nice to be followed. It is the definition of being a
leader in its simplest form, to be followed. However, being followed does not necessarily
mean people are invested or their hearts engaged to the necessary degree to
become a “movement”. What transitions people from follower to runner? What is
it that compels them to throw off their own ambitions, set aside their personal
agendas, and cease in building their towers of Babel and dreaming with you? Not
only hoping of what might be, but willingly surrendering themselves for the
sake of the whole…

The answer? Your heart…your
honesty…your transparency…your vulnerability…your willingness to identify your
own wrong thinking and communicate your weakness.

I understand there is a
tension as it pertains to familiarity breeding contempt. To be vulnerable is to
risk people removing you from a pedestal. However, people tend to worship
what’s on a pedestal, and become dependent on a hero.
They will lay themselves
down alongside someone who has laid their soul bare.

I have found it is
possible to tell the truth without being honest. Meaning you can declare the
truth of the word of God but not be honest with where you are in relation to
that truth. If you were to ask the youth and kids leaders of TYM, I believe (I
hope) they would tell you, “Jeremy is honest.” In leader sessions,
round tables and personal conversations I have tried to always lace everything
I am saying with transparency of how I have failed, struggled and how I have
triumphed. Please hear me, this is not a method or a leadership tool…this is a
lifestyle of humility and vulnerability. It is a part of walking humbly with
our God. It is being family. You don’t follow family…you run with and fight for
family.

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