Monday, September 10, 2012


We all focus on being leaders. And yeah we are leaders in one way or another. Some of us are positional leaders while others are more of influential leaders even without a position. But we must agree that there can be no leadership without followership. And no matter what kind of a leader you are, to a larger extent you too are a follower.

I would like to extract some followership principles from Jesus as shown in John 10:1-13. We know that the Leadership of Christ is accurate, perfect, complete and lacking nothing. So today we won't talk about quality leadership because we are following a perfect leader (assuming you follow Jesus). We will look at quality followership.

  •  Leadership (Jesus) comes through the GATE.

Jesus does force his way into the pen but He uses the gate. He uses legitimate means. He must be let in. You are the owner of your heart and you regulate who comes in and who goes out. So you must give Jesus access. Quality followership means giving authorization and building a connection. Have you given the shepherd access to your heart? The man who enters through the gate is the shepherd. 

  • Robbers and stealers come through other means.

The robbers break in. They force their way. The enemy does not ask for permission, he invades. How fortified is your pen? Quality followership means being fortified so that we can deter robbers from accessing the inside. Fortification means building ourselves strong enough to withstand the tricks of the enemy.

  •     The watchman opens the gate for the shepherd.

The watchman is the Holy Spirit. Quality followership means being led by the Holy Spirit. It’s through the Holy Spirit that our hearts are able give access to the Shepherd.

  •  The sheep listens to His (shepherd’s) voice.

Have you ever heard a parent describe an obedient child? They always say….. This one listens me. (Huyu mtoto huniskiza). Listen here means obedience. It is not listen in the usual sense, it is being able to figure out what you are required to do and doing it. Quality followership means walking in obedience. Should I add that it should be complete obedience?

  •  He calls his own sheep by name

Where I came from, we used to give names to cows, but not to goats or sheep. It’s funny to note that these sheep of Jesus are called by name. Name here stands for destiny and purpose. Quality followership means allowing the shepherd to define us and to unfold our purpose.

  • The shepherd goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.

Again where I came from, we used to look after the sheep from behind. We could not trust the sheep to follow us, so we looked after them and not lead them. Quality followership means knowing how to be led and knowing how to follow. Tracking the shepherd, trusting the shepherd to know your needs and where the pasture is and believing the shepherd is better than us.

  •     They will never follow a stranger but rather will run away from stranger’s voice.

My grandmother’s sheep were like her babies. If she would get late and you try to get them outside the pen, they would literally refuse to move. Quality followership means being intimate with the shepherd. This intimacy becomes a protective means against stranger’s voice.

  •    A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

True leadership is demonstrated through service and sacrifice and the fruit bore. Has the shepherd produced more life for the sheep or has life been destroyed, killed or stolen? How protected is the sheep when the wolf comes? Is the shepherd hired or he is a co-heir? Quality followership means being under a true leader.

  • I have other sheep that are not of this pen, I must bring them also.

Followership does not end with being a follower; it ends in bringing others to where you are. Quality followership facilitates the development of other followers. Followers must understand that they too are leaders.
  • Is this man demon possessed?... maybe not.. how does he open the eyes of the blind?

Leadership is an eye opening experience that brings followers to a place of clarity and sight. Quality Followership is walking under a leadership that takes you to the next level.

Thank you for being a quality follower of this post I hope it’s been worthwhile.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tales From The Garbage Collector

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"How come you got a baby and you didn't tell me?" My garbage collector asked me the other day. "How did you know?" I asked. "I am your garbage collector", he retorted. Ala! Had I missed the memo? I wondered to myself...

I tend to keep to myself. To mind my own business. To lead a quiet life. You can say am a bit snobbish but am not anti-social neither am I arrogant or rude. I will say hi to people, like the gate man, the shop keeper, the mama mboga, the taxi man, the butcher man and the garbage guy. I will also engage in small talk when they are serving me, but nothing elaborate, nothing personal.

So, I found it a little intruding when the garbage guy demanded to know why I had not informed him of the new development. He says he actually felt cheated to have to discover that for himself. To find the evidence in the garbage bag.

The garbage collectors knows so much about people, more than we want to imagine. Apparently, he is the person who ends up with the evidence of our lives. He knows the kind of lifestyle a family leads. He know their attitudes, their preferences, and he has the incriminating specimens as well as the treasured lessons from each family.

As we engaged in this conversation I sought to know the kind of family we are, based on our garbage bag. I was surprised at his 3 major findings:

  1. We hardly waste food. He had noted that we hardly have left overs stuck in the garbage and he wondered why. I was a bit shocked by that revelation but again it reveals who we are... a finishing generation. We eat it all. And again, economy imekuwa tight. Apparently he had noticed that very many families still waste a lot of food.
  2. He never gets paper bags and plastics which are his highly sought after treasures. Thinking about it, we collects plastic bags and plastic bottles keep them. Then when we get a visitor who would benefit from such, we give them. 
  3. I am the one who removes garbage. I laughed at this one. I can't remember my wife and I agreeing that I am the one to be removing the garbage, but that is a role I have played all along. 
This conversation taught me so many things about people and mostly about ourselves. That as much as we may not be close to people as we think, there is so much we can learn and teach just through observation. And there is so much our garbage bag can tell about us, more than we would be willing to expose. I was tempted to ask about other people, but then I remembered that is wrong and curiosity killed the cat. Maybe I should volunteer for a month in our estate and I will have a story about my neighbors. 

My garbage having had collected our garbage for more than 3 years, had made such a connection with us. A connection that I had no idea. He considered us family, and unfortunately to us, he was just a garbage guy. What a revelation. 

What does the content in your garbage bag say about you?