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The Call to Follow: Hearing Jesus in a Culture Obsessed with Leadership

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The market is flooded with books, conferences, and workshops on how to be a better leader. In most companies, leaders are noticed and applauded while followers are often viewed as weak and passive. However, Scripture tells us a different story; although leadership is valued and respected, being obedient followers of Christ is at the very heart of faith.  

In The Call to Follow, Richard Langer and Joanne J. Jung teach readers that “followership” is essential to both organizational and spiritual flourishing. They argue that followership requires the development of specific skills and virtues modeled and extolled throughout Scripture. They point to examples of people from the Bible and church history who focused on following in the footsteps of their Savior rather than positions of leadership among others. This helpful book seeks to dismantle the idol of leadership that’s so prevalent in our culture and points us instead to the biblical concept of followership. 


Richard Langer (PhD, University of California, Riverside) is a professor of biblical and theological studies and director of the Office for the Integration of Faith and Learning at Biola University. He is an ordained minister with over twenty years of pastoral experience and a coauthor of Winsome Persuasion and Winsome Conviction. He and his wife, Shari, are members at Fullerton Free Church in Fullerton, California.

Joanne J. Jung (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a professor of biblical and theological studies and the associate dean of online education and faculty development at the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. She is the author of Knowing GraceCharacter Formation in Online Education; and The Lost Discipline of Conversation. She and her husband, Norman, attend Mariners Church in Irvine, California. 


“With a myriad of books on leadership adorning my bookshelf, I now have the book for which I have been waiting a long time. The Call to Follow not only reinforces the essential calling of followership but rightly makes a persuasive and compelling biblical case that leadership’s most intimate companion is followership. A paradox of effective leadership is that to lead well we must follow well. I could not recommend this book more highly for all apprentices of Jesus who long to live a faithful and fruitful life.”
Tom Nelson, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Kansas City; President, Made to Flourish; author, Work Matters and The Economics of Neighborly Love

“Everyone wants to lead; few want to follow. Turns out that Jesus was a follower. He did the work his heavenly Father gave him to do. It’s time to follow his lead in relationships, in marriages, and in our work worlds. Joanne Jung and Richard Langer address a topic no one wants to tackle in our leader-crazed culture. Don't worry, this is not a pedantic primer on followership. It includes a practical section, ‘Soul Rhythms for Faithful Following’, that will jump-start your followership skills. If you love leading and bristle at following, follow my lead and put this book on your list.”
Greg Leith, CEO, Convene

“It turns out that great leaders have great lieutenants. Jesus himself is a consummate follower—of the Father. Langer and Jung wisely point out that following can be dangerous, even deadly; lemmings and cliffs come to mind. So they don’t advocate blind following—the blind following the blind, but offer strong exhortations to wise and courageous following, which comes down to a matter of heart and pays lasting fruit. Their chart contrasting followership stereotypes versus biblical followership is worth the price of the book.”
Sam Crabtree, Pastor for Small Groups, Bethlehem Baptist Church; author, Practicing Thankfulness

“Langer and Jung provide a clarion call for the church to take followership seriously. They present a refreshing vision of biblical followership and remind readers that mission-centric and faithful obedience is what sets people apart whether they are leaders or followers. The book puts followership and leadership in proper perspective and offers timeless principles and examples for believers to be faithful Christ followers.”
John Shoup, Executive Director, Dr. Paul & Annie Kienel Leadership Institute; Professor of Leadership Studies, California Baptist University

The Call to Follow is such a refreshing read that relieves leaders of the pressure of working harder to lead better. I’ve been waiting for a book like this! What if we just spent time thinking about following Jesus, pure and simple? Joanne Jung and Richard Langer, my dear Biola University colleagues, remind us all in these pages that we are best when following, not to be more effective leaders but to be more faithful disciples. This book is a true gift to Jesus followers, which is all we need to be. We may move in and out of leadership, but there is never a day when we will not be followers. We are ‘disciples’ of Christ, a term that means followers. We have no higher aspiration than to follow the author and perfecter of our faith.”
Barry H. Corey, President of Biola University; author, Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue

“I am grateful to have a work in hand that focuses on following for the sake of serving rather than seeking to eventually lead. Langer and Jung reveal the repeated theological, cruciform importance of God-fearing followership to the mission of Christ and his kingdom. Local congregations and Christian ministries will be dramatically influenced and empowered for congregational-maturing and neighborhood-transforming good works if they recover this vision for biblical followership. May we accept this invitation to embrace the soul rhythms that beautify our callings to be followers.”
Eric C. Redmond, Associate Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute; Pastor of Preaching and Teaching, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois