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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus

Thomas Nelson I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus

"Leadership" has become a runaway obsession for those who are called to equip the body of Christ for service in the Kingdom of God. The concept of "followership" is all but lost in the wake of this leadership fetish, a near hypnotic obsession. Jesus' clear call, and the pattern of New Testament leadership, are actually found in a pattern of followership. We've been told otherwise but when it comes to a movement in our churches, our families, or the workplace, everything rises or falls on followership.

Sweet proposes an intentional shift from leadership cults to followership cultures. He critiques the issue of leadership obsession but focuses on reigniting a passion for the "follow me" theme found throughout the gospels and the entire New Testament. Building on a set of metaphors/images, he stirs the imagination by showing what it means to be a follower of Christ and explains the vital cog that followership and the first follower play in helping others enter into the Kingdom of God.

I Am A Follower moves readers:

  • from leaders that are over to followers that are among
  • from sages and gurus to scouts and guides
  • from Saul's armor to David's sling
  • from having the right answers to asking the right questions
  • from architects to gardeners
Average Customer Rating:
3.809 out of 5
3.8
 out of 
5
(21 Reviews) 21
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17 out of 2181%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Review 1 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Too much rant, not enough point

Date:March 11, 2014
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Anonymous
Location:South Africa
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The book says that we need to move away from a culture of leadership (actually it says cult of leadership) and focus on followership. Which is a good idea. However I felt that the author spent too much time focusing on why leadership is bad, and leaders are misguided, and how we need to stop focusing on leadership. BUT HE NEVER DOES.
I would have preferred to hear more about how to develop as a follower.
I agree with the basic premise of this book, that we all want to be leaders, when we are called to be followers. But I think we can't undervalue the gift of leadership as a calling, provided it is secondary to the followership.
Not a book I enjoyed, and not one I would recommend. I am however led to believe that his other books are quite good, so I will try another one at a later stage.
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Review 2 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A must read for those desiring to lead.

Date:January 3, 2013
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pastordan4
Location:Kimberly, ID
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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I recently ready the book, "I Am A Follower" by Leonard Sweet. We live in a world that is staurated with people wanting to be leaders. Our society claims that leadership is where the success is and everyone should try to get there. As a Pastor I even have longed for leadership. My personality is one that given the situation I naturally want to lead in whatever I am doing. Sweet offers a little different view. One that is Biblical however never really sank in before. Jesus never called us to be leaders, He called us to follow. He called us to follow His ways. Life as He lived. From you knowing how to follow Jesus others can learn to learn too.
When we live a life of a follower naturally the fruits of knowing Jesus are produced. They are produced on their own and not from careful planning and strategy. I personally think that desiring to be a leader is not wrong but it is key to know how to follow Jesus before you expect to effectively lead anyone. I would recommend this book to those who really desire to lead. It is a little slow getting into but give it a chance. There is a lot of challenging information that Sweet offers you to think about.
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Review 3 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

read this

Date:September 4, 2012
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Archie Isib
Location:Ph
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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The author challenges you and for me at least, made me really rethink the way in which I follow Jesus' and God's teachings, takes the reader on a journey back to basics and retraces the steps back to who I am? Where am I? Where am I going? So now ask yourself!!! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to examine their own Christian faith... Read this and be ready to change, that's no empty promises. In addition he provides ample examples and stories to ensure that the book was not merely theoretical. Sweet also discusses the importance of discipleship, and the crucial role this has in developing real Jesus followers. Sweet makes the case that Jesus is the only Leader, and the rest of us are followers. Jesus showed us perfect leadership by being a perfect Follower. Read this now!
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Review 4 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not a book I could get into

Date:July 31, 2012
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Steve Smit
Quality: 
2 out of 5
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2 out of 5
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1 out of 5
This is a book that never really took off for me. I have not read any of Leonard Sweet's books in the past, but I have heard they are better than this one.
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Review 5 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Great to read.

Date:June 20, 2012
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junnelaranas
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I read a lot of books and after picking this one up I couldn't set it down. Most churches seem to have little tolerance for risk in ministry. Ministry can be messy, but this book challenges its readers to embrace risk. I have been challenged to develop a theology of risk.They close the book with some examples of where
This book is filled with good material and many good quotes. I am so glad to have read this book. The authors are clearly passionate about the Church and the kingdom of God. More importantly, they remind us again that the church does not exist for herself. The message is so good that it must be shared. . It is while encouraging these that this book shines. However, in order to overcome these problems what the church does not need is a renewed A bold and sobering claim to be sure, but one eminently worth considering.
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Review 6 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good BUT...

Date:April 19, 2012
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Logan
Location:New Zealand
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This is an interesting book. Leonard Sweet, whether you like his previous works or not makes a very valid point at the core of his book. Simply put, Christians should focus on being Followers of Jesus, first and foremost. This point is something I quite agree with but Sweet launches a full assault on the leadership culture within the church, which while critique is not doubt deserved (especially in some churches), it seems he labours the point early on in the book to create dichotomy to highlight his point.
The book is structured around Jesus' statement "I am the way, the truth and the life" which gives it coherence. And again, the book makes a good point; I, like any other Christian should be a follower of Jesus first and foremost. But I think he misses something in making his point. I am not not a fan of his writing style, it comes across to me as whimsical and he uses things like inserting parenthesise into a word to show off his array of puns.
So in all, this is not a bad book but not one that I've enjoyed so much.
I received this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 7 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Confused theology; a few good parts

Date:April 5, 2012
Quality: 
2 out of 5
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2 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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I Am A Follower by Leonard Sweet is a book about following Jesus Christ by becoming Christ-like, instead of wanting our own self-glory and trying to all become and create leaders using the worldly CEO-corporate-secular business model of success. Sweet tells us that church should not be deemed a success based on numbers, tithe, etc but based on christ-likeness and brotherhood of believers. This is a good solid message.
This book has some REALLY good parts: especially pages 40-90. My favorite quote from the book is:
If the primary relationships of our church members lie in their relationship to the church en masse rather than in life-on-life connections with one another, then we have missed the sweet spot. We have attracted a congregation, but we have not developed a "Christbody" community. Pg 85
I would love to recommend the book based on these pages alone, but the rest of the book is dry, painful and I couldn't find any value in it. Once you hit the middle of the book, the rest of the book after page 90 is difficult to find anything meaningful. This is supposed to be the practical - how to apply this to your life part. However, it comes across that the author doesn't really know how to apply it, doesn't live it or just has a difficult time explaining to his readers how to apply.
After finishing the book, I came away not sure of Leonard Sweet's own theological beliefs, but he seemed to lean liberal/Arminianist. I Googled him and learned he is a Methodist clergyman. Sweet quotes all types of believers, even though they hold some different and opposing theologies. This makes it seem like the author doesn't have one solid theological point of view himself. On the conservative side, he quotes St Augustine. In the middle to liberal side, he quotes: Thomas Aquinas, CS Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Deitrich Bonhoeffer, the Catholic Thomas Merton and Methodists Charles Wesley and Sydney Carter. He also quotes Pentecostal Jack Hayford. But then on the extreme liberal side, he quotes Word of Faith (who some would call "cultic") Joyce Meyer and John Wimbler (Third Wave, Vineyard Church). Others he quotes: Nelson Mandela, William Cushing, Rusty Ricketson, Barbara Kellerman, Travis Keller, Hugh Halter, Frederick Buechner, and Roger Scruton.
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review in exchange for the book. This is my critical review of the book as if I had bought the book with my hard earned money.
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Review 8 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

I am a follower

Date:March 11, 2012
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Kirra
Location:Texas
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
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The basic premise of this book is that the church has taken on an idea of leadership, as well as how the church should be run, from the business world. Leonard Sweet explains in his book that the way leadership should be done is by being a follower. The term he uses is “first follower.” He discusses this idea by dividing the book into three main sections: via (the way), verita (the truth), and vita (the life).
I was really intrigued by the initial idea that it’s not about being a leader. I realized as I was reading that he’s not really going against the idea of leadership, but he is going against the idea of what leadership has become. We are really followers of Christ who are asking others to follow Christ along with us. On page 39, Sweet says, “To emphasize followership is not to eliminate the notion that we need leaders. It is to flush the definitions, concepts, and practices of flesh-based leadership down the sewer they came from.”
At one point, he references the story of King David, before he was king, when he went to fight Goliath. Saul gave David his armor, but David refused it. Rather, he chose to face the giant with the tools that God had given him. He took off the “modern” weaponry and faced Goliath, trusting that God would take care of him. I think this is probably the best biblical picture of what Sweet is trying to explain here. We need to be wary of using the tools of the business world when it comes to the church. By all means, consider what their methods have to offer, but each should be compared next to the words of scripture and the ways of Christ to determine whether it is something we should implement. The church should not look like a business.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves a leader in the church. You may agree, or you may disagree, but at the very least, it will get you thinking about the way you are leading God’s people.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
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Review 9 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

take me to your leader

Date:February 22, 2012
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markbraye
Location:Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I Am A Follower: The Way, The Truth, and The Life of Following Jesus is professor and author Leonard Sweet's latest book. in small print in the botton left-hand corner of the page in bracketts are the words, "It's never been about leading."
this book is a wonderful must read for people who follow Jesus Christ and care about discipleship. if you care more about being a leader don't read this book; it will offend and bother you.
the Church in North America is obsessed with leadership. conferences, seminars, books, sermons, and articles paint a ministry and mission picture that, sadly, Jesus may not even recognize.
I Am A Follower is full of wonderful stories and insights from Sweet. Sweet's engagement with the life and ministry of Jesus and his embracement of Biblical texts is excellent.
this book engages readers to think about discipleship in the light of follwership of Jesus Christ. for Sweet, Jesus is the only leader. we as followers may still have influence and direction through ministry in the lives of others, but we're always behind Jesus Christ in this work. Jesus Christ is our leader in all things we do.
Shane Claiborne calls Sweet "a theological poet." i couldn't agree more and i couldn't reccomend this book more.
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Review 10 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

A base hit

Date:February 21, 2012
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TofC
Location:Canada
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
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This is a book for those desire to follow Jesus and are wrestling through the leadership discipleship tension. It’s chapters are based around Jesus’ imperative of His being the way, truth, and life and it’s implications about following Him . It is appropriate for anyone realizing the restlessness of leadership and the challenges of followership.
I struggled with this book. I loved it at times (incarnationalI get the tension between leadership and discipleship. I wonder if Sweet oversimplified the struggle, painting leadership in a negative light. Romans 12:8 commands those whith the gift of leadership to lead with all diligence. We need leaders. God establishes leaders and wants them to lead well. The troubles arise when leadership trumps or blurs following Jesus. I think that was Sweet’s concern.
I received this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 11 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The world needs more followers

Date:February 20, 2012
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mojo
Location:Texas
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Leonard Sweet is currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon. Author of more than two hundred articles, over twelve hundred published sermons, and dozens of books, including the Jesus Manifesto.
His latest book, I am a Follower is a leadership book for anyone who has never connected with leadership books. What I mean to say is, it's an anti-leadership book.
As a pastor I read leadership books all of the time, and there are a lot of great ones out there. I also bump into a lot of "leadery leaders" who have the expensive jeans, the goatee and the latest Rick Warren book in their back pocket. I try to go to leadership conferences every so often to see what other leaders are doing - to draw inspiration from leaders and to just bask in the fact that we're all leaders together and isn't being a leader, fun?
Leonard Sweet's book is not about any of that, and yet it's still about leadership, or rather it's about followership. Does the bible really ask us to lead? Or does it tell us to follow? "Leadership is an alien template we have laid on the Bible." I tweeted that quote as soon as I read it. That quote resonated with me to my very core. Why is the church so busy to create leaders, to raise up leaders, to hire leaders when all along, we should be making followers?
Sweet explains in his book what it means to be a "first follower." Someone who takes the initiative to go out into the open, exposed to the world and to begin to follow our Savior the way he asks to be followed. Jesus said, "follow me." He never said study me, or listen to me, or memorize me, or any of the other frames we have used to feign allegiance. Jesus didn't even invite his students to be attached to the Torah, "he invited them to be attached to himself."
Leadership is typically about being front and center, about being looked at, and admired. Leadership is the big chair, the cherry wood desk, the final say, and the loudest voice. Leadership is about privilege, private meetings and private jets. But front and center is not where you will ever find Jesus. In fact the bible says that Jesus often "retreated to lonely places." Whenever fame and fortune were thrust on Jesus, Jesus quickly rejected them. "To find and follow Jesus, we must decentralize our thinking and decenter everything."
I loved this book, not because it "taught" me anything, but because it put words to a theology that I have always felt at my core. Don't get me wrong, I will still go to leadership conferences and I will still read leadership books, but at least now I will remember the real reason why I lead... to create followers of Jesus.
I received this book for free from book sneeze
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Review 12 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Every church leader should read this book - soon!

Date:February 12, 2012
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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If you ask church leaders who they would rather spend time with, someone in their congregation, or other "leaders," the honest answer in today's church culture would probably be that of other leaders.
That's because there is an ungodly obsession with the topic of "leadership" among many church leaders.
And sadly, not a biblical concept of "leadership" either.
Leonard Sweet does nothing short of a brilliant job exposing this near addiction to "leadership" in the church in his outstanding new book, "I Am A Follower," published by Thomas Nelson.
Sweet writes, "Over the last three decades, there has been a seismic shift across the landscape of the church. The advent of church-growth theory, coupled with exponential advances in technology, has created a hyperpursuit for leadership muscle that has never been seen before."
That shift has led to church leaders immersing themselves in an overabundance of leadership literature, flocking to the multitudes of leadership conferences available, and changing their focus to making other leaders rather than making disciples. Sweet does a straightforward job of highlighting how we've turned being a follower of Christ into something Jesus never intended it to be: a quest for leadership.
"I hope to convince you to quit defining yourself as a leader, stop aspiring after leadership, and instead set your sights on being a 'Jesus follower' or 'fellow follower' or 'first follower'," writes Sweet.
Sweet has a good goal for a very simple reason: Jesus never called people to come be leaders in His church. Instead, Jesus calls us to follow Him. And as we follow Him, we make other followers who join us in following Christ.
It was never about leadership!
It was always about followership!
But when was the last time you heard a "leader" talking about "followership"?
"I Am A Follower" isn't a simplistic knock at today's church leadership myth. While Sweet directly challenges the concept of leadership within the church, most of the book explores the answer to what would be better, and more biblical: the biblical concept of followership.
Yes, even for "leaders."
From describing today's addiction for leadership, Sweet challenges us to change our direction and focus on being followers of Christ. But what does that look like today? Using Jesus' teaching that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Sweet does a compelling, insightful, and brilliant job plunging the reader into a thorough exploration of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
So compelling is Sweet's examination of followership that I found the book to be a slow read. Not because it's complicated; Sweet's writing is clear and understandable for any reader. But because Sweet has loaded this book with such insight you will want to marinate in the ideas and thoughts pouring forth from the pages.
This is a book so vitally needed for today's church leaders that I recommend, if possible, that you buy extra copies to share with church leaders you know.
Further, "I Am A Follower" isn't just for leaders, but is a beneficial resource for all of us who desire to follow Jesus Christ.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 13 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Ideas

Date:February 8, 2012
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iainsmurray
Location:Toronto, Canada
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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I Am a Follower, written by Leonard Sweet, is a well timed reply to the leadership crazewithin the Church over the past twenty (plus) years. The message within the book is simple, and is as follows: we are not called to “lead”; rather, we are called to be the first followers of Jesus. This idea flips the idea of a leadership/followership (a term used by Sweet on many occasions) on its head by stating that it is not our job to be in front of the pack. Instead, Jesus stands at the front of the pack, and we follow him.
Leonard Sweet is a great author; he words are carefully crafted and his ideas seem to be very prayerfully considered. I was happy with the theme and the presentation, and I would be the first to admit that, as a pastor, that I had not previously thought in these terms. Needless to say, I will think in those terms, now. Overall, the message was convincing and well researched.
The book did drag at points, and it seemed as though the text’s one point was repeated lots of times without much in the way of building upon previous information (this led to a slightly boring read, at times), but overall, I Am a Follower was well worth the time.
I received a copy of I Am a Follower from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 14 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Book--it will change you

Date:February 1, 2012
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cathy
Location:Kansas
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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I am a Follower by Leonard Sweet. This book explains the Jesus followership dance of life. He teaches us that the world's "be a leader" mantra is not the plan of Jesus for our life. Jesus wants us to walk beside him as we go through life and learn from him. Much the same as we learn from our parents by watching and living with them. Mr Sweet tells of how when Jesus walked the world he did not say follow me then lead a parade-rather when He said walk with me he said, walk along side me and while you life with me I'll teach you how to live a Holy life for God.
This book set me on fire for learning to live the life that Jesus wants me to have. This book posed the question, is what you are doing right now worthy of Jesus incarnation, death, and resurrection? I found that I was woefully wanting of worthiness. This book is filled with gentle reminders of what we are put here on earth to do. This book encouraged me to not strive to be a leader of people but rather to be a Follower of Christ.
This book was provided for me from Booksneeze for this review and I am most grateful for this gift.
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Review 15 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

I AM A FOLLOWER is a game changer

Date:January 31, 2012
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Pastor Russell
Location:Canton, GA
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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I AM A FOLLOWER, written by Leonard Sweet is a book that will cause one to really evaluate what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. During the course of the book, Sweet will challenge the “what has been” with what the Bible clearly says about being a follower of Jesus. Sweet’s approach to the Biblical meaning of being a “follower” brings a strong challenge and course correction to the individual and to the corporate life of the church.
Sweet has divided the body of the book into three main sections, (The WAY, TRUTH, & LIFE) with small bits of text that I found easy to read. It is my opinion that this book builds a strong mirror image of how a follower interacts with Jesus and with fellow followers. It also addresses the negative viral impact of bringing the corporate structure and its ways into the body of Christ. Sweet establishes that instead of having a hierarchy of leadership within the church, the church should exist with only one leader – that being Jesus Christ himself. Therefore, the church is made up of ALL followers practicing “followership” under Christ’s leadership. Sweet uses the term “first followers” as those in the body that spur others towards being a first follower themselves.
I found this book to be challenging both in its application and theological approach. It will get readers really thinking about the way Jesus intended His church to be and function. I would recommend this book to others.
I received this book for free from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for this review. (see disclaimer page for more information)
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Review 16 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Great thoughts, but takes discipline to read.

Date:January 17, 2012
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LisaH
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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“I Am a Follower” by Leonard Sweet is an interesting book. Sweet puts down the “leadership” movement of modern churches, stating that Christianity has “never been about leading.” It has always been about being a follower of Christ.
Sweet promotes a “followership” culture over a “leadership” one within our churches. He encourages the reader to be a “first follower,” a follower of Christ who steps out serving his Lord and encourages others to follow right along with him. After all, our churches should be led by Christ. He is the Head, all of us (including church staff) are followers.
Although I thoroughly agree with most of the principles and thoughts that Sweet promotes in this book, I had a hard time getting into it. It simply did not hold my attention very well. I think that Sweet “split hairs” in defining some concepts, and he writes in a lofty way that I did not enjoy. It took some discipline to finish this book, but discipline isn’t a bad thing.
Bottom line is that the thoughts and content is very good, but I am not crazy about the writing style.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 17 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Following Jesus as the way, truth and life.

Date:January 3, 2012
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PBJones
Location:Edmonton, Alberta
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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2 out of 5
I generally like Len Sweet’s writings. His prose is poetic, practical and probing. Sweet’s books are so rich you can open to any page and find a nugget of insight.
Perhaps my expectations of “I Am a Follower” were too high which is why it left me feeling disappointed. Perusing the back page summary would have alerted me to his agenda. It suggests that Sweet will “take us on a journey from leadership cult to followership culture.”
Sweet takes aim at what he calls the “corporate-obsessed-culture” of the Church. In so doing he endorses a definition of leadership that no leaders I know would ever model in deed or attitude. Leadership is “trying to get everyone else to do what they want done but don’t want to do it themselves.” He says leadership is “overrated” and the Church’s focus on it is a “great tragedy.” Leadership is “an alien template that we have laid on the Bible…” (p. 26) and “leadership literature has been a cannibal galaxy in the church for the past forty years…” (p. 25)
My world is both/and rather than either/or. Its disappointing that Sweet feels he had to be anti-leadership to be pro-followership. For me, this detracted from his beneficial insights into being a follower of Jesus.
That being said, Sweet offers up a masterpiece rather than a “how-to” manual on discipleship. Reading portions of his book multiple times is not redundant, but revelatory. The longer you look at a masterpiece, the more, not less you see; portions of Sweet’s book become deeper not duller, the more you read them.
“With any work of art, the first thing you do is surrender. You let the art do something to you and in you. You don’t sit down in front of it to learn something but to hear its voice. Our first approach to Jesus is to listen, to receive, to get out of the way. Being a disciple is less ‘teach me the facts’ and more ‘hear and obey.’ ” (p. 197)
Sweet doesn’t settle for a programmatic discipleship paradigm. Following Jesus is less about right answers than it is about relational commitment. He argues, “To say Jesus is the Messiah is the right answer to the catechism Q & A, but it is not a solution to any of life’s problems until he becomes Lord of your life.” (p. 140)
“I Am a Follower” is neatly divided into three sections – via (the Way), verita (the Truth) and vita (the Life) – which follow the pattern of Jesus’ declaration in John 14:6. Sweet’s goes beyond the typical “be like Jesus” call to followership. To begin his chapter on “Relational Living” he quotes D. W. Ford, “To present Jesus as primarily an example to us is devastating. If to be like Christ is to be the aim of my life I give up the struggle in despair. If Christ is simply my copybook then count me out.”
“To follow Jesus is not to demand road signs but to respond to the voice of the Spirit along the way. When we do that we discover that life is not a blueprint but a blue sky of possibility – filled not only with order and ordinances but also over-the-rainbow potential.” p. 230
I am a follower of Jesus and am leading others to be fully devoted followers.
Thank you Booksneeze for providing me a copy of this book to read.
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Review 18 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Sweet is Back!!

Date:December 30, 2011
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GiniB
Location:Dallas, PA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
Sweet has produced what I consider to be his best work lately. Apparently, I am not alone in my opinion as the book has numerous recommendations preceding the title page. To add anything more than what has already been said seems unnecessary, but since my name is not one of the recognized group I will try to add something from the bottom tier of readers.
Sweet once again is coming against the business model method of church leadership. Yes, even the word leadership is a problem, but Sweet has a difficult time avoiding its use. He is correct though in opposing the mentality of professional churchmen and business practices that have driven the marketing of Christianity of late; however he is not opposed to “plundering the Egyptians” for items or techniques that might be useful. His repeated admonishment to the leaders of Christianity does help refocus on Who is actually supposed to be leading and who is to follow that lead is important.
I did find the early part of the book more difficult to follow than the latter parts and found myself urging him to get on with what he had to say. I got his point about leadership holding itself above the followers and the followers exalting those leaders. So onward to what needs to happen to correct that dichotomy.
Sweet still loves to play with words, but he keeps that to a minimum in this book, happily. Much more readable in my opinion that way. The interactive sections were challenging and interesting at the same time.
I do recommend this book, but be ready to work a bit harder on this than what other books of this sort generally require. I appreciate that challenge.
This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishing via BookSneeze.
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Review 19 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Life- Changing Event

Date:December 27, 2011
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Yvonne
Location:Canton, NC
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I AM A FOLLOWER THE WAY, TRUTH, AND LIFE of FOLLOWING JESUS
The Gospel has always been simple.
1.] Jesus is the Leader
2.] We are His followers
One of my favorite quotes from this book is: "On many levels God does not operate without our consent. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to give her consent for Jesus to be born in her. Love came down at Christmas, but for Love to accomplish his purpose in Mary, she had to say yes." "A follower is one who has said yes to being chosen.
This is a book where the Author makes the reader feel like a fellow journeyman where the reader goes from a Leadership to what it means not just to follow Jesus but to follow The Greatest Leader of All.
This book is tailored to bringing the follower closer to His/Her Leader. Great for Small Groups or for reading on your own.
When a person says Yes to following Jesus they are a part of something bigger than him/herself.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <[...]> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own
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Review 20 for I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Makes you think

Date:December 27, 2011
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Reid
Location:California
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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I Am a Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus by Len Sweet is quite thought provoking. I think that most people are comfortable with the word and concept of leaders and leadership, but this book really is focusing on the followers. Whether you agree or like it or not, it is an interesting book, well written and well researched. The best thing about Len Sweet books is how he really challenges the status quo and one's own thinking as well.
I think you'll either love this book or hate it.... but you will definitely emerge more informed and challenged by it.
I liked it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <[...]> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
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