My Three Wise Wanda’s : Learning to Follow the Leader Again

As children, one of the first games we learn to play is “follow the leader.”  As a child, I recall everyone fighting to be the leader.  I think it is fair to say that as a society, we value “leaders” above “followers.”  While it is true that all movements begin with a leader, as this humorous video demonstrates, it is the first followers who are key to any movement.  Click here to view video.

In my post “A Tale of Two Women”, I share a vision of how we might mobilize more Christian’s to follow Christ and move beyond the pew and into transformative relationships with the most vulnerable in our world.  In my allegorical tale, “Wanda” represents someone who has successfully moved beyond the sanctuary walls and who becomes “lived theology”; the “Body of Christ” in the world.  I know a lot of “Wanda’s” and while they are unique, all of them followed someone else who set an example for them.  They were all “first followers.”   “Wanda’s” are key to the advancement of a any movement of faith.

We all need Wanda’s in our lives; people who challenge us to take our faith to the next level.  Wanda’s come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.  They come from both sides of the bridge; from every race, class and religious background.  I have many Wanda’s in my life and I want to publicly recognize three who are shaping my life right now.  Pat Henfling, my seventy-six year old Catholic spiritual mentor who introduced me to the value of silence and stillness in the Christian journey.  Martha Rollins who has demonstrated grace under the tremendous pressures of being an Executive Director of the faith-based urban focused non-profit, Boaz and Ruth.  And, Janie Walker my co-laborer who is teaching me the gift of creating space for reflecting and sharing life together.

These three women are “Christ” to me.  It is through the way that they live their theology that I have come to understand deeper truths of the Christian faith; truths I could never have learned from a bible study or mere words.  While all three consistently share passages of scripture with me, the scriptures are shared in the context of doing life together.  Their lives have witnessed to me in ways too deep for words alone to reach. They have instructed me the way Jesus instructed his first followers; by sharing their lives with me and by inviting me into the mystery of their own journeys.   They continually beacon me to come follow just a little farther in this crazy journey called the Christian life. I don’t always like the lessons they are teaching me, but I know that they are doing so out of genuine love for me.

For the past six weeks, I have been participating in a training program for missional leaders. As a part of the training we were asked “Who are you leading and who is leading you?”  Whether we realize it or not, we are all following someone and we are all being followed.

What lessons are you learning from those you are following?  What lessons do you hope to teach to those who are following you?

I know there have been seasons in my life where I desperately wanted a “Wanda” to guide me and there appeared to be none.

Are you seeking a guide for the next phase of your journey?  What lessons are you hoping to learn by following someone who has already made the journey you want to make?  Where is that journey leading you?


Filed under Leadership, missional church

6 responses to “My Three Wise Wanda’s : Learning to Follow the Leader Again

  1. sharon

    You are definitely one of my Wandas, so is Pat H and Karen O. I hope I am a Wanda for some, maybe the new, younger members of CARITAS and Embrace. I am very aware of what I am leading them through….one young person recently said the experience was “thrilling”….exactly how I feel everyday.

  2. Karen Scherling

    Loved the video. What I great way to illustrate how movements evolve and the role of leader and subsequent followers. Thought about Jesus and the 12 and the many others.

  3. wmccaig

    Karen and Sharon,
    Thanks for your comments and for taking me from a bone nut, to a leader. You are both great “first followers” and I know you guys will both be great Wanda’s in the coming year for many people who are looking for wise guides along their journey. Sharon you have a great opportunity with the personal shopping team to help folks find their way into relationtional ministry opportunities and Karen could help them connect through on-going relationships in our communities. You two need to meet! I will work on that.

  4. Chinary

    I am desperately seeking a “Wanda” as I move to another phase in my life. My past experiences have taught me the value of godly leadership. It has been a challenging journey. I am grateful God has placed you in my life.

  5. wmccaig


    Janie mentioned today that we will be launching a new initiative next months through Dream Works. As a part of this initiative we want to link folks with an encourager who is not on the staff team so everyone has someone to help them pray through parts of their life that are not “embrace” related. Would you be interested in participating in that initiative when we get it off the ground? If so, let me know and I can tell you a bit more about the vision behind it.

  6. Pingback: The Start of Some Beautiful New Friendships « Wendy McCaig

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