Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner says Andrew is his favorite disciple and reveals why in his latest book, The Andrew Paradigm: How to Be a Lead Follower of Jesus. From the title we learn this 97-page book is a primer for leadership in the church based on the example of Andrew, a disciple of Jesus and brother of Simon Peter.

As Coyner points out, Andrew is not the one in the spotlight, but a quieter disciple who none-the-less through example teaches us that to be a good leader in the church one first needs to be not any follower of Jesus but a lead follower of Jesus.

Coyner has nothing against business and sports examples of leadership and in fact uses a few in this very practical approach to leadership. First and foremost is being a disciplined follower of Jesus Christ and allowing Him to be the center of our lives.

Throughout the book, Coyner proclaims over and over, leadership in the church must be granted, earned and supported by those who are willing to follow.

In the first third of the book, Coyner acknowledges what can get in the way of following Christ and how overcoming these barriers are the first step to leadership. Here he spends chapters on possessions (both personal and corporate), grief of loss, family and that just being a seeker does not make one a follower.

In each chapter throughout the book, he begins with a verse from Scripture to center the thought of the chapter, uses many examples from his own ministry, shares the testimony of a leader he knows personally (many of whom are leaders in the Indiana Conference) both lay and clergy, and ends each chapter with questions which lends the book for use by discussion groups, making it an excellent 12-week study for adults.

The second third of the book, Coyner shows why he believes Andrew is the model lead follower drawing his examples through those lines of Scripture we often overlook about the style of Jesus’ leadership and how Andrew’s behavior blended into that form of servant leadership.

The final third of the book, Coyner points out qualities of a lead follower including: loyalty to the leader, the ability to listen and hear, leading the leader and paying the price of being a lead follower. The most challenging chapter for me was the one about loyalty and how important loyalty to each other, leaders, the church and Christ is to the whole leadership enterprise. More simply put by Coyner, “loyalty requires persistence.”

Andrews’ focus on being a lead follower came by the example of Jesus who was a lead follower of His Father, the creator and sustainer of life itself.

I also found the book to show the lead-follower style of Bishop Coyner as he leads the nearly 1,200 United Methodist congregations in Indiana. Reading him is like hearing him share proven ideas on congregational and conference leadership.

The book was published by Abingdon Press and released this summer. It’s available at Cokesbury.com.


Leadership in the church must be granted, earned and supported by those who are willing to follow.