Rex Gatto, president of Gatto Associates, LLC, defines followership as the willingness to cooperate in accomplishing defined goals while demonstrating a high degree of interactive teamwork. According to Gatto: “Effective followers are active participants [partners] in creating the leadership process. Followers permit leaders to establish and keep themselves in control of a situation that is productive, efficient, and people-oriented.”1

I’m a Christian, and Jesus is my leader. When He began His ministry, He called Peter, Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee to follow Him. Later, Jesus grouped His followers into twos—first the 12 disciples and later the 70—and sent them out to be His witnesses and to share His teachings. Like them, we, too, have been chosen and called to follow Christ.

At age 13, I accepted the call to become a follower of God. I was baptized and joined the Better Living Seventh-day Adventist Church plant in Monrovia, Liberia—a church that went on to “birth” more than 12 other church plants. At age 16, I was awarded an intercultural academic scholarship to travel to the United States to complete my final year of high school. My local church pastor gave me, as a parting gift, a book titled Who Am I? A Christian Guide to Meaning and Identity, by Skip MacCarty. My pastor wanted to ensure that I didn’t lose my identity as a child of God in a “den of wolves.”

The words of the book molded my mind and helped me to understand who I am: a person created in the image of the Lord; and whose I am: a child of God. It brought me great joy, knowing that “the meaning of my life is in the potential I have through my individuality, to image uniquely the truth about God, and to share uniquely in His mission of peace. Thus, in my whole being, and throughout my entire life, in the development of my character and my labors of love for others, I can be glorifying Him. This is the purpose of my existence.”2

Christ expects every believer to allow the Holy Spirit to work through them to produce disciples. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). Christ never said, “Occupy the pews”; rather, He said to tell others of Him, that He loves them, that He died for them, and that He’s coming soon.

Preparation for Mission

A few years after graduate school, I began working for Global Mission in what was then the Africa-
Indian Ocean Division. I was responsible for identifying churches that needed help funding their church building projects. These responsibilities intensified my desire for mission and made me yearn to do more for my country of origin, Liberia.

One Sabbath afternoon, after singing the words to the hymn “Hark! the Voice of Jesus Calling,”3 a few friends, my husband, my mother, and I met to discuss how we could “be like faithful Aaron, holding up the prophet’s hands” in the Liberia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. We discussed the formation of a nonprofit organization, the North America Liberia Adventist Association (NALAA),4 that my husband, John, and I have now been leading for almost 14 years. NALAA serves as an extended and supportive arm of Seventh-day Adventist churches in Liberia.

Created for His Glory

As followers of Christ, we’re reminded that “God created man for His glory and called him by His own name. His name is the expression of His holy character and saving mission. And those who are called by God’s name are to reflect His character and share in His mission. In doing this, they glorify Him, which is the purpose of human existence.”5 We must be mission-driven, willing to work toward the accomplishment of God’s mission wherever we are. We have excellent opportunities to be a blessing to others.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord led our organization to conduct an evangelistic series in Liberia that resulted in 75 people giving their lives to Christ. We established a church in rural Liberia in the Borkeza district of Lofa County.

NALAA built a church that seats about 150 members, renovated several churches, provided pews for needy congregations, and established a scholarship program. As an organization, we’ve sponsored more than 60 students in Liberia.

Followers must consider themselves as those who serve rather than waiting to be served.

Following Where He Leads

For several years now, we’ve had opportunities to serve local churches within driving distance of our home. The Lord led John and me to support the members of the Abundant Life Seventh-day Adventist Church and establish a church plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For three years we commuted nearly every Sabbath from Baltimore, Maryland, leaving at 6:30 a.m. in order to arrive in time for Sabbath School. We had a 3-year-old at the time, and I was pregnant with my last child. Today, the Abundant Life Seventh-day Adventist Church has been reorganized into the Pilgrims Seventh-day Adventist Church of the Pennsylvania Conference.

In May 2019, my husband and I were impressed to leave our local church to support members who wanted to plant churches through outreach. Today, we’re excited to work in the Randallstown area of Baltimore as members of the Salt Adventist Group. Our goal is to open a Hope Life Center where people can experience the love of Jesus.

Not Without Trials

Followership comes with trials. Tensions among members can result in distractions that hinder the work. Personal attacks and criticisms can cause frustration and discouragement. But one must be committed to doing the work of their leader, and we must rely on God to keep us steadfast in His grace.

“Our creation in God’s image suggests further that we will never know what it truly means to be human until we attain knowledge of Him in whose image we are created.”6 Thus, I’m “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

May we be encouraged to be followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  1. Rex Gatto, “What Is Followership,”
  2. Skip MacCarty, Who Am I? A Christian Guide to Meaning and Identity (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1979), p. 146.
  3. “Hark! the Voice of Jesus Calling,” The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1985), no. 359.
  4. Visit to learn more about NALAA.
  5. MacCarty, p. 45.
  6. Ibid., p. 19.

Johnetta B. Flomo serves as senior editorial assistant in the Stewardship Ministries Department of the General Conference, assistant editor of Dynamic Steward magazine, and associate editor of the GodFirst newsletter.

Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15, 16).1 Ancient Greek had two contrasting words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos gives us the word “chronology,” which implies minutes and seconds (i.e., the clock) and refers to sequential time.

Chronos Time

A practical example pertaining to chronos time is an office worker who hates their job and can’t wait for 5:00 p.m. so they can get out of the office, or a church member who has made after-church plans but the service is long-winded. Such situations refer to chronos time; a person engaged in trivial activity because their next significant appointment is coming soon is said to be “killing” time. The person is basically counting down “clock time” until the next appintment.

Today much of our thinking about time is about a chronos mind-set. We have 24 hours each day—that is 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds—yet we always seem to want more time. Our workweek is determined by the number of hours worked; certain employees are reminded weekly to check the office chronos (name brand Kronos in my office) time clock and make sure our clocked times are correct. Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). Numbering our days means evaluating the quality of our time spent. We consider not only where our time goes but also how we spend it and why. Our time on earth is brief (Ps. 39:4-6), and as God’s stewards we must use every second to glorify Him, putting Him first in every area of our lives. Tombstones often display the dates of an individual’s birth and death, separated by a dash. That dash represents the person’s chronos time on earth and how it was spent.

Kairos Time

Kairos time, on the other hand, points to the right, or opportune, moment (the supreme moment), a moment of indeterminate time in which events happen.3 Kairos is vital time, God’s time. While chronos is “tick-tock” time, kairos is a powerful moment when time stands still. Kairos time is when God interrupts our routine and touches us so deeply that we are forever changed. It’s a key word used to describe Jesus’ ministry. He went into Galilee saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Jesus’ ministry was filled with kairos moments. Consider these few examples: Jesus called Zacchaeus down from the sycamore tree, and this resulted in Zacchaeus making a percentage-based “promise”4 to give half of all he had to the poor, and return four times as much to those he defrauded (Luke 19:8). No one was paying attention to blind Bartimaeus, but Jesus heard his cries, and that was the blind man’s kairos moment (Mark 10:46-52). The woman with the issue of blood crept up to Jesus and touched His robe, and it became her opportune moment (Luke 8:43-48).

As zealous, good stewards of chronos time, we often miss obvious kairos opportunities. A moment lost is an opportunity gone forever. Jesus explained this to the lawyer in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Two religious leaders saw a wounded man—beaten, bleeding, left to die—but failed to help. These men were so preoccupied with their positions that they missed the opportunity to minister to the injured man. We forget that time and opportunity, chronos and kairos, are both gifts from God to be used for His glory, and that we have to give an account for how they are used.

God-Granted Favor

Kairos moments surround us. I’ve had several. God saw my need and rescued me.

One that is printed in my memory is the day I received a call to come in for a job interview with the treasurer of the Africa-Indian Ocean Division, now known as the West-Central Africa Division. I had never before applied for a job with the division. One of my friends thought I was wasting my chronos time by working for a Christian-owned investment firm, working with investment projects and foreign donors, flying all around the world, and enjoying what I thought was the time of my life. He suggested that I update my resumé and even offered to do the updating. Without my knowledge—apparently moved by the Holy Spirit—he submitted my resumé for the job. I’ll never forget my former boss’s response when I told him about my interview. He said, “Child, God wants you to work for Him. Who am I to stop it?”

I interviewed, got the job, and my life was totally changed. I’ve since enjoyed working for the church. God saw my need and worked through a friend to bring me into this particular field of His work.

To appreciate kairos moments, we need to be more open about how we view time. Life is not only about working vigorously; it’s also about being alert to opportune kairos moments to glorify God. Instead of thinking of time only as grains of sand slipping through an hourglass, we ought to also view our time as opportunities to allow God to work in and through us. We ought not to be like the young lawyer, glorifying self instead of God. Or in such a hurry as the priest and Levite that life passes us by because we passed by our kairos. It is true that we live in a chronos world, but there are many kairos moments to be experienced. Let’s not be so focused on meeting deadlines that we miss opportunities for ministry.

Zacchaeus, blind Bartimaeus, and the woman with the issue of blood were all seeking Christ. They recognized their need to experience a kairos moment. We, too, must be willing to seek God (Matt. 6:33) and learn of Him through our daily devotionals, our Sabbath School lessons, and the Spirit of Prophecy.

Jesus sought God first, early in the morning (Mark 1:35), and He encourages us to do the same. It is my prayer that we endeavor to use our time wisely, thereby experiencing many kairos moments.

  1. All Bible texts are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Johnetta B. Flomo is administrative assistant for the General Conference Stewardship and Deaf Ministries departments and senior editorial assistant of the Stewardship Ministries newsletter, Dynamic Steward.