Insight from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Character of Leadership in Prince Caspian
There much talk today about leadership in the church. Too much talk in my opinion. Emphasis on leadership skills and competencies obscures what is truly crucial and underemphasized about “leadership.” Leonard Sweet hits the nail on the head:
Followership, as opposed to leadership, is based in a realistic view of ourselves. Aslan has a wonderful comment near the end of PC that is directly on point here. When Caspian laments his Telmarine heritage, Aslan corrects him: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve… And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”
Miraz, the usurper, was a leader using his skills and competencies to build up and consolidate his unjust rule. Given who we are to take charge of things based on our own resources usually goes bad. Oh, we can call those resources “gifts,” if we like. But whenever we operate out of a sense of our own abilities the ground beneath us grows quite slippery.
Lance Ford writes:
Caspian demonstrates what Ford calls “servantship” or Sweet “followership” when he is about to take up the kingship of Narnia: “’Welcome, Prince,’ said Aslan. ‘Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?’ ‘I— I don’t think I do, Sir,’ said Caspian. ‘I’m only a kid.’ ‘Good,’ said Aslan. ‘If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not. Therefore, under us and under the High King, you shall be King of Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands.’”
I submit Caspian has it right. He demonstrates the “followership” entailed by those called by Jesus and gifted to play certain roles in the church. He does not depend on himself or express confidence in his ability to do the job. Aslan affirms Caspian’s dependency on him and his ongoing leadership of the young king. That’s the biblical notion of what we like to call “leadership” and it is far different than how we often think of it.
May Caspian the follower become our model of “leadership” in the church!
 Leonard Sweet, I Am a Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus (Thomas Nelson, 2012), 21, 39.
 PC, 218.
 Lance Ford, Unleader: Reimagining Leadership...and Why We Must (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012)