Not A Fan

January 3, 2012

One of the most challenging books that I read this past year was “Not A Fan” by Kyle Idleman.  Many people in the United States agree with the Doobie Brothers that “Jesus is just alright.”  Most would even agree that they “believe” in Jesus.  Idleman proposes that Jesus has many “fans.”  The challenge is that Christ never wanted “fans” that simply believe.  He called for followers.

Here are some quotes from the book that I underlined & highlighted that hit close to home with me & a few comments from me in italics:

There is no way to follow Jesus without Him interfering with your life.

Most of us don’t mind making some minor changes in our lives but Jesus wants to turn our fives upside down.  Fans don’t mind a little touch up work, but Jesus wants a major renovation.

When we decide to “believe” in Jesus without making a commitment to follow, we are nothing more than fans.

In the Gospels, Jesus said, “Believe in me” about 5 times.  He said, “Follow me” about twenty times.

It’s not that a fan doesn’t want a relationship with Jesus.  They just want the relationship on their own terms. 

Luke 9:23:  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself daily, pick up his cross, and follow me.”


The satirical magazine, “The Door,” suggested that couples living together share these vows:

“I John, take you Mary, to be my cohabitant, to have sex with, and to share bills with.

I’ll be around while things are good, but I probably won’t be if things get tough. As the saying goes, ‘When the going gets tough, seek greener pastures.’ After all, the grass frequently IS greener on the other side of the fence.

If you should get a cold, I’ll run to the drugstore for some medicine-but if you get sick to the point where you take more than a day or two off work, don’t count on me.

And forsaking many others, I will be more or less faithful to you for as long as it feels good to me.

If you should ever catch me screwing around on you, remember it doesn’t necessarily mean that I no longer care for you. I will still probably want to share bed and bills with you.

So help me!”

Idleman suggests that fans are offering these kind of vows to Jesus.  “I’ll follow you as long as things are good and you hold up your end of the deal.  I’ll follow you as long as you don’t ask too much of me.”

If we’re serious about following Jesus, we aren’t just “trying God” to see if it will work out.  We don’t have a plan B if God doesn’t come through.  We are laying our life down and agreeing to follow Jesus, regardless of the consequences.


Fans want to follow Jesus on their own terms.  Barna surveyed a group in America that said that they “believe” in Jesus.  Of that group:

  • Only 23% also believed that sex outside of marriage was wrong
  • 13% agreed that getting drunk is a sin

Fans want to be included in the group that “believes” in Jesus, but they want to come to Him on their own terms.  Jesus never left open the option of selective commitment. 

Jesus makes it clear that following Him means taking up your cross and dying to yourself.

What are your thoughts about fan vs. follower?