Maybe you spend your days cleaning up after children or sitting in a cubicle. Maybe you’re unemployed, or maybe you’re in a dead-end job you can’t wait to get out of. Maybe you have a boss, but you wish you were the boss.
You might think you’re not a leader, but you are.
The famous leadership consultant John Maxwell teaches that “leadership is influence.” That means leadership is a by-product of how our actions are perceived by everyone around us. Most of the time we simply don’t recognize it, but all communication is a form of leadership.
So, what are we to do with the influence that God has given us? “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts,” says Maxwell. “It is about one life influencing another.” When we realize that every interaction is rife with opportunities to lead and influence others, we begin to see the world differently.
And, if leadership is God-given influence, then we will be held accountable for what we do with it.
As Christians, we must leverage our influence for the gospel. We love God, and we want others to experience the blessings of the relationship with Jesus that makes us right with Him. This should be the motivation of our personal interactions, because this kind of leadership matters.
Leadership matters within the Church, too. At Grace, we always talk about how the local church should be the center of a Christian’s life. From that center, every other part of our life is informed. Our church’s mission is helping people take their next step toward Christ, and as a part of Grace, you are the agent of carrying it out, not just the pastors or of the staff. It is your leadership that can make an eternal difference for the people around you.
How can you do it? Three ways:
In our world, it’s all too common to feel beaten down and highly disconnected. U.S. News and World Report found that “46 percent of Americans report feeling lonely ‘sometimes or always,’ and 47 percent report feeling left out ‘sometimes or always.’ A little less, 43 percent, report feeling isolated from others, and the same number report feeling they lack companionship and their relationships lack meaning.”
That’s a staggering statistic. And it means that every time someone walks into the doors of Grace, we have an opportunity to influence them through connection. Your smiles and hello’s really do matter; studies tell us that within the first 3-5 minutes, someone new to our church has already made up their mind whether they’re going to return or not well before the service even starts. So the sermon begins in the parking lot, and your influence can determine whether someone is open or already closed to the gospel by the time they sit down in the sanctuary. That’s an important responsibility; your leadership matters.
BE A REAL FRIEND.
Find someone who needs what you have to offer — a listening ear, advice on a hard time, help in business, biblical encouragement, or just a kind word. Your influence can have a life-changing effect on someone if you point them toward their next step toward Christ.
You don’t have to have it all together. In fact, it’s better to be honest up front that you don’t. People respect others who have gone through difficult circumstances, who aren’t perfect, and yet are stronger in their faith on the other side.
You don’t have to have it all together. In fact, it’s better to be honest up front that you don’t.
Biblical leaders don’t put themselves on pedestals. Mark 10:43-45 says “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage” (The Message).
I love the way The Message phrases that: Jesus came to serve and give his life away because people are being held hostage by sin. Jesus is still freeing people. Your leadership is one way He does it.
JOIN A TEAM.
When Jesus established the Church, He didn’t put it in the hands of a single apostle or leader, He gave it to a team. God has given us each amazing gifts., and as we mature, we realize that we need one another. The church operates best when we are using our gifts as part of a team. It’s the fastest way to make a difference and the fastest way to move from being an outsider to being an insider at Grace.
The Bible says that this idea of being part of a team is so important that it’s just like our bodies. If your body is healthy, with all the parts the way they way they should, everything is great. But if part of our body — part of our team — is falling short of its goal, it effects our whole life (1 Corinthians 12:20-24). Bringing your influence to a team matters.
Whether big or small, you are in a position to influence people for the sake of the gospel in these ways for the kingdom of God. Own it. There is no better way to spend your life.
Live knowing you are a leader.
This article was written by Senior Pastor Mike Adkins and originally appeared in the Summer 2018 Edition of Grace Magazine.