3 Ways to Mature as an Effective Influencer (Part 1)

If I were to ask what the point of ministry is, what would you say?

Drawing people to Christ? Developing them as disciple-makers? Deploying them into service?

Albeit, these are all fine answers…but what if I told you we can sum up ministry in one word…

…influence.

Would you agree?

Regardless, the Word is clear our ministry emerges from our influence.

Consider 2 Corinthians 5:11

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”

If you’re like me, you hear ‘persuade’ and immediately think ‘convince’; yet, when we dissect the Hebrew and extend it through v. 21, we find Paul is actually talking about influence.

Applying this filter, we can better understand how influence not only partners in God’s ministry of reconciliation, but matures our effectiveness as marketplace influencers.

Granted, there are many ways to broach the topic. For now, we’ll start with our usual ‘core three’ and work from there…

1. Know who you’re fearing

As mentioned, the bottom line of ministry is reconciliation achieved through influencing; however, to get there it’s important we grasp the fear of the Lord.

For while “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), it’s also a preserver of our sincerity (Colossians 3:22) and a gateway to comfort in the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31).

Note the latter reference:

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

This tells me two things:

  1. Godly fear multiplies wisdom and virtue in addition to faith.
  2. The evidence of influence is peace inspired by encouragement.

Therefore, when we talk about influence, we’re not talking as much about personal strength as we are the maturation of corporate morale and pointing people in the direction of Jesus (more on this in future posts).

Contrarily, it’s important we understand what influence isn’t.

‘Cause while the key to influence is the fear of the Lord, the enemy will use the opposite spirit, the fear of man, along with memories of past hurt to contrive a narrative where we’re seeking to overcome what’s already been overcome.

Thankfully, as Kingdom agents…ministers of reconciliation who can persuade through the fear of the Lord…we can rhythmically resist this mindset whiling combating the compromised systems of the world.

For as long as there is sin, enterprise will be governed by hierarchy1 where people are bound by control, manipulation, and intimidation. Yet, as for you, you can see people as God sees them (i.e. forgiven) and help them find purpose through daily influencing where they are.

After all, freedom begets freedom…and He craves it more than you do.

2. Know how you’re leading

As effective influencers2, it’s imperative we not only have the right mindset towards people, but our work as well.

For starters, we must view our work as an opportunity to show people who they are as opposed to a stage to prove our self-worth. In this way, we not only invest trust in God being the one to open eyes, but free ourselves to influence through our wiring and discover new strengths through how God uses their responses.

‘Cause truth is: When we allow God into our realm of influence, we trade the pressure of of accomplishing goals for a humility motivating others to reach them.

But Cam…what if I’m not a team leader or in a place of authority?

Again, to answer this question…we must ask ourselves why we’re asking it.

For instance…

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If we’re talking about what we’ve been conditioned to believe…then authority is nothing more than the appointed person governing ‘over’ us; however, if we’re talking about absolute authority3, then we can see how a) God alone carries it…and b) what we often associate as ‘authority’ is, in fact, influence manifest through the seven motivational gifts (as outlined in Romans 12).

Again, the system…a real life Matrix if you will…runs by pecking order, production, and the Jerry Maguire mindset of ‘show me the money’, but…

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…as Kingdom influencers, we can approach metrics and outcomes without agenda by combining nurturing with our competence4.

Thus, whether you’re a supervisor in crunch time or a subordinate in training, you can help hold your team accountable to achieve certain goals in your respective roles. Just remember no matter what you do to galvanize effort, make sure it stems from a desire for everyone to succeed given a true influencer always values people over goals and never risks reaching them at the cost of another’s well-being.

For when we value people and decompartmentalize our desire to impact them, we not only influence a place where encouragement and goodness abound, but also where confidence and favor are ultimately shared.

Stay tuned next time when I’m unveil my third and final step to maturing as an effective influencer in the marketplace.

‘Til then if you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, feel free to leave them below in the ‘comments’ section and I’ll return serve as soon as I can.

Peace for your week,

~ Cameron

Footnotes

  1. As well as the idea leadership is greater than serving (contrary to Romans 12 which tells us each gift is equal and carries status and dignity)
  2. All influencers lead, but not all leaders influence
  3. Difference between authority and authorities
  4. A simple formula for adding value to your team members in a way they’ll turn to you for guidance and feedback

Cover photo creds: MikeLavere.com

Coping with the “Part-Time Perception”: Part 2

Last time, we laid some introductory groundwork as to how a bivocational minister can rightfully deal with the ‘part-time label’, whether it’s with the stigma itself or the actual process of juggling multiple responsibilities.

Today, we’re going to discuss the first way a part-time pastor can shatter this stereotype without compromise.

But just as a quick prelude before we dig deeper into the matter, granted I’m probably getting ahead of myself here…

…regardless of the strategies discussed, the one thing a bivocational minister must do is be intentional about loving people. Because without love, it’s impossible for any gameplan to succeed…for any agenda to be prioritized righteously, whether inside or outside the church.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Psh, c’mon, Cam! Easier said than done. Besides, in today’s world, it’s completely unrealistic to expect a part-time minister to be available and visible at all the right times.”

Granted, I’m not trying to be legalistic or unreasonable in my approach.

However, I am suggesting that in order to properly cope with the part-time label, a minister must be willing to die to what men think and expect. ‘Cause at the end of the day, what matters most is consistent obedience working in tandem with love. So if the bivocational minister pursues his assignments faithfully, then God will surely break through and bring to life the light and fruit necessary to impact the saints, as well as the lost.

Thus, the first way a part-time pastor can buck the ‘PT’ label is to die…and in doing so, establish a rhythm of healthy prioritizing by making time to love.

Internally (i.e. “reaching in”), this can be accomplished by keeping select hours open for counseling and staff mentoring, setting daily/weekly times to pray and serve members of the congregation (whether through hospital trips, random acts of kindness or simply engaging their interests) and celebrating notable milestones with staff.

Externally (i.e. “reaching out”), this can be accomplished by regularly participating in Isaiah 58-type ministries, serving in community outreaches outside the church, building community networks and knowing, praying…even teaming with key political leaders.

Of course, there’s much more we could tag on, as this list is only the tip of the ministerial iceberg.

At any rate, the opportunities for a minister to influence by love, whether it’s listening, caring, praying or simply being available, are endless. And yes, I know it can be difficult to find time…but at the end of the day, love needs to a transparent platform to be effective. So if you regularly find yourself lacking the time, ask the Lord to not only help you refine your priorities, but how much time should be devoted to each individual priority.

Speaking of refining priorities, next time, we’ll talk about how bivocational ministers can model efficient time management skills to church members and staff, using their part-time status as an efficient template.