How to Increase Your Influence in Ministry

Being able to influence makes you an influencer, and influencers have the power to change anything.

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.

With the right tools and skills that encourage, and build confidence, you have the power to influence and change anything in ministry, at work and in your community.

Jesus influenced three types of people:

  1. His disciples — Those who believed.
  2. His critics — His younger brother James as well as some Pharisees.
  3. His enemies — Saul once the enemy of the early ekklesia. After his Damascus experience, and a name change, Paul became the main propagator of Jesus’ message.

As He walked among the people of that time, Jesus displayed certain habits and disciplines that captured the attention of many. These habits were taught, observed, passed down and emulated by His disciples. These habits were expressed through daily routines, patterns and practices.

After meeting and talking with Him, they all became radically influenced by Him in one way or another.

Four Habits Jesus Used to Build Influence

Here are four important habits Jesus used to build influence that are examples we should emulate.

  1. He made connections. These connections often become friends (Proverbs 18:24) and can build networks that will become a benefit to you, but more importantly to others. (Luke 16:9) Jesus was able to make connections with those who were sick, the rich, the poor, the soldier the farmer and everyone in between.
  2. He knew His audience. These are the people who are where you used to be, where you are presently and where you want to be in the future. From temples to ships, to those that were lost, Jesus knew who His audience was and where to find them.
  3. He created good content. Jesus had good content. Anytime you can make a blind man see, and raise the dead, that’s good content. Whether it’s teaching, business, singing, blogging, cooking etc., do it well. If your content’s not good, not only will people not want it, but you could lose influence. By the way, status quo is terrible content.
  4. He was consistent. Consistency lends credibility which builds influence. Jesus was consistent in doing the impossible. He was consistent in word and in deed, both of which lined up with His purpose and His vision. Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said and whatever Jesus started, He finished.

Each and everyone of us should get up everyday with the mind of Jesus emulating His habits to influence the world.

Networking!

Just as in any business or career, ministry networking is an essential part of advancing the kingdom, casting vision and building influence.

Like everything else today, ministry is rapidly changing, and with the influence of advanced technology and new media, to stay relevant, you’ll have to connect with others, be vocal about your interests, and build relationships with people. This can only be done through networking.

Four Reasons Why Networking is Important For Building Influence

  1. Networking gives you access to a diverse group of people with a set of skills and resources that can help you and your ministry succeed.
  2. Being a part of a network gives you an opportunity to help others and their ministries succeed.
  3. Being a part of a network puts you in a place for opportunities you would not otherwise have.
  4. Networking fuels creativity. Yes, ministry leaders, are creatives too! Ministry could use more creativity, some rethinking, some rearranging of patterns, thoughts and processes that favor positive transformation.

Networking lends access to those with influence, both in your area of ministry as well as others. Their influence can help spread the word about the work you’re doing.

“Talk is cheap”

Just as our habits are important for building influence, the words and phases we use often say a lot about what we believe.

For example: Asking God for the wisdom to give up.

“God help me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”?

I’ve heard this line repeated hundreds of times. You may have repeated it yourself. But, believe it or not, there is a flaw in this statement.

Years ago, when I taught bible study at a local “Men Center” for drug and alcohol recovery, this phase or saying was posted ever where. They were taught to repeat this phase daily.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I understand the heart behind the statement. However, in my view this statement is a path of least resistance. It says that, it’s OK to give up, and surrender whenever things don’t go your way or if change doesn’t come fast enough. But, Influence doesn’t come through surrender and neither does change.

Here’s my suggestion: How about we say, God help me to accept the things I cannot change, right away. Change doesn’t come over night, it takes time and some things take more time.

A statement like, “God help me to accept the things I cannot change,” is a contradiction to scripture. If as Christians we believe that we can do all things through Jesus or if we believe the words to the song, “All things are possible”, then we should understand they just take time.

While you’re waiting:

  • Build your skills and find the right tools. The process of increasing your influence requires the right skills and the right tools. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul gives some advice to Timothy. “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth”. Here Paul uses the word ‘work’ as in the work of ministry or even, to do a good job. To be the best or even good at your gift, talent or position, requires study, preparation, dedication and continued learning. AKA work. These things build skills and lead to finding the proper tools for gaining influence.
  • Act differently. Becoming an influencer, requires that you start acting differently. Put what you’re learning to action. Study those who are doing what you are seeking to do. Find what fits and emulate them.
  • Model the behavior you seek. The four gospels give us insight on how Jesus led by example. If you want people to change, you must model the behavior you seek.

It’s true, actions do speak louder than words and “Talk is cheap”.

Three Ways To Be a Person of Influence in Ministry

If you believe you can’t have greater influence in ministry, think again. It’s true that leadership is influence, but you don’t have to be a leader to influence.

Sure, your level of education, and experience, can increase your ability to influence, but neither of them are essential to being a person of influence in ministry.

Although certain habits are important for building influence, the nature of influence and the ability to influence comes down to these three simple things:

  1. Being There. In order to influence others, you have to be willing to show up and be available. People need to know you, to trust you, so give them the opportunity.
  2. Being Consistent. Consistency lends credibility, which builds influence. So, say what you mean and mean what you say. You won’t be able to influence others if your beliefs and your behavior don’t line up. There has to be integrity between our words and our actions.
  3. Be Caring. Demonstrate sensitivity to the atmosphere of the moment.

As the old saying goes, “People won’t always remember what you said but they will certainly remember how you made them feel.” So, be willing to listen first without judgment. See the situation from the other person’s view point.

We all want to count and make a difference. Try these three things and you’re well on your way.

Jesus did three things, when modeling the behavior He expected of us:

  1. He showed the way. Not just any way, but ‘The Right Way’, so that his disciples could see how to do what was expected of them. They in turn showed others.
  2. He was committed to his purpose for us so much so, that he was willing to do these same things himself. Like Jesus, we must be mindful of our influence because people model what they see and hear.
  3. He conformed to righteousness rather than to the world. He went against the teaching of the Pharisees and conformed to God’s word. As a leader, those He led were more willing to conform as well.

Being able to influence makes you an influencer, and influencers have the power to change anything.

I write about Christian ministry sharing fresh insight and game changing strategies to help you reach your ministry goals. Follow on instagram.com/_flanderson

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