Serving with Influence, by Gena McCown
As leaders we will carry a great amount of influence among those on our leadership team, as well as within the church. Women will look to you for guidance, direction, answers, advice, counsel, and as an example of what women in the church should be known as. The church is going to depend on you, as a leader, to also be a representative or ambassador of the church into the community. You will be a reflection of Christ, a reflection of the church, and even a reflection of character to those whom you encounter.
When we have influence over others it means that we are a force in their life that can sway them toward certain directions, behaviors, thoughts, etc. That influence can be GOOD or it can be BAD, and it is not relative to the type of person you are spending your time with. You can be amongst a group of godly women, and act as a bad influence if you are gossiping about the pastor. Or, you can find yourself amongst a group of women who are disrespectfully speaking about their husbands and become a good influence when you turn the tide of the conversation toward honoring our spouses.
There are many passages of scripture about “influence” in the Bible, that cover a pretty broad scope of the importance it has on our character and life. Scriptures that tell us that wise people surround themselves with other wise people, and fools listen to fools. Scriptures that remind us that we are influenced by the company we keep. There are the scriptures that give us specific instructions on how we interact with others. The one that stands out to me, in regard to influence is from 1 Peter 2:12…
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
When we step out into the world as leaders, we are being watched. Not only by our church members and the women in our study groups, but by the non believers too. They want to see if we are women of integrity, do we practice what we preach, and they want to see how the belief in God has changed our lives or influenced us to behave differently than the rest of the world.
A leader of good influence is not only going to have good conduct, but will move others to behave in the same way. She stands up for what is true, she defends the weak, she is generous and compassionate. They see her, and they want to be like her. A leader of influence will be moving others toward God, and not pulling them into herself. A leader of good influence will not allow corrupt talk to come out of her mouth, nor will she be prone to gossip. She will be an encourager who lifts up those around her, versus one who tears down and degrades others.
Consider your influence, among those around you. Do you call them to a higher standard, or do you bend your standards when you are around them? Do you facilitate divisive and destructive talk, or do you reroute the conversation when it goes awry? Are you praying that God will direct your words and deeds in accordance to His will? When people see you, are you attracting them to God’s fold or are you pushing them down the hill?
Father, I pray that you would examine my heart. Pour your Spirit out on me, and let it examine all parts of me. My mind, my heart, my soul, my words, and my deeds. Let my spirit be convicted of the things that are undermining my influence for the Kingdom. Polish me into a woman, and a leader, who draws people out of the darkness and into the light of the Son. Amen.