Explosive Growth Equals Dramatic Meltdowns

As you are planning new and exciting ministries for the upcoming season, take a minute to reflect on an important lesson Bill Hybels writes about in Axiom. Here, he briefly tells of a season in which Willow wasn’t quite prepared for the dramatic growth God had in store. Have you done your part to prepare for God’s big plans for your ministry?

We were inundated by new people who came to check out the church, and to our horror, we didn’t have enough parking spaces to accommodate them. There were hundreds of cars stacked four-deep along our campus’s roads — both inbound and outbound. Nicely dressed adults trudged through fields of grass and mud to reach the front door. Children were thrust into already-overcrowded classrooms and asked to sit quietly in a stuffy space for a full ninety minutes. Talk about a systemic meltdown of dramatic proportions! To say we were embarrassed would be an understatement. It was awful. God had done his part. We just hadn’t done ours.

Our excitement over all that new growth was quickly tempered by the painful reality that we had dropped the ball. We had dropped a dozen balls. We had been so singularly focused on our plans to get new people into our church that we failed to provide necessary infrastructure in the event that all that planning actually bore fruit.

My hard-won advice? Have a bold plan for explosive growth! Expect God to answer your fervent prayers and to do his part in bringing people your way. Just be sure to tend to the needs that all that growth will bring. And at the very same time, roll up your sleeves and figure out how you are going to assimilate those new folks so that someday, every one of them will become fully yielded to Christ and fully integrated into your church.

Have you been surprised by a season of sudden growth? What did you learn? What do you do differently now?

Thanks to Bill Hybels for sharing his words from the book Axiom. To read more and to find Bill’s other titles check out our resources at willowcreek.com.

Sharpened by the Grind: Part 2

Both sides of a knife must hit the grind to render a sharp blade. In addition to learning what drained me, I also had to learn what fills my emotional and spiritual buckets.

I knew how to fill my tired physical body but did not know how to replenish my soul.

For me there were three principles in the process of renewal—it was personal, it was daily and it was relational. Renewal is a very personal process. For example, what replenished my wife’s soul was the very thing that drained me. She is an extrovert and I am an introvert. She is energized by people. She has to be out the door each morning and greet the world of people. Even though I love people and enjoy the interaction with them, I found it drains me. Time alone in my study each morning filled my tank. As for recreation, I had friends suggest I play golf but that was a disaster. It did nothing for my soul. It caused me to cheat, steal, and lie and that is not good for the soul. Through trial and error I gradually learn what worked to replenish my life.

I often wish I had a gauge on my soul like my truck has on the gas tank. It has a warning light and even talks to me when I get close to empty. That would have protected me from a lot of pain. However, I began monitoring my “inner man” to detect when my soul was beginning to run on empty. Rather than just kick in the adrenalin for energy, I made sure I allowed time to authentically replenish my soul. The Apostle is a great model for renewing the soul. He speaks to the second principle I found for renewal, “ …we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Renewal is a day by day process. Just as we cannot eat enough food at Sunday lunch to last all week (even though some of us try) we cannot fill our soul once a week and be adequately renewed. The daily grind on your soul is the reality of life- but the daily renewal can be just as real. A part of that daily process for me is to have a consistent time with God that is life-giving and not just routine. Yes, I know you already believe this and even teach it to each other. But this is one of my greatest challenges in life. It is not just the discipline of setting aside the time, but to keep it fresh and alive so it feeds my soul. When my dad sharpened his knife, he knew just the angle to hold the blade to put the razor’s edge on it.

For me the time alone with God each day is necessary to get my life at just the right angle (or we might say attitude) for the day. As basic as this is, it is vital to our life being sharpened by the grind rather than dulled. Allowing God to speak to me through the reading of his word and then reflecting and responding to what I have heard from God, sharpens my life. This time with God must focus on listening to him and not just talking to him.

The process of renewal is also relational. For David, Jonathan was a source of energy. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends (1 Samuel 18:1). Have you noticed how some people drain your energy? You can feel the energy being sucked out of your system when you see them coming. On the other hand there are some individuals who give you energy. It is a delight to see them coming. Even an introvert like me finds close friends a source of great energy. At first I felt guilty about being selective on who I allowed to be close in my life. But then I remembered that Jesus had three of the twelve in his inner circle. I like the way Dan Reiland, executive of 12 Stone Church in Atlanta says it. “We should be close with a few, friendly with everyone, and conflict with none.”

Leading a church can be very lonely but it doesn’t have to be. First, make sure your spouse is your best friend. Then seek out one or two others that can be close enough to sharpen your life. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17). It might be two other pastors or friends outside the church or even someone in your church. Wherever it is, find a Jonathan for your life.

The grind is real! It is a part of life. It can and must become your friend rather than your enemy. It is the very tool that God uses to sharpen your life. Work diligently each day with the wisdom of God to detect what drains and what fills you up. The grind will provide you with the nourishment and exercise for being made whole.

What are things that you do to fill you spiritual and emotional bucket?

By: Vernon Armitage

Sharpened by the Grind: Part 1

My dad loved pocket knives. He could put a razor’s edge on the blade of his knife with the precision of a master. I knew the blade was sharp when he would confidently roll up the sleeve of his shirt and shave a patch of hair off his arm. With a pleased look on his face he would say, “That should do it.” Even though I watched him numerous times, I could take the same knife and whit rock and quickly put a dull edge on the blade. No use to roll up my sleeve- no hair would be in danger. How could he place the grind of metal and rock together and always sharpen the blade? But as for me, I would always grind it dull.

This analogy makes me wonder, how do you stay at the grind of ministry day after day and have it sharpen you rather than dull you?

I served as the senior pastor of a church for over forty years and had the opportunity of seeing the ministry grow from slightly over one hundred in attendance to around four thousand on the weekend. That was a long grind! However, there was a time that I did not do any better at the grind of ministry than I did with sharpening a knife. As our church was booming with growth, I was also being stretched too thin. During one of my talks I realized that I could not continue. I walked off the stage in the middle of my message and a friend drove me home because I was a complete basket case. I had allowed the grind to finally bring me to a complete and dull halt. I was not aware of my dull condition until it ended in a deep, debilitating, depression.

I ended up in the counselor’s office trying to find my way out of the darkness. It was extremely scary because I was not sure I would ever be able to continue on as pastor of the church. With months of counseling from my psychologist friend, I gradually began to climb out of the dark abyss of depression.

I learned a lot about what was going on beneath the surface of my life; that unseen part of our life that is hidden from the world and sometime hidden even from ourselves. Paul calls this the “inner man” Even though the “inner man” is unseen, it acts like mission control in our lives. The Proverb writer gives this warning. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). Or, put another way, be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.

A major culprit that was draining my soul and taking me into darkness was the way I was thinking. My thought patterns were sapping my energy like leaving the dome light on in the car overnight and being met the next morning with only an ugh from the engine when trying to start. I had to begin practicing what Paul said to the Corinthians, “…we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) I had to change my habit of thinking regarding many issues in my life.

    - Indecision. I would roll a decision over and over in my mind but delay taking action. I want a lot of information before making a decision. It took time for me to form a different thinking pattern but I begin to deal with decision making in a whole differ manner.

    - Perfectionism. My perfectionistic thought patterns were unknowingly draining my emotional energies. I had bought into the idea that anything worth doing was worth doing right. My counsel awakened me to the fallacy of the kind of thinking. Yes, some things are worth doing right but not everything. I had to set clear priorities and do what was really important and do it right but not allow perfectionism to kick in on the rest.

    - Stress. Stress is in your head–the way you think. I had a hard time buying that at first. But actually, stress is a part of life. I learned to allow stress to work for me and not against me. Our muscles are strengthened by stress but without a break we become exhausted. I learn to pace myself. I learned a valuable lesson from Bill Hybels on how to arrange my day around my burst of energy. What a change that made. Today I work long hours and do extremely well, not by managing my time but managing my energy.

    - Conflict—I would avoid it like the plague. But unresolved conflict was killing me. I had to come to grips with the fact that conflict was neither good nor bad; however the way I resolve conflict will determine the course of my life. I began to guard against avoiding conflict or acting as if it did not exist. I began to seek God’s help in facing conflict in a loving and positive manner. I still don’t like conflict but neither do I avoid it. I deal with it as immediately as possible and as complete as I can. I took Paul word to heart. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

    - Anger. I did not have a clue that I had an anger issue. I would call it frustration or perhaps even hurt but I never called it anger. I was a stuffer! I would stuff anger down inside totally unaware of what it was doing to me. As I learned to identify anger and process it I began to be released from its destructive grip on my life.

Well, that’s enough about my personal life but it gives you an idea of the grind that I dealt with and how I began to allow it to sharpen my life. The grind is a reality of life. Allowing it to sharpen your life rather than dull you does not always come naturally. It takes intentional work and the wisdom of God.

So far we have only looked at one side of the knife blade but the blade has two sides. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the other side of the blade- learning how to fill your emotional and spiritual buckets.

How do you know when you’ve become “dull from the grind”?

By: Vernon Armitage

The Church in Kenya

The church is growing in Kenya despite the many challenges that church leaders are up against. Politically, church leaders find themselves in a very volatile scenario where they are torn between remaining partisan or nonpartisan. Socially, there is a great need for salvation, but the new age tendencies within the culture are compromising the Biblical standards and norms. In addition, poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS, lack of formal training and the fast changing community make building and leading the church one tough calling. One of the major challenges specific to this year is the drought in northern Kenya, causing famine and starvation. The church is in a place where they need to be mobilized to reach out into those communities and be the hands and feet of Jesus in such a dire situation.

Church leaders like Steven, Kennedy, and Morris from Kenya are excited about the Global Leadership Summit this year as they are thirsty to be filled up and rejuvenated to continue to lead and reach out into their communities for the glory of God. Though experiences like the GLS, many leaders are having their hearts rekindled to continue their ministry.

    “It is one of those annual events that brings leaders together across the board and enhances unity. The GLS is very deliberate about equipping leaders who, much of the time, are always giving out to their congregations.” – Kennedy

Kennedy went into ministry because of a specific, unique call from God to be a part of transforming people so that they can in turn transform their communities. He is a leader leading leaders, and the GLS has helped him to develop his skills as he interacts with church leaders at the same level. The GLS is thought provoking and inspiring them. Morris has been a part of several different ministries, but has a burden especially for youth and equipping leaders to lead. Like Kennedy and Morris, many leaders and potential leaders are being stirred up to pursue God’s vision for their ministries:

    “Because of the GLS in Nairobi; a pastor’s fellowship has been established where pastors meet regularly and are able to interact with one another on some of the issues that we deal with as leaders in our respective churches.”- Kennedy

    “We have a lady from the southern part of Kenya who, after attending GLS, opted not to renew her contract with her employer in Nairobi, but decided to start an environment conservation ministry in her local community” – Morris

Join us as we pray for the GLS in Kenya this week:
- Pray that God would allow them to be able to open more sites and reach more leaders.
- Pray for leaders to be empowered and able to mobilize to reach out into their communities.
- Pray for unity among leaders as they join together at the GLS.

    “The GLS helps us to be more effective in reaching church leaders to be more effective in our communities. It is the one time that every leader that comes can be rejuvenated. You need somewhere to come and be rejuvenated to lead into the next year. I’m excited about the GLS in Kenya this year.” –Steven, GLS Leader, Kenya

A Church for All Generations: Building Legacy, Empowering Destiny

How can churches attract the next generation? What are the common misconceptions that more seasoned leaders have about the emerging generation? According to Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, during this week’s Willow Creek Association webcast, inter-generational ministry is essential to building a thriving church.

The culture and faith experience of this generation differs substantially from that of previous ones. Many of those in the emerging generation want to connect with churches that are defined by what they are “for” rather than what they are “against”. Rather than asking the same questions of the generation before them, the next generation is asking “how should I live now” (rather than “what do I want to leave behind when I die”).

In order to move toward ministry that is truly inter-generational, wise leaders will purposefully blend and collaborate with leaders of different ages. Beyond hiring young leaders, here are a few ways to collaborate:

  • Prayer: Older and younger leaders need to pray together and build relationships.
  • Build Trust: They need to socialize together outside of the office and build trust.
  • Make Decisions Together: Most importantly, seasoned leaders need to empower younger leaders to speak into important church decisions – as those decisions will directly impact a younger leader’s future ministry.

The younger generation wants destiny while the older generation wants legacy. As church leaders, what are some ways that you’re working to build inter-generational collaboration?

Questions for team discussion:

  • Think about the formative cultural, technological and societal events from your early years. How have those shaped your world view?
  • Do you see differences in the ways that different generations in your church relate to ministry? Name those. Why do you think that is?
  • How is your church doing in hiring, building relationship and empowering younger leaders? In what specific ways can your church take a “next step” to move toward building inter-generational leadership?
  • What decisions is your church making right now that could impact the ministry of next generation leaders? Have younger leaders been consulted? What can you do to draw younger leaders into these decisions?

What is Your Tech Strategy?

“How am I going to add another thing to my schedule? What’s the point of social media anyway?” Often, this is the thought that tumbles through the minds of overworked pastors when they look at their overworked Outlook. I mean, who’s got time to tweet when there’s a wedding to plan, a baby to baptize, and a sermon to write?

On the surface, this struggle makes sense. Pastors hear folks on their staff and in the congregation talking about social media and think, “Can’t do it. No time. Ignore, ignore, ignore.” Social media, and technology in general, gets shoved to the back burner like a screaming tea kettle.

But the digital frontier doesn’t need to be a scary one. Nor all-consuming. Social technology can make the life of a pastor better. As author Clay Shirky famously stated, “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.” You feel overwhelmed because you haven’t been able to set your “rules of engagement.”

That stated, here are five simple ways you can use technology to create space in your life:
  1. Set online office hours. This is an experiment I’ve been conducted off-and-on for the better part of four years. I have set hours where I’ll be in my “office” (a website I’ve setup where people can ask questions and video chat with me), ready to interact with anyone and everyone. You’ll most likely want to pair this with regular office hours, but this is a way to be accessible and still maintain your sanity. For more on office hours, read this post I wrote on my initial findings.
  2. Set a time-limit on social media. Give yourself five minutes a day to answer as many tweets as you can. Take 15 minutes at the start of each day to update your Facebook status and wish everyone in your congregation a happy birthday. You may not get everyone, but you can get to some. And that counts. All without having to sacrifice your schedule at the social media altar.
  3. Create an email policy. That’s right, tell people when you’ll be responding to emails. I know folks who have a permanent out-of-office reminder on that says, “I’m answering emails today at 11a and 4p. Please allow 24-48 hours for a response.” The terms can be yours, but be proactive in setting the expectation when you’ll be getting back to people.
  4. Adopt the “three sentences” rule. Speaking of email, one of my favorite websites is three.sentenc.es. The basic premise? Make your emails short. Like, three-sentences-or-less short. If you need to write a longer email than that, pick up the phone. Brevity is beautiful.
  5. Observe a “tech Sabbath”. In my house, I stay off social mediums from sun-down on Saturday to 5p on Sunday. It gives me a chance to breath a bit and take in the natural surroundings (i.e. my family, nature, football, etc.) around me. It’s refreshing, to say the least.
  6. Bonus: Create your own!

As you can see, all of these rules are about proactively setting the terms for which you will interact with technology. Not the other way around. Your life as a pastor is already hectic enough. Don’t let the digital tidal wave crash on your life without a fight. (And wear a poncho, for Pete’s sake!)

Got questions? Feedback? Be sure to join me every Wednesday from 2-4p CST in my online office!

By: Justin Wise (@justinwise)
Social Media Director for Monk Development
Co-direct the Center for Church Communication

Rumors of God Still Exist

In today’s culture we are all distracted and the idea of God moving in miraculous has been subtracted from reality and places only within the history of the Bible. But is the activity of God absent in today’s culture?

In the book, Rumors of God, Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson show just one simple but powerful example of how God has moved in the United States.

    In 1857 churches all over New York City were noticing a sharp decline in church membership. One Dutch Reform church that met on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan saw a surprising drop in attendance. So a meeting was called with church leaders to discuss the recent trend. A lay leader named Jeremiah Lanphier, a local business man, was commissioned to start a prayer meeting during his lunch hour. Lanphier began promoting his noonday prayer meeting to surrounding businesses. He prepared a printed handout that read:

    A day of Prayer-Meeting is held every Wednesday from 12 to 1 o’clock in the Consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets. This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, businessmen generally an opportunity to stop and call on God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour.

    On Wednesday, September 21, 1857, he showed up to pray at noon. He prayed alone for the first thirty minutes and then another businessman joined him. By 1:00p.m. six men were quietly praying. The following Wednesday, twenty people gathered, the next week almost forty people came to pray at noon. After several weeks the prayer gatherings changed from weekly to daily, then they out grew the building on Fulton Street.

    Inspired by Lanphier’s simple vision, the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn also began daily prayer meetings at noon. Within months noonday prayer meetings sprang up in Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregational, Methodist, and Episcopal churches all over the city. Thousands of people started to gather in churches at noon to pray. Many factories began blowing their lunch whistle at 11:55 a.m. to give their employees time to make it to a church by noon to pray.

    One day at a few minutes before twelve, a senior editor of a newspaper was looking out his window and was shocked to see people running from their places of business, bumping into one another, yet within minutes they had all disappeared into churches. He sent a reported down to investigate, who returned with the astonishing report: “They’re all praying!”

    By 1858 the New York Herald and New York Tribune were both running regular columns on the “Noonday Prayer Meeting.” It was reported that as many as forty thousand people were praying across the city. The New York Times called it “the most remarkable movement since the Reformation.”

    The noonday prayer movement began to spread across America—in Denver, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Chicago, noonday prayer meetings began to emerge. Most church historians agree that by 1859 more than one million unchurched Americans had become Christians. At that point the population was only thirty million people. With the current population now ten times that figure, it would be the equivalent of more than ten million people becoming followers of Jesus today.

    The United States has a history of the unmistakable activity of God. Does God still move like this today?

So from this story, do you think that God really moves like this today? Is it even possible? We have a few copies of Rumors of God and want to hear what you think! On Monday, October 24th, we’ll randomly choose 5 people who comment to win a copy of Rumors of God.

Here’s how you can engage for a chance to win:

1. In the comments below, let us know your thoughts about how you have been seeing God move.
2. Post a link to this blog post on twitter or facebook.

By: Rena Kosiek (@renakosiek)
Marketing Coordinator, The Global Leadership Summit

Join Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson for a webcast on the topic of Rumors of God on Wednesday, October 26 at 11:30 CST. More details here.

Restore the Hope in Your Heart

Darren Whitehead Signing Books at Summit 2011

Our world is a pretty cynical place. America’s credit rating has been downgraded. The war on terror continues. And two more reality shows just premiered on prime time television. As a culture, we seem to have lost not only our way, but our context, our story, and our place in the grander scheme of things.

The Church is defined as a place where people who have lost their way are greeted with love and grace. Those who are discouraged should be able to find light against the cynicism. But what happens when church leaders—those of us who should be pointing the way to hope—get discouraged or disappointed? What do you do when your dreams of doing great things for God get strangled by discouragement? I’ve experienced it and if you’ve been leading for any amount of time, you probably have too.

Dashed dreams are nothing new. It was into anaching world that Jesus sent His disciples—disciples who a few weeks earlier had seen the One they had pinned all their hopes on die a brutal death. But as we know, it didn’t end on the Cross. The risen Christ began to appear to them, restoring them to their place in the story. In His story.

The resurrected Christ is still on the road restoring hope to our hearts. Ultimately, Jesus gave His followers more than just the gift of resorted hope and a recovered story. He gave them Himself. And He is still doing it today. It’s is an encounter with Jesus that gave me an eternal hope, but it’s my continued encounters with Him along my journey that restores hope to my heart.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy andpeace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Where in your life do you need God to restore hope to your heart?

For more thoughts on “Where is God in an economic downturn?” check out Chapter 3 (The Great Reversal: Rumors of Generosity) and Chapter 9 (The Greenroom: Rumors of Justice) of Rumors of God (Thomas Nelson)

Darren Whitehead (@darrenwhitehead)
Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
Co-author of Rumors of God

> Join Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson for a webcast on the topic of Rumors of God on Wednesday, October 26 at 11:30 CST. More details here.

Developing Stars

Within church culture, we don’t use the term “stars” very much, but we all know when they shine. There are certain members of our team that light up the room when they walk in. They bring a clear sense of mission, improving skills, and high integrity to the team. When you face a big challenge, they pray and work hard to see it overcome. These are the folks that Jim Collins meant when he talked about getting the “right people on the bus.”

Do you think it’s better to hire “new blood” from outside or develop leaders within your organization? In his research, Professor Nanda discovered three things that happen when an organization hires a star from the outside:

    1. The star’s performance goes down.
    2. The performance of other people in the star’s department also goes down.
    3. The stock price of the company actually goes down (he calls this “the winner’s curse).

Jim Mellado and Bill Hybels respond to the interview excerpt with Bill Hybels and Professor Nanda. Professor Nanda concluded that the best strategy for improving an organization is developing the people already within it.

(We made this month’s edition of Defining Moments more widely available so that more church leaders can experience this tool and share it with their team. Defining Moments is a monthly leadership resource created exclusively for WCA Member Churches. Learn more.)

Following up on this month’s episode, here are some individual reflection and team discussion questions for you to use:

Individual Reflection Questions

    1. What about your environment helps you be successful as a leader? If you changed organizations or positions, what would be missing?
    2. Bill talked about right-sizing the challenge level while developing leaders. As you think about your challenge levels these days, would you describe yourself as overchallenged, underchallenged, or appropriately challenged?
    3. What conditions in your current role would keep you from staying at your organization? What has caused you to be loyal or kept you there?

Team Discussion Questions

    1. Take out a piece of paper and write down the name of the person who was most dramatically responsible for developing you as a leader at any timeframe in your life? What did this individual do?
    2. How do we develop leaders in this environment?
    3. What characteristics are rewarded in this culture?
    4. Ashish cautioned, “There is no shortcut to building a high-performing organization of stars.” What shortcuts are sometimes tempting in developing people on our team?
    5. If someone new joined our staff today, what do they need to know to be successful?
    6. What do we do in this culture that fosters loyalty to our organization?

By Andy Cook (@wca_andycook)
Director of Member Experience, WCA

How to Maximize Your Sphere of Influence

Erwin McManus Speaking at Summit 2011

In todays culture, there is a this mind set that influence is a stage presence, a known voice, an excessive amount of twitter followers—but is this really the kind of influence that changes lives at the core?

Erwin McManus reminds us in this excerpt from, Chasing Daylight, that, “Jesus Christ is the greatest example of true influence reaching into the heart and soul of a person, changing him from the inside out.”

Erwin says:

    The ultimate end and most profound result of influence is when a person is free from any command or power you may exert and yet still reflects the influence of your values and passions. That being said, it becomes more profound when we begin to consider the influence of Jesus. His life two thousand years ago continues to shape the hearts and souls of millions around the world—not motivated by fear of judgment or the uncertainty of salvation, but in fact promised through the grace of God’s irrevocable relationship. After all, once you promise a person forgiveness, once you guarantee a relationship built on unconditional love, what are you left with to force a person to do your will? Isn’t this God’s dilemma? No coercion, no threat of rejection—freedom from punishment, judgment, and rejection. What motivates a Christian now?

    Jesus Christ is the greatest example of true influence reaching into the heart and soul of a person, changing him from the inside out. When God does it, it’s the miraculous work of transformation. Yet in the end, it is rooted in influence. God wins our hearts. We move with Him because He has earned our trust, and we long to be at His side. This is the model Jonathan reinforces. This is the challenge that is set before us—that we not only take initiative, that we not only move with confidence into the reality of uncertainty, but also that we maximize our sphere of influence as we grow in depth of character. (Excerpt taken from Chasing Daylight)

So how can we start to reflect Jesus in our walk of influence?

Throughout the ministry of Jesus, you see his leadership and influence played out through relationships. Whether it’s the twelve disciples or the others along his journey-Jesus maximized his influence with pure motive, time, consistency, intimacy, depth, and action.

To build an influence that reflects Jesus, I would challenge you to ask yourself a few questions and see where you stand, gain a perspective, and sink into the reality of where you stand.

    1) Who has influenced you? Look into those who have played an influential role in your life. What have you learned from them?

    2) What’s your motive? Before you are intentional with your influence, check yourself. Why do you want to be intentional with your influence-Is it to make you feel better about yourself or to truly win hearts for God?

    3) Are you willing to be vulnerable? If you want to speak into the lives of others you also have to be willing to let others speak into yours. As a leader—This is one of the hardest things to accept.

    4) Are you available? These days, work is 24/7. So what are you going to do to be intentional with your time? Are you willing to make yourself available?

    5) What speaks louder; you words or your actions? There is room for both of these, but in todays culture people don’t want to see a talking head-they want to see someone getting their hands dirty through actions.

As I sit and reflect on these things myself as a young leader, I have to remember that influence is not determined by age, gender, or occupation. Influence is a direct reflection of Christ within you and me. It is our intention and actions that help maximize the sphere of influence and depth of character.

We have a few copies of Erwin’s book and want to hear what you think! On Monday, October 17th, we’ll randomly choose 5 people who comment to win a copy of Erwin’s book, Chasing Daylight.

Here’s how you can engage for a chance to win:

    1. In the comments below, let us know your answer to the question: “What do you do daily to help maximize your sphere of influence?”

    2. Post a link to this blog post on twitter or facebook.

By: Rena Kosiek (@renakosiek)
Marketing Coordinator, The Global Leadership Summit