Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12 NKJV
As Christians we are called to work...and not only work but that our works would be greater than Jesus' works. What a call to action! I can only imagine being one of the disciples at the time Jesus was telling them this. Imagine thinking how would it be possible. Reading Jesus words of action today I can't help but ask that question.
So often I think about myself in this context...Who am I to do greater works than Jesus. It's a struggle just maintaining in this world, let alone doing greater works than Jesus. Yet, Jesus has called me and you to greatness with an expectancy. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to live inside each of us. He has also given us himself to equip us for a mission to change the world. God has prepared our lives to reproduce the leadership of Jesus in our lives into the lives of others. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped by the Lord Jesus. We have all that is necessary to change the world.
Yet so few Christians live a life that impacts. I believe this truth is not because of a lack of desire to impact, it because so few Christians actually know how to. How do I live my life with action that impacts the world greater than Jesus? We are given all the tools to build the house but don't know how to read the blue prints. We learn so much about the character and person of Jesus but not about the leadership of Jesus. How did Jesus mentor and reproduce His leadership into his disciples and how did they repeat the process?
Here is an IDEA about how to your life like Jesus that reproduces results in the lives of others.
1. Instruction. Jesus Verbally taught his disciples. He constantly used daily routines to instruct them in leadership. Sometimes it's not just about what is taught but about what is caught. Start with your closest circle, do the people closest to you catch your leadership. It's not enough to say I am a leader but you have to display your leadership. Do the people closest in your life see the routines in your match the faith of your life? Or is your faith simply a secondary issue in your life? Do you live one way Monday-Saturday, and a different way on Sunday?
2. Demonstration. Jesus modeled truth and let His men observe His life. He lived a life of show and tell. Letting His men observe his life....that thought is scary. Most of us fear others spotlighting our life. We believe that we can't impact a life because our life is jacked up. We mistake having a past as having no credibility for our future. The truth is your past is your credibility for your future. Your past is your voice of experience. So opening up your life as an example is one of the best ways to impact because you have experience. People have a very hard time relating to your success but can easily relate to your failures. Your life and your story can be an inspiration to others.
3. Experience. Jesus let the disciples participate and apply truth themselves. They got to practice. Use your life to create opportunities for others to experience Jesus.
4. Assessment. Jesus debriefed their shared experiences. He assessed their growth and gave them direction. Sometimes in life you have to ask this question to others around you...How are you experiencing God this week? Let others share their experiences and be open to assessing their experiences. Give praise when praise is due and provide spiritual and biblical correction when needed. So often we are afraid as coming across as that obnoxious know it all...judgmental Christian that nobody likes. There is a difference between providing correction when needed out of love and passing judgement out of condemnation.
God has called us to live a life of influence. To live a life that impacts our family, our friends, our community and ultimately the world. The wonderful thing about this call that is God has programmed you to want to answer this call. I have never met a single person who didn't want to leave a mark on the world. With the millions upon millions of Christians in this world today you would think this world would be radically different. You would expect to experience more love, more compassion...more of Jesus.
The longer I am on this journey with God in my life, the more I have to come realize how few Christians actually live a life that impacts. I can't help but ask the question why? Why is there not more love and compassion in this world? The easy answer would be to blame the enemy. It's all the devil's fault. But is that really the case?
I hear all too often well your a pastor so it's your job to be more compassionate and to love others more than me. Just that statement alone gives the answer to why the world exists in it's capacity with so many millions and millions of Christians sitting on the side lines. There is a clear failure to understand that your influence has nothing do with your position or title and everything to do the life you live. It's not about position but production. It's not the education we have, but the empowerment we give that makes a difference to others.
It all about your credibility. We gain credibility when our life matches our talk, and when both add value to others. Proverbs 17:2 says it best...better to be a wise slave then a foolish son.
Here are some questions to consider.
1. Do you live a life of consistency? Are you the same person no matter who you are with? All too often we have a tendency to shift ourselves to match the person with are with. I bet you are different with your church friends then you are your non church friends. I have learned that if you shift yourself too much and too often you will eventually forget the real you.
2. Do you make decisions based on how they benefit you or others? Who you choose to focus on is a picture of your love. Do you love yourself more than loving others. Jesus gave himself for others and has called us to do the same.
3. Do you work harder at your image or your integrity? So often Christians focus on their Christian image thinking that somehow it matters. You can almost spot a Christian from a mile away. Most of us dress the part but don't live the part.
4. Do you realize that your credibility is a victory, not a gift? Credibility is not something you are given but something you are earn by the life you live.
Can you imagine having the influence to be able to remove a King? Or how about having an entire country mourn your death and show up at your funeral? Talk about a life of influence and impact. There is an incredible example of such an individual that lived a life of influence, leadership, and purpose. His name was Samuel. Samuel was so influential that the people of Israel sought his leadership and direction for their future. They needed help to retrieve the Ark of Covenant. They needed strategy against their enemy, the Philistines. They eventually sought his permission to crown a new king. His influence as a leader kept growing and growing. When King Saul failed in his leadership, Samuel removed him. Can you imagine having such influence that you alone are able to remove the reigning king! Samuel exhorted, he affirmed, he corrected, he prophesied, he reminded, and the taught the people. When he died, all of Israel gathered to mourn his loss.
Samuel obviously lived an incredible live, and he was certainly an incredible leader. So how did Samuel live his life? What was his secret? How can we learn from Samuel to live that impacts others so dramatically?
There are four traits Samuel lived by that increased his influence, and his ability to impact.
1. He lived a life SHEPHERDING others. Samuel was focused more on relationships than he was himself. The bible loves to describe God's leaders as shepherd. Even the LORD is described as a shepherd. A shepherd knows, loves, protects, and leads his sheep. Samuel focused his life on being a shepherd. He spoke out of relationship. He identified with the people and could be both tough and tender because of his relationships. People listened because his relationships to them. Samuel was special from his birth. He was given as an offering to God and God had a very specific plan and purpose for Samuel. Samuel was a prophet who had authority. Samuel's success as shepherd was because he spoke from the position of a shepherd and not a position of authority. The people responded this his shepherding before they responded to his authority. It was his shepherding that increased his authority.
2. He lived a life of STEWARDSHIP. Samuel was responsible. As a steward he could be trusted to act on behalf of an owner, overseeing others and managing possessions. Stewards are accountable to the owner. Jesus taught this principle in Luke 12:42-48. Samuel lived this truth as he confronted kings and peasants, as he wept over this disobedience of Israel, and as he sought guidance for his nation. He remained faithful to his calling, accountable to God, and responsible to the people. That is why they listened to him...they trusted him. It was his stewardship that increased his trust.
3. He lived a life as a SEER. Samuel possessed vision for the people of Israel and he communicated that vision and fresh direction often. Samuel brought the word of God to bear on contemporary issues. He spoke with divine conviction about past lessons, present situations, and future direction. The word of God was his compass...always leading in the right direction of God. Because of this, he moved from being merely a judge to becoming a prophet, speaking with skill as a visionary leader. People listen to him because of his revelation.
Samuel was unique in that he wasn't afraid of the response to the word of God. So often we fear the response of the people to the word of God. I find this to be especially true when communicating with other "Christians." Samuel often led the people by correcting their course to realign with the word of God. To be an effective leader you can't fear biblical correction. So often we think people will think less of us because we might across a bible thumper know it all. Samuel used the word of God to create correction when it was needed to realign with God's vision for the people. As a result, the people would seek Samuel out because they trusted him as a seer to help them correct themselves.
4. He lived a life as a SERVANT. What Samuel did was lived a life modeled after Jesus before Jesus was ever born. Samuel was a biblically informed leader who gave up his rights instead of gaining them. He often sacrificed for the good of the people he led. Samuel modeled this as he interceded for Israel, as he made sacrifices on the alter on their behalf, and as he wept for their welfare. Power did not motivate him...SERVICE did! People listen to him not because of his power, but because of his servant heart.
Many individuals who at first seem ineffective give up as leaders. I know many a father that has felt ineffective and has given up! The reason...they fail to realize that influence as a leader isn't instant. If you are feeling a struggle in your effectiveness as a leader here are five thoughts that may help.
5 Thoughts On How To Grow Your Influence As A Leader.
1. Your influence grows based on the relationships you keep. Joshua's influence grew because of relationship with Moses. Who are you allowing to mentor you in your life? Through Mose's mentorship, Joshua not only polished his skills, but the people accepted him as their leader.
2. Your influence will grow with time and maturity. Too often leaders want instant influence. The purpose of influence is impact, and impact happens over time and with maturity. Leaders who want instant influence fail to realize that long term trust and confidence has not been established. People follow what they trust. The people of Israel had seen Joshua's leadership skills in action, and his track record as a leader gave them the confidence to follow his directions.
3. Your influence grows because of timing. Sometimes as leader you will wield little influence until it's time to go somewhere. Only when the Jews tired of wandering in the desert did they heed the words of Joshua. Initially when Joshua suggested to go in and take the land they were promised, the people wanted to stone him! (Numbers 14) By Joshua Chapter 1 (1:16) they responded again by saying, "All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.
4. Your influence grows because of patience and integrity. It is easy to give up when people reject you. Rejection causes us to become angry, melancholy, disgruntled, and cynical. To overcome this as a leader you have to display great consistency and credibility. The people around you have to see you pushing ahead for the long term...even while they are testing your fortitude during the short term.
5. Your influence grows because you a right. From the beginning, Joshua (Josh 23:1-11) tried to do the right thing. He attempted to lead the people in the right direction. After the exodus from Egypt, most of Israel considered his words foolhardy and rash...yet Joshua's words stood the test of time. His message never changed, and eventually everyone saw that he was right.
Leadership is all about influence...at the end of the day that influence comes down to character and conviction.