You may be familiar with the cliché that leadership is about influence and not title. I believe this applies to purpose too. As you pursue God’s purpose for your life, it is expected that your influence grows as the sphere of your impact increases. But then, I think it is necessary to point out that influence really is an inevitable consequence of our social existence. Whether or not we live for God’s purposes, we will have some influence on the people around us. I recently read the story of a man who once dreamed that he was in hell. When asked to give an account of what he had seen—if there were flames there, and suffering there, and wrecked and malign creatures with whom he had to associate, and if the place resounded with oaths of blasphemy—he said, “Yes, but there was something far worse than that: I was compelled to face my influence. I knew that I deserved punishment, for I had scorned and rejected Jesus Christ; but my sorest pain was to see what the effect of my life had been upon others.”
It is important therefore, that we understand the dynamics of influence so that we can be intentional about the positivity of our influence and the purposefulness of our impact. Someone narrated the story of the missionary Dr. John Geddie who went to Aneityum in 1848 and worked there for 24 years. On the tablet erected to his memory, it was inscribed that “When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians. When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen.” That is the kind of influence God expects from our lives and such can only be cultivated with intentionality.
I want to share very briefly some thoughts on how I believe we can grow our influence intentional. There are at least three things we must do to be able to lead purposefully and with greater influence.
CLARIFY YOUR MESSAGE
Someone has observed that the opinion of each of us represents at least one four-billionth of the world’s opinion. What this means is that what we say has the potential to become the reality a large number of people. This is why we must be intentional about the message we preach in the pursuit of our purposes. What is your message? What is the transformation you expect to happen by the sound of your voice?
CREATE YOUR PLATFORM
There are several reasons why this point is important. The word platform itself is a metaphor for a stage on which you are elevated above the crowd. It makes it possible for everyone in the audience to see you and be influenced by you. Thus, a platform provides visibility and helps to amplify your voice above the roar of the crowd. If you will become a person of positive influence, you have to intentionally create a platform by seeking to understand the various ways you can reach out to your target audience. Today, the social media is a very powerful for influencing people.
COMMUNICATE YOUR MESSAGE
It is not enough to clarify your message and create a platform for you to share your message, it is important that you crown the process with consistent effort to communicate your message. You have to be decisive about this. Don’t create a blog and never write. Don’t open a twitter account and never tweet. You have to be disciplined enough to commit yourself to consistently communicating your message on the platform you have created.
Bobby Gilstrap rightly instructs us to never minimize the power of influence for either good or evil for long after we are dead and gone, our influence will live on. This is the more reason why we have to be intentional about clarifying our message, creating a platform and consistently communicating our messages. I’ll close with the following poem. Its source is unknown. I hope you find it as instructive as I did:
My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done;
Leave countless marks for good or ill, ere sets the evening sun.
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray:
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
Let me know in the comment section.
You matter to me always.