The God-given mission that we have been given is to influence the world around us. It is through our influence that we will have the best chance at bringing change into the lives of people. Condemning people and using power plays will not get us the results we desire. If we are really interested in helping people find love and forgiveness in a relationship with God then we will seek to be people of influence.
Though I have to admit it is hard to have influence because it takes time and work to establish the trust and relationships needed so others will listen to what you have to say. Relationships are the path over which influence travels. Without a relationship we have little hope of influencing a person.
As we seek to be people and churches of influence we have to remember that influence require character and integrity. How we live our lives say much more about what type of people we are than anything we might say. We have to think about what our lives are saying to the people around us. This is also true about our local congregations. We need to be aware of how the community views our church family and do our best to be a loving place to be. People need to know that we care about what is happening in their lives.
Not only does influence require character, but it also requires us to be compassionate. The old adage is true: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. In order to influence people we need to go out of our way to do simple acts of kindness. When we show people that we care about them they become more receptive to what we have to say. It makes us people with the potential to influence their lives for good.
Influence is essential in making a difference in the lives of people. We see this clearly in the relationship of a parent and a child. A child becomes the person he/she is due to a large part to influence of the parent. Intentionally, and often unintentionally, the parent teaches their child how to live.
The question we have to consider is: Am I being an influence for good in the relationships that I have? Each one of us influences other people, probably to a greater degree than we know. Therefore it is important for us to constantly be aware of what our lives maybe saying to those around us. We need to be influences for good in this world.
The Commission we have received from Jesus to make disciples is about being positive influences in the world. Even Jesus' metaphors, salt of the earth and light of the world, point to the influencing nature of our lives as Christ Followers. Jesus has called us to be influencers so that the world may know Him. Let's go out and change the world.