Influence

Last Friday’s post about “Legacy” has gotten a lot of positive feedback, including the following comment:

“Good reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to be recognized, rather than have a true influence on those around us.”

Very well said. A leader is a person of influence, not just someone famous. And a good leader uses his or her influence to bring about positive movement or impact.

Don’t confuse recognition with influence.

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Legacy

This is what a legacy looks like:

This is a picture of a man named Alger Monson (right-center, glasses and burgundy button-down shirt) and his family: four children, their spouses, and their combined children, 13 cousins in all. This photo was taken in the late 1980’s. Today, the cousins are all grown up and married, the majority (if not all) of them walking with the Lord and many of them in full-time ministry throughout North America.

My youth pastor became their youth pastor at their church in a small town in rural Wisconsin, which is where I first met the family. At least a half-dozen of the extended Monson clan then became youth leaders, camp staff, or interns with me in various ministries in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The children and grandchildren are now scattered around the country and even around the world, but all of them hopped the first plane back home when they heard Alger had taken ill. Late Wednesday night, Alger Monson passed from this life to eternity, having finished the race set before him as a devoted father, husband, grandfather, and follower of Christ. He was 82.

You’ve probably never heard of Alger. He wasn’t a famous blogger, speaker, pastor or author. He didn’t lead a mega-church or start a well-known ministry. But it is not an exaggeration to say that together over the years, Alger, his wife, his children, grandchildren and their spouses have impacted thousands of people for Christ. All because one man determined to faithfully follow God, and to teach his family to do the same.

No, you’ve probably never heard of Alger Monson. But one day in heaven you will meet plenty of people who have, and who are there because of his influence. That is what a legacy looks like.

A Guy Named Joe

Last Sunday at New Hope Church, Dave preached about “A Guy Named Joe:” Joseph, a man better known by his nickname, Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement” and was given to him by the apostles (Acts 4:36).

Think about the impact this guy had. Upon hearing of Saul’s conversion, he found the new convert named Paul and was instrumental in helping the apostles see that the conversion of this former persecutor was genuine (Acts 9:27). He also went to bat for John Mark, leading to such sharp disagreement with Paul that the two went their separate ways (Acts 15:36-40). Yet years later, Paul called for John Mark, acknowledging that he would be helpful to the ministry (II Timothy 4:11).

What if Joe — Barnabas — had not encouraged or supported either of these men at significant points in their lives? Mark, of course, wrote his account of the Gospel, while Paul wrote 13 letters that comprise nearly half of the New Testament! Barnabas never wrote a book in our Bible, yet he had untold influence and impact as he brought many others to maturity in their faith.

Who has been a Barnabas in your life, and who can you encourage today?

Authority vs. Influence

One of the books on my “to read” list is Leadership is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It by Jeremie Kubicek. Out of Ur has also entered the conversation, and this post by Bob Hyatt of Evergreen Community Church in Portland, OR is the latest installment. Here’s an excerpt:

Authority is quickly gained. All you need is a title. Influence takes time. It takes constancy and attention to the small things. It is slowly gained, but quickly lost–by a stray comment, an unthinking response, an inability to own our mistakes and repent of them. People don’t want perfection (well, some do), but what they do want is someone they can respect, someone who lives the life they are calling others to, even the hard parts of repentance and sacrifice and humility.

What do you think of Hyatt’s summary? And what are your thoughts on the differences between authority and influence?