August 8, 2011
Most people don’t reply. That opportunity is built-in, with e-mail… but most people don’t use it. They read… they consider… they conclude… but, they don’t reply.
One did, recently. We’re friends, so it was amicable. I had sent an e-mail asking him to come to an introductory event for The Master’s Program, for the purpose of introducing some friends to the experience that he had found “transformational.” I wanted him to influence friends to follow his lead.
Here’s what he wrote: “You’re unrelenting! Every time I turn around, you’re asking me to ‘bring a friend’ to recruit them for TMP. Sometimes I feel like asking you to take me off the list!” Truth is, we do intro events a couple times a year in his area, so it only feels like it’s “unrelenting;” is he tired of me challenging him to use The Master’s Program and his influence to advance the Kingdom?
Leaders are measured by their influence, not their organizational titles. The real mark of a leader is not the budget controlled, or the staff commanded; it’s the size and significance of one’s influence.
That’s true in the 21st Century, but it has always been so.
Consider the opening scenes of John’s record of the life and mission of Jesus: “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Peter.’ The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘ Follow me. ’ Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ‘ Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.” (John 1:40-47)
Where do you see the influence? First, John the Baptist influenced two of his followers to follow Jesus; one was Andrew. Andrew made his brother, Simon, his first “convert.” Philip was recruited directly by Jesus, but his next step was to find Nathanael and tell him as much as he knew. When Nathanael’s questions exceeded Philip’s answers, he made the close: “Come and see.”
All of these names appear on the short-list of the Twelve Apostles. The qualifier for selection to that elite group: they proved their leadership through their influence over their peers. Andrew would later connect James and John – professional colleagues in the fishing fraternity – who would become two of Jesus’ closest allies. Leaders leading, through influence…
Your professional life illustrates my claim. Unless you’re a techno-geek, or an engineering wizard; a spread-sheet champion or a back-room document machine… your value in the marketplace has been established, in part, by your ability to influence other people. Whether you coach or close, it’s all about exercising influence with people: benevolent manipulation is the measure of a leader. You know what’s best for them… and you bring them to agreement and engagement.
That truth marks the value of your Kingdom contribution, as well. If you have friends who are lost, your task is to influence them toward conversion. If you’ve been saved from sin and hell, your love for them brings your influence to bear on them…
You also have friends who are Christians… leadership peers who are saved, but are still awaiting their Kingdom assignment. They know their Savior… but they don’t know their Calling. Saved to serve, but they don’t know where the place of ultimate service – for them – awaits. They need some coaching; how will they find what they’re looking for?
Unrelenting? You bet! That’s my calling, and I’ll stop when I flat-line. I know my place: have you found yours? Have your friends? What are you going to do about it?