How to Influence People Spiritually
- Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mel Lawrenz's book, Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012).
Our fallen world is in urgent need of people who are willing to serve God by helping people as spiritual influencers. You can be one of them. In your sphere of influence – your family, your workplace, your church, your neighborhood, and everywhere else you’re in relationships with others – you can influence people spiritually, joining God in His redemptive work. Here’s how:
Understand influence. Influence is a form of leadership in which you can become a channel God uses to help bring powerful and lasting change for the better to people who need it. When you spiritually influence people, you help meet their needs for faith, hope, and love, by showing them that they can have faith in God, hope for the future, and rely on God’s love for them.
Learn to follow. The way to successfully lead others is to follow Jesus Christ first. When you follow Jesus, He empowers you to lead others to Him – and the greatest gift a leader can give people is to teach them how to follow Jesus. If you make people dependent on yourself alone, you’re setting them up for disappointment, because as a fallible human being you’ll eventually fail them. But if you teach people to depend on Jesus, you’ll connect them with a perfectly reliable source of whatever they need.
Engage with God. You build your spiritual influence on the foundation of a connection with God, so aim to strengthen your relationship with God every day. Then you can see people and understand their potential and problems from the right perspective, and you can understand your role as a leader accurately. Incorporate worship and prayer into your life, making a habit of bowing to God’s greatness and goodness often. Ground your relationship with God in spiritual disciplines such as frequent Bible reading and meditation. Doing so motivates you to submit your will to God’s will, putting you in a position where God can best use you as a spiritual influencer.
Build integrity. You need to earn people’s trust in order to effectively influence them, and the way to do so is to model a lifestyle of integrity for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so you have right motives for what you say and do, and to help you become a person who is more honest, humble, and self-controlled. Seek to bring coherence between your public and private life and between every aspect of your personality so that you behave with integrity in every situation.
Explore new horizons. Since the Holy Spirit is always leading people to explore new horizons, it’s essential to take the risks necessary to explore those horizons in the process of spiritually influencing people. You can inspire people by exploring new horizons, because everyone wants to discover something new and fresh.
Stream ideas. As ideas from God flow into your mind, you should let them flow out to others by communicating them regularly. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind daily. Make time to think deeply about the decisions you make and discuss with others the reason behind your decisions. Help others understand how biblical ideas about topics such as human purpose and dignity, community, peace, well-being, and justice can inform their lives.
Seize opportunities. Expect God to constantly bring you new opportunities to spiritually influence people. Discern if the opportunities you encounter are from God by considering whether or not they’re consistent with biblical values and God’s purposes for your life – and if so, say “yes” to God and take action.
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