Article Display
Email  |  My Account  |  Donate
If a leader is manipulating for his own good, or pressuring people to do things they don't want to do, that leader is failing his position.
John C. Maxwell says, "The true measure of leadership is influence. Nothing more and nothing less." If we are leaders, we are supposed to bring forth influence, and to bring it forth in a positive way.

Another quote on leadership is, "The only thing a title can buy is a little more time - either to increase your level of influence with others or to erase it."

In my church, I have the title "head pastor." That title buys me a little time to hit the mark in leading the people of my church; but if I never bless them, or if I take advantage of them, it won't matter what my title is, they won't want to follow me.

The real issue in leadership is our ability to influence people. The word "influence" itself isn't in the King James Bible, but there is a word that has "influence" in its definition, and that word is grace. Ephesians 4:29 says,
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Strong's definition of the word grace used here is: "the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life." If God has divinely influenced us, we have the capacity to bring that grace out in what we do and say. Our communication will minister an influence to the hearers.

First Corinthians 15:10 reads, "By the grace of God I am what I am." Paul was saying that God had influenced him to the extent that his life now represented what God had influenced him with. Now that's influence!

Here's a Webster's Dictionary definition of influence: "To modify or affect in some way." Whether positive or negative, we will modify and affect in some way because of the leadership positions we have. That's why divine influence upon our hearts has to be the basis of how we modify and affect the situations under our jurisdiction.

Another part of Webster's definition of influence is "to sway." Then the dictionary gives examples: "To sway as the sun influences the tides." "To sway a person by fears or hopes." This illustrates that there are different ways, or different methods we can use, to bring influence to others.

Methods of Influence:
Persuasion - to convince, to plead your case, to argue. We do this from the position (that we are convinced) is right. That's what gives us persuasiveness in an argument - we're sincere, even though sometimes we're sincerely wrong.

Shaping - to form, to outline, to silhouette. Shaping is what a potter does with what's on his wheel. He makes rough outlines and then he adds details. Leaders try to shape the people they lead.

Molding - to cast. In working with ceramics, you know how the thing is going to look before you cast it, because you've worked on the mold. We need to have an image of what people under our influence are supposed to look like.

In pastoring my church, I've always said, "I don't know how many are going to be involved at the end, but I know what they're going to look like." I have an image, a divine influence in my heart, and I'm endeavoring to make a mold that others can be cast into - the image of Christ.

Mentoring - to advise or counsel, to tutor or teach, to bring accountability. You can't mentor people from the pulpit. You may be able to persuade them from the pulpit, but mentoring is a personal work. We mentor by taking an interest in people and bringing a personal influence to them. We can't do that with hundreds of people, but we can do it with that circle of people with whom we've been given influence.

Those are methods of influence that will work positively. There are also a few methods that aren't so positive:

Manipulation - to maneuver, operate, or work. These terms describe what we are supposed to do with stuff, not people. We maneuver our car through a parking lot; we operate a drill press at the shop; we work with our tools on a house. We manipulate objects, but we are not to manipulate people; that would be using them.

If you use a person, like a tool, to get a job done, the result will not be positive.

Pressure - Heaviness, strain, stress, and anxiety are all associated with the word pressure. We don't want these things in our lives, so if we use pressure in our leadership we are adding something undesirable to the lives of those we lead. Our leadership has added a burden to the people in our jurisdiction rather than lifting and erasing burdens from them.

As leaders, we can influence people easily, but to influence them positively is the challenge. Harry A. Overstreet said, "The very essence of all power to influence people lies in getting the other person to participate with you." That's a good rule of thumb for choosing your methods of influence. To lead by manipulation or pressure does not encourage others to participate with you.

Here's another method that is often referred to negatively, but as we look closer, we find that it may not be so negative after all:

Control - to run, to be in charge of, to manage, to organize, to direct, to be in command of. These words all describe responsibilities that leaders have to encompass.

In a series I saw on World War II, one of the lieutenants in charge of a platoon didn't want to run things on the battlefield; he wanted to run. He wasn't a good leader because he wasn't in charge when his influence was needed among his men. He had to be replaced.

As leaders, we have to take responsibility for things under our jurisdiction. Control in leadership is not bad; it's when control is done through manipulation and pressure that the leader has failed his assignment.

If a leader is manipulating for his own good, or pressuring people to do things they don't want to do, that leader is failing his position. But I want to help erase the concept that any level of control is wrong. Organizing, ordering, directing, taking charge of - those are all positive responsibilities that leaders must encompass to do a good job.

How do we become influencers at a positive level? Hebrews 4:16 tells us exactly where we get the grace, or influence, we need to give to the situations we face: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in time of need."

We go to the throne of grace when we need mercy - when we don't have it all right, when we have messes on our hands and don't know what to do. And there, at the throne of grace, we find help, the divine influence we need.

I am constantly finding situations in my life where I do not know what to do. So I have to go to my prayer closet and say, "Lord I don't know what to do. I've never had your influence on how to handle this." First I obtain mercy. He says, "It's OK that you don't have it all together."

But then He asks me to keep going, to keep growing, to find grace. And as you go to His throne, asking, trusting, He will begin to bring forth words, thoughts, wisdom, concepts, and pictures - however He communicates best with you - and you will begin to understand what to do.

That's how we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that's how our influence as Christian leaders will grow.

Copyright © Word of Faith Church
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Davidson
Web site: Word of Faith Church & Outreach Center
Tim Davidson is the Head Pastor of Word of Faith Church and Outreach Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. A 1977 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma, God has called Tim into the body of Christ as a teacher and pastor. Called to the Body of Christ as a pastor and teacher, Tim Davidson pioneered Word of Faith Church in Bismarck in 1980. He served as its Lead Pastor for 35 years and now serves as Founding Pastor. Pastor Tim has pioneered 6 churches in North Dakota and now serves as Regional Director for Rhema Ministerial Association International. Teaching believers foundational truths from God's Word is his passion. He has authored 3 yearly devotion books that are used both here and overseas to help believers become "rooted and grounded" in their faith. God is now calling Pastor Tim to share the treasury of wisdom and knowledge God has given to him with other pastors and churches.

About Us

The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

At cfaith, you can strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding of the Word of God by digging into the vast collection of teaching articles, streaming audio and video messages, and daily devotionals. No other website offers such a unique and extensive collection of spiritual-growth resources aimed at helping you grow in your knowledge of the Word.




Support Us

Why support cfaith?

(All contributions are 100% tax deductible)


For every Internet search you make using
goodsearch, cfaith will receive one penny!

GS Logo 250x38

Contact Us

Business Hours:

Monday—Friday: 9 a.m.—5 p.m. CST
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(763) 488-7800 or (800) 748-8107

Mailing Address:
9201 75th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428


Login Form

Please ignore the “Secret Key” field; it is not needed to log in to cfaith.

Login Change Article

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.