Influence: the ability to have an effect on the character, behavior, and development of another person.
Whether you know it or not, we all have influence.
Now, some people have a massive amount of influence. Like Selena Gomez who gets paid $550,000 per post on Instagram #insane. While others of us have a much smaller amount of influence (and we don’t get paid to post pictures of our new shoes).
But how are we using our influence? You see, as followers of Jesus, before anything else, our influence should be all about him.
Instead of being about ourselves, or our platform, business, bank account or whatever else—instead of just being about us—our influence should be about Jesus.
So how to do we influence others? I’m glad you asked!
Here are three practical ways to influence others. Not for ourselves, but for Jesus:
1. Choose them.
If we truly want to influence someone for God, we first need to intentionally choose them.
Now, as followers of Jesus we’re called to love and serve everyone, right? Yes, but as human beings we have a limited amount of time and a limited amount of bandwidth in our lives.
Just looking at Jesus, He loved and died for everyone, but He only had 12 disciples, and there were just three of them—Peter, James, and John—that he was super close with.
So again, we want to love and impact everyone, but when it comes to truly and fully influencing another person for God, we need to first intentionally choose a few certain people.
Maybe it’s a coworker we sit next to, whose life we see God at work in.
Maybe there’s someone in our small group that we connect with and have a heart for.
Are you passionate about kids? Decide to be a mentor.
The person could be younger than us—a single mom.
Someone the same age.
Or maybe they’re older and it’s our boss or your dad.
It could be anyone, but we need to intentionally decide to pour into this person’s life, intentionally choose them to influence for God.
2. Teach them.
We need to use our words to teach someone about Jesus if we want to influence them.
Okay, so this is great, but you might be thinking, how could I ever teach someone else?
Or, my life is so far from perfect. What could I possibly share with someone else? Not to mention, I’m a mechanic, or a banker, or a college student, not a teacher or a pastor, so how could I teach someone?
My response? When you think about teaching don’t picture a classroom. Instead just picture a conversation.
Do not think that you need to be an expert or a know-it-all when it comes to God or anything else. I’ve actually found that I struggle to learn from people who think they know everything about everything.
Picture a conversation at work with a coworker, at Starbucks over coffee, in your living room while watching a game.
And when it comes to what to teach, just share what you’ve learned about life, and more importantly, what you’ve learned about Jesus with the other person.
It’s just about being intentional with our words. Each day, using our words to teach someone else what few things we know.
3. Show them.
If we want to influence someone for God in a lasting way, we need to use our actions and show them.
Practically speaking, how do we do this? By intentionally living life with people. Giving a few people access to our lives and making them a priority.
Maybe it’s praying for the person this week or praying with them.
Maybe it’s getting together once a week or once a month and just talking.
It could be showing them how to read the Bible. How? Just by reading through a book of the Bible with them.
Inviting them over for supper on a regular basis.
Inviting them to parties, to date nights.
So much of influence is simply about being intentional, intentionally showing other people a life that looks like Jesus.
Through our actions.
Through our words and attitudes.
Through our lives.
Using every ounce of the influence we have to show them God.
So I just want to ask, who are you influencing?
Who specifically are you pouring your life into?
Who are two to four people that you’re influencing for God?
And if we don’t have this, we need to! I mean, as followers of Jesus we’re commanded to make disciples.
And how do we make disciples?
We choose them.
We teach them.
We show them.
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace—a church that has six campuses in South Dakota and Minnesota—and the author of Talking With God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray (WaterBrook, 2017). This article was originally published on AdamWeber.com.