Do you think of yourself as an influencer? Leadership expert John C. Maxwell explains, Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another. As kids ministry leaders, we have influence. As believers, we have influence.
Many times, we intentionally try to exercise influence through meetings, training sessions, one-on-one conversations, emails, and social media. However, you may be surprised at how many times you influence people without realizing you are doing so.
If you don’t believe me, think about people who have unintentionally influenced you. The neighbor who uses organic-only lawn care products. The friend who reads a genre of books you haven’t thought about reading. The co-worker who brings her lunch to the office in order to save money.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about people whom I may have influenced in ways unbeknownst to me. For example, a few years ago I was invited by a colleague to meet with a young man who wanted to know more about the work of Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Publishing and how he might engage with us. He was attending college, majoring in graphic design. I explained that, at the time, there might be more future employment opportunities in the editorial field than in design. He returned to the university and added a second major in English. Now is he is on the team I lead as a versatile graphic designer.
Almost 20 years ago, my wife and I taught a preschooler in Sunday School who clung to her mother’s leg almost every Sunday morning. As a teenager, she helped us teach preschoolers in VBS, and as a college student, she is a full-fledged Sunday School teacher. She even changed her major to early childhood development.
More recently I taught a workshop related to kids ministry. Among those participating were a mother and her teenage son. As I often do when teaching leaders, I used the teen’s name as part of an illustration. Several days later, his mom sent me a thank-you note and mentioned the positive impact of my acknowledging him as a preschool teacher.
I did not set out to influence those three individuals, but I believe God places us in the right place at the right time to encourage and influence others for His glory. God used Paul in this way. In fact, Paul reminds the younger Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
The enemy tries to convince us that we don’t provide positive influence, that what we do doesn’t matter or have a lasting impact. But we know better. When I get discouraged and wonder if what I’m doing in kids ministry is making a difference, I remember those whom I’ve influenced to “teach others also.” Whom have you influenced? Thank God for the opportunity to influence others for His glory.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grandbabies.