When you hear the word influence, what comes to mind?
How would you define influence?
A summary of the word on Dictionary.com defines it as: “The capacity of a person to be a compelling force. The process of impacting the actions or behavior of another.”
I love that definition! = the process (it usually doesn’t happen with a one-time encounter) of impacting (there is change as a result of the action taken) the actions/behavior of another (someone else experiences that change).
In its simplest form, influence is making an impact.
And we have been talking about our values this entire relaunch and these are the pillars we stand on as a ministry. Everything we do will revolve around these 3 things.
1st week we talked about Find REAL Belonging
Last week we talked about Following the REAL Jesus
Values - REAL Influence of Change
This week we are diving into our last value which is our prayer and hope for you during our time together for however long that may be, we want to see you all to become REAL influencers of change
We want to see real life change happen through, not me and the adult leaders, but through you guys. We want to empower you to make an impact in this world now.
When Jesus describes having influence (or making an impact), he doesn’t use simple words.
In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says: You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world.
Salt of the earth? Light of the world? What?
Salt and light impact just about everything they come into contact with.
Salt being an important part of culture. Soldiers were paid with salt in most cases.
Let me share with you some things salt can be used for:
To clean artificial flowers
Keeps wicker furniture looking new
Can make a straw broom last longer (soak in salt water)
Puts out fires more quickly
Polishes brass and copper
Cleans grease stains from rugs
Removes watermarks from wood
How do you think light impact things?
Light is the sole source of food generation
Provides Vitamin D (without vitamin D your bones will grow soft and fragile)
Vision – duh!
Light is what gives us colors (without light you can’t see rainbows!)
Light maintains temperatures (you would freeze to death)
Light maintains your body clock (you wouldn’t know morning from night)
Light is responsible for the water cycle (evaporation, etc.)
Light is a source of energy
Light is a good sterilizing agent (UV lamps)
What Jesus is saying in Matthew 5 is that we are to make an impact. We are to influence the world we live in. And that impact is to be one of preservation for eternity – not just a short-term impact but an eternal one that will last.
We are called to have a REAL influential impact in this world. One that won’t just last for a few years or even a lifetime, but for all of eternity.
3 important things to know about influence
Anyone can influence anyone. (No matter who they are.)
Influence can move in the heart of even the “hardest” person, even those who claim they don’t need Jesus.
[I remember this young girl who was the most timid girl I have ever met. She wanted nothing to do with me. You can tell she was a loner and was very shy. But I remember seeing her and inviting her to the youth ministry I was a part of and I was like it would be awesome for you to come. She was super shy and was like “nah I’m good”. I kept bugging her about and didn’t even know her name. But on Christmas eve service I invited her to come to this big thing we were doing and she said “ok”.
She came and loved it. Then she never left and continued to have break after break through with God.
2 years later she is standing before a group this big. With a microphone in her hand sharing with the group about her crippling anxiety, bullying, and the abuse she went through. She shared how she tried to end her life 14 times and it always failed. And God has brought her out of that place.
The next day I am getting dm’s about her story changing their lives. Not the awesome sermons they heard. This 14 year old girl who shared her life about being changed by Jesus changed the lives of others.]
Anyone can have influence in this world. Through the work of God’s spirit because He is the one making the impact we are the person delivering the message.
Jesus did not pick the kings and the top of the line to change the world. He used lower class and sinners. He used outkasts.
God is in the business of using those who humble themselves enough to know it’s not them doing the work, but it’s God through them if they are willing to.
There is supernatural influence when the Holy Spirit gets a hold of you and works through you.
That’s what we need to see REAL change is a supernatural influence in your schools, friend groups, and wherever we go.
Being an influencer comes through your passions, gifting, and story
[I know another young lady who was also incredibly shy. Like, alarmingly shy. But over time she became one of the most excited students and really came out of her shell. Well, she was great at serving and love kids ministry, but wanted a little bit more.
Then I placed her in the middle school ministry when she was in High school and she thrived. The way that she is able to connect, the conversations she has, and the way in which her brain operates is perfect for someone leading middle schoolers (yall crazy).]
You each have been uniquely wired to live out a different part of what the bible calls is God’s kingdom. So just because you don’t like to speak in front of people doesn’t mean you can’t change someone's life.
1 Corinthians 12
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[
] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
We also see what We care about and the things that break our heart or excite us is where God uses us to make a difference in that area.
Nehemiah is an awesome man in the bible who’s heart cried out for the city of Jerusalem.He weeped for them to know God.
One of my favorite quotes is from this Pastor named Craig Groeschel and he asks leaders what they want to do and where they want to make a change in this world. To help them make that decision he asks them this question.
“What breaks your heart and what keeps you up at night?”
Where has God gifted you and what breaks your heart? They may not clearly line up, but that’s ok. Allow God to move you forward in both of those and see how He can use you to make an impact.
Making an influence comes from sacrifice
It’s not from being the smartest, coolest, or most talented.
It’s not about knowing the most about the bible
It’s is not about having all the friends or not being scared of anything
But loving other people so much and wanting them to know God that you would sacrifice yourself for them.
Just like Jesus.
This is how we know what true love is and impact comes from truly loving others. By laying your life down for another.
1 John 3:16
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
This will sacrifice your social life, or aspects of it. It might mean sticking up for someone even if you are the only one to do so and you get made of for it. Or maybe you get deemed as the weird christianm kid at school because you tried to share Jesus with others.
Some of you say there is no way that can be me. I just won't do it. I can’t handle being made fun of…
Until you realize what you are sacrificing for…
Do you know what keeps me up at night …
Knowing that there are teenagers who are suffering from crippling anxiety and depression. Knowing there are teenagers taking their life because they can’t handle it anymore.
Know that there are people going to hell and will be separated from God forever…
That is why this is a value. This is a ministry to see souls saved, not JUST hang out.
We want to see schools set free from sin and in the arms of Jesus.
But that looks like Jesus’ journey to the cross.
But what’s on the other side of that cross is glory and life for eternity with those you brought alongside of you.
Jesus will use you when you make yourself available. You don’t have to be this special person tomorrow!!
But look at what God did over time to people who made themselves available.
Are we going to be a group that makes a REAL influence in this world?
What could it look like if we made a REAL impact in this world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ?