“Sustaining Leadership Practices for Church Growth in Cambodia” / Part 16 /



2                    3.   Being a leader, being an influencer

An effective leader is an influence. But what does it mean for an effective leader to be an influence in the field of church leadership? Tracy defines that, “An influence is a person who is seen by others as knowledgeable sources of information with a strong communication network that results in his or her ability to affect purchase decision…”[1] Some might say, the characteristics of an influence when he or she is active, trendsetting, well connected, and able to make an impact on others. However, in the field of church leadership: I may introduce that influencing others is not about controlling, using power, and putting pressure on people but is all about how you inspire and mould them. When an effective leader truly influences someone, I believe that that person becomes more like him. 

Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinthians that, “…but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere.”[2] Robert E. Coleman emphasized his idea in this way if our followers are to see through us what they are to become, we must be with them.[3] Why leaders need to be with their followers? Truly, we want them to observe all of our daily activity, do the same work as we do, feel the same thing as we feel, and face different challenges as we confront. By being with their leaders, they will be influenced and experienced from them, because their (followers) own participation in the work is unavoidable.

Leadership is an influence; therefore, in the daily life of an effective leader, your followers will hear every word you speak, see every action you do, and will follow every choice you make. That means that every day of the life of a leader is influencing those people around you. The actions of effective leaders always tell a story in there. Hence, please keep in mind that effective leadership is not about your degree, personality, status, or position but it’s all about how you influence others. In the other way round, when you stand as a leader, it means that you're intentionally being with people will be influenced them. For instance, as being the father in faith, leader, and mentor, Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions…”[4] Here, we have found that the leadership in biblical study is a deliberate influence. Effective leaders, traditionally, showed their lives experience off to their followers so that the followers can observe, got an up close, abides by and personally viewed of how to live the effective leadership’s live. Apostle Paul brought Timothy along with him so that Timothy could be with him, observe him, watch him, and learn from him. Indeed, when observation, teaching, and learning become internalization it produces multiplication.

Being an influence, one must concentrate on followers rather than the project. If one focuses on running a project and just forgot about the people around him or her, then the leadership lesson manifested to others that it is all about task and benefit. For the secular world organizations, of course, they will focus on their projects as their primary tasks and people next. For our Christian church, oppositely, people are the main concern for leaders, not the tasks. To put in short here, when the church fails to focus on raising more leaders to replace the current ones, then they have broken the chain and the church begins to die.

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