Build Influence Before Exercising Authority – Method 1

When starting something new there’s always a learning curb; you’re learning the lingo, the people, the workload, the environment, etc.  But when you begin serving in various ministerial roles, it’s slightly different.

In most organizations, you start in a lesser position and work your way into a more substantial one.  But in church life, more often than not, you move from one place to another place to take over a ministry position and lead people whom you’ve never met.
A new pastor or church leader starting in a position like that needs to be mindful of the way they exercise authority with the new flock that they are called to shepherd.  While you may have had plenty of experience behind you in the last place that you served, most of the new people you are currently serving, won’t be swayed by your glowing résumé.
Serving in a new place always comes with its challenges, but one of the biggest challenges that pastors/church leaders face is figuring out how to build influence before exercising authority.
Exercising positional authority without building personal influence is like a boat taking on water, too much and it’s going to sink.  So, how do you build influence with those whom God has called you to serve?  Over the next several posts, I’d like to share the methods of building influence that has worked for me through the years.

Method 1:  Borrow It.

If there is something that needs to get done and you know that you haven’t yet built or cannot yet afford to spend your influential capital on it, then you need to borrow someone else’s influence.  How do you do that?  We’ll I’m glad you asked!
  1. Build A Relationship – Take the time to build relationships (which you should be doing anyway) with those influential leaders who have longstanding, positive track records in the church.
  2. Cast A Vision  – Show them why the church must accomplish this important task.
  3. Reveal a Plan – Then walk through the ways that you could see the job getting  done and then ask them for any recommendations.  As an aside, make sure you think through as many of the positive and negative outcomes that you can. Fine tune the idea before presenting it because this helps you gain influence with the individual(s) that you’re sharing the information with.  You’re showing them that you have the ability to critically think through your decisions.
  4. Adapt the Vision – Once they have given their recommendations, do your best to incorporate their ideas into the plan.  If their ideas don’t work, for whatever reason, constructively and carefully reveal why those things might not work in this particular scenario.
  5. Be Honest About Why They are Essential and then Pass it Off – After working through all of these processes, now is the time that you share your concerns about whether or not you have enough influential credits to accomplish the plan.  At this point, hopefully, the individual has already felt and seen the need for the action to take place.  If they have, then you are ready to pass the vision and the plan off to them.
This method of building influence buys you credibility with the individual and also empowers them to get the task at hand accomplished.  The Kingdom work that we have been called to do is accomplished and the local church is better for it.  While this means that you probably won’t get the credit, that’s ok because you’re more concerned with the Kingdom Growing than your ego growing, right?
Tomorrow, I’ll share the next method of building influence.  In the meantime, in what ways do you build influence with those whom God has called you to lovingly lead?

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