Monday, May 10, 2010

Got Any Spare Pocket Change?

"Loving-kindness and mercy, truth and faithfulness, preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by [the people's] loyalty." ~Proverbs 20:28, amp.


Like the title? No worries, I'm not appealing for surplus funds. I wanna address an influencer's track record of victories and failures. These will make a huge difference with their own credibility-factor and that's what I want to talk about. It's about trust and respect.


The "wins" that they each gain will of course be necessary for them to effectively continue on in leading people in the right direction. Forward momentum (or at least some progress) takes an earned trust.. one person by one by one at a time. It calls for real spirituality, making a personable connection, credibility and strong loyalty for the influencer to go on. People will buy into the leader, the minister, or the witness, before they buy into their group or Master's plan.


Trust; that is the very foundation of influencing or evangelizing other people. The level of respect they feel is also very important.


Witnessing of your faith calls for relational bridge-building short of spiritual compromise. And with trust, you cannot take shortcuts. Shortcuts will only become long-cuts.


I want to follow Christ closely because of trust. Trust is like pocket change. With every single wise decision made, you add. With every bad decision you make, you take away.


Of course people are very forgiving of occasional blunders, but if you keep making hasty and horrible decisions, you are in trouble. We must appropriate the wisdom of God instead of the world's wisdom if we want to become fishers of people or good leaders.


If you lose people's trust. The game so to speak is up. It's finished!


Are you a person who would like to help lead others in a positive way or of all.. be used in leading them to faith in Jesus Christ? Are you a minister, a leader, an influencer..or at least someone wanting to be? It'll take more than passivity.


How can I describe what I am trying to convey? Well yes, think of it as tokens or spare change..


It's like serving and earning and also spending some pocket change (not my new idea. I heard about using tokens in the '70s). 


But every time you make a wise decision as an influencer, it will put some jingle, jingle, jingle in your pocket. And each time you make a poor decision, you must give up some of your change to the people that you are looking to influence. Is it your aim to help, edify and influence others in a Good Way? At any given time, each and every one of us are either being a good influence or a bad influence when we are in contact with other people. We're either being a good witness or a bad witness if you are a Christian, and all believers are called to witness right.  


Track with me further with this idea. Now all influencers have been entrusted with a certain amount of change when they start off in their new position or role. And from that point forwards, they each will build up their change or have to pay it out according to how they use their heads, hearts and God-given abilities.


Bad decisions will cost each one dearly and there is no respect of persons in this. We all reap what we sow. And this type of thing will go on and on until the influencer completely runs out of their change, dies or gets raptured. Remember no matter how big or small your bad decisions are ..when you run out of change.. you as an influencer are out of change. Done!


Can Christ help you at that point when you run out early? Sure, He's a God of the second, third and fourth chances, but He in His grace will probably will have some valuable lessons for you to learn. 


Don't run out.


Influencers who keep making wise decisions and logging real successes under their belts.. over time will build up a pile of surplus change (again, I'm not at all talking about having an aim for huge personal financial gain, or even trying to use your position of trust to get stuff for yourself here, as so many ministers and leaders try to do these days. I'm simply talking about trust, helping others, and maintaining credibility—making the most of your impact for the glory of God)!


And if the influencer unintentionally makes some blunders (hey, none of us are perfect..) or maybe a couple bad decisions, they will still have the trust of their constituents.


Do your homework with the Word and walk above reproach with Him in the holy fear of God. We want to make zero blunders and thus avoid letting His wonderful people down. Regardless of your career or ministry choice, win and re-win the people's trust by obeying the Lord according to His Word. Better yet, abide in Jesus and win them to a saving faith no matter where you serve.


"No one is born with godly character. But by studying God's Word and listening to His Holy Spirit, we can learn to hate falsehood and love integrity."  ~C.P. Hia


"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." ~MaCauley


"Lord, shape my life as only You can, guiding each day by Your loving plan;

Take what You need and give what You will; my life is Yours to use and to fill." ~Branon


It doesn't matter if you are in it fulltime, bi-vocationally or simply a volunteer lay person. All believers are in full time ministry unto Christ, other saints and unto the lost.


More questions regarding wins, losses, trust and real winners…

- Does the so called "winner" consistently practice what they preach, or do they breach the trust by having a "do as I say, but not as I do" attitude? You know that a real winner wins by practicing the truth.

- Is the person constantly adding value and meeting needs among their constituents?

- Are they feeding their constituents with good uplifting information that's accurate or just fleecing em, using mixed information? 

- Ever notice a foolish president of a country or company shoveling out the change and making speeches to keep disappointed followers on board with him after being caught in a major blunder? What can we learn from that? Trust is lost quickly and gained slowly.  

- Ever been apart of a group where the veterans and leaders go out the back door faster than the visitors come in the front? There might be reasons that are overlooked.

- It's a challenge to influence or lead well in any situation, but when a shortsighted, bullheaded, stubborn leader feels they must shell out big change for damage control/"image repair" against an inordinate self-inflicted attrition rate.. due to sticking with their own plan instead of inquiring and listening for God's, then the organization is in trouble. It's sad when their followers in turn will typically also be paying along with them just to keep their leader afloat.

- If the influencer is a Christian, are there people actually getting saved and equipped as a result of their ministry?

- Are the followers being protected, mended and challenged, or do they need to be protected from their leader-influencer and his family?

- Have you broken a trust upwards or outwards yourself and now don't know what to do about turning things around.


"Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity" (Prov. 20:28, msg).


"Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne" (nkjv).


Some basic observations..

- Paul believed God was trustworthy so he chose to become trustworthy as well (Acts 27:21-25). We become like the influencer we hang out with. Are you trying to flourish by faith in a hostile work environment, Christian? Read about Daniel and wisely apply God's Word as he did. Trusting the Lord to turn problems into opportunities!


- Sometimes a trendy new church has been established right around the corner pastor, and the fickle five hundred are soon over there to try out the latest fad etc. Just keep plodding away in teaching the Word in an excellent way. Keep obeying the Lord along with caring for His people. Slow healthy growth is much better than flash in the pan explosive numerical growth. Let the Lord worry about the numbers. I hate to see an avalanche of people bailing out, especially away from a local church due to petty issues or the followers believing lies, but sometimes the elders or pastor have made some seriously bad decisions, have swept things under the rug and they are simply out of change.


- If the top influencer and his organization are headed south (I mean human boss, pastor, or organization is doing badly), and you work real hard under that person to gain wins that will turn the org  northwards again.. you could be working there in vain and you might even catch some blame for it failing. Try to help, but don't be in a sicko organization long. If the top influencer refuses to address the main problems, all you efforts normally won't fix their trajectory. Pray for his success. Wisely appeal with respect. Think about what is best for all the people involved. Be ready to bail out when the time is right.


Many leaders, lost or saved, will often do their best to keep the focus off of their inept or egotistical family-member-employee or even off themselves if they are solely to blame. Personal family security and retirement plans can come into play at another's expense.


I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, be realistic, and positive most of the time, and the Word clearly instructs us as to how we are to treat those who don't deserve our trust. Around the time when I am absolutely sure that trust is something I will grant only to those who earn it, I'll read a passage like 1 Corinthians 13, which call for some level of trust whether it's deserved or not in some cases. Paul said, "[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (v.7, niv).


So, should I go on and simply trust a convicted embezzler with my organization's or family's bucks? Will I trust a suspected child molester with my children? No way! That would not be a loving thing to do would it be. But God's love can extend the kind of trust that allows those who have been caught in evil doing to prove that their confession, regret, and repentance are genuine. Was full restitution made? Love, (with wise precautions and boundaries in place) can give people the kind of trust that recognizes what God can do in and through a repentant heart.


Listen, when the repentance is really there, the sinner will not even demand the same privileges or freedom back that he or she had once enjoyed before blowing it. There will be an understanding of what blessings we deserve—zip!


- Wise leaders take their sweet time in choosing winners for their inner circle as well as for basic responsibilities with their organization. And other wise influencers also take their sweet time in accepting employment or a position from such to begin with. Like attracts like. Careful; prematurely opting to serve under a dim, underhanded or cynical leader with huge blind spots can cost you some years in the desert.


- If the top influencer in an organization (whither that is a secular, para-church, or local church group), keeps gaining success after success ..due to them applying some practical savvy and know-how, but some of those in his or her inner circle keep messing up with sin, then those underling-blunderers can greatly slow down or even stop the momentum of the entire group. Hire slowly and fire quickly (with grace when it's best for the group).


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