This is a unique year to be a leader in your community. 2020 is full of hardship, uncertainty and political unrest. The fact that we are living through a pandemic and participating in a heated presidential election provides Christians a unique opportunity to show Christ in our spheres of influence.
In an election year it is easy to focus on our local and national leaders. Our senses are heightened and bombarded with election news streaming in from every outlet. In our human frailness it is easy to be consumed with how the next leader will impact our lives for better or worse. Allow me to challenge you to go deep and get personal. We ALL have major spheres of influence. There is no doubt that our elected officials are influencers, but YOU my friend are positioned perfectly no matter where you are to lead powerfully.
How to be an influential leader in your community
Leave space for service. If you’re booked too tight you simply won’t have anything to give to the community. This ought to stop you in your tracks. If you read this first line and it speaks to you, consider sitting down with someone you do life with and evaluate the use of your time. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and do the hard work of eliminating busyness in your life. Then, in your new found time for service, read the rest of this article!
Identify your spheres of influence. This is an important aspect to sort out. Just like taking the time to count our blessings, we often neglect to reflect on just how many people we encounter and the places we go and our potential for impact.
Consider where you work, the elementary schools in your community, colleges, the needs you know your local pastor has mentioned, the local food pantry, crisis pregnancy center, adoption agencies, the friends of your children, the organizations you regularly support and attend, your FAMILY! This is where evaluating takes place. I can’t speak to the many places and unique things that people do, but stop and think about what God has placed right in front of you.
Seek the Lord for wisdom. Now that you have some time, ask the Lord where He would have you serve. What are your passions? Do you know your spiritual gifts? If not, hop online and find a spiritual gifts inventory and become familiar with some of your possible strengths. When you look at your sphere of influence, ask the Holy Spirit to impress upon you where you might plug in and get started shaping your community. Your time is valuable, do not skip this step of asking God for discernment and calling to know where to spend your time and energy.
Commit. Lean in to your calling. You don’t have to serve in one capacity for life. As a mother of preschoolers you might enjoy the weekly library reading time and develop many meaningful relationships in the community. This stage will end, and you may find yourself the room mom for a group of surly 3rd graders. BUT, commit to what God has asked you to do for this specific time. Distractions will pull us away from a sphere of influence that we have been carefully honing and before we realize it, we are spinning too many plates.
Get involved with your family and friends. Life is exciting in community. Involve your family or your friends in your journey to lead in the community. Create accountability and energy when you involve others in on the mission. When we go alone we may lose steam, finding a partner for service creates momentum.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. When Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6:34 NASB),” He is trying desperately to tell us that each day provides plenty of opportunity for work, worry, accomplishments, etc, it’s a never ending list, really. Just like we don’t have room for the problems of tomorrow, today, we can’t single handedly tackle the problems of our nation. It is an overwhelming thought. Instead, we fix our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to be sovereign over this world.
“…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).”
Right now I believe we are distracted. Perhaps I will speak for myself and say I know I was distracted during the height of this election. I began to worry about the range of political possibilities that are as vast as the elected officials. I began to worry about the future. The whole nation felt so big and I felt so powerless. Then I remembered my place in this world.
You can’t tackle the nation either. Most Americans will never meet the President of the United States. But how many people can see your light shining in the community and meet Jesus through you? It is not a popularity contest- if you’ve trusted Jesus with your life then you have already been elected to this mission. Your Inauguration Day happened the day you became a Christian. Now, get to work!