In this week’s video, Erik redefines the very essence of leadership, shedding light on the power of making Jesus the heart of our influence. Discover how true impact is achieved not through personal fame, but by elevating Jesus as the driving force behind our actions. Join us as we learn to lead with purpose, guided by faith, and find new meaning in the phrase ‘Redefining Leadership with Jesus at the Center.’ Unleash your potential and become a leader who makes a lasting difference.
“Today, we want to talk a little bit about defining leadership and influence the way God defines leadership and influence. You know, all of you have influence in one way or another. It doesn’t matter what your position or what your hierarchy might be in your organization or your business or whatever sphere of this life that you work in. All of us have influence, and really, I think even in Christian circles, we’re kind of obsessed with this idea of leadership and leadership development.
But if we’re not careful, we’ll look at those things the way the world looks at those things instead of through the lens of the Gospel. So I want to encourage you a little bit today about defining leadership the way Jesus defines leadership, Marketplace skills.
I want to encourage you today to not confuse Fame and following with Godly influence. You know, the kingdom is all upside down and backward, isn’t it, right? You know, we become strong by becoming weak; we become leaders by becoming servants, right? It’s the way of God’s kingdom; it’s all upside down and backward.
And you know the human heart it longs to be celebrated, loved, cherished, right? This isn’t wrong; it’s actually part of how God made us. But we were made to find all of those things in God Himself.
But our sin-fallen imagination goes searching for it in every place but where we were designed to find it – in every place but our Creator. And so, we fallen humans have developed this fascination with building platform and building notoriety. And I think I fear we’ve confused leadership and influence in God’s kingdom with the characteristics and skill sets that build platform and notoriety.
You know, drawing crowds, charisma, public speaking, content creation, you know, building a following. And I would say none of these things are wrong in and of themselves. I mean right? I’m staring into a camera right now, creating content for the internet and for our website today.
But I think we’ve confused these characteristics with leadership skills, right? That’s what happens; our sin-clouded imagination kind of swaps Fame and following with Godly influence. And I know we’ve got this reality in the world we live in today, right? Like people with large social media followings are called online influencers; that’s what they’re called. People who use their charisma, their popularity, their good looks to influence people to do things and to buy things.
But that’s not the kind of influence Jesus called us to, is it? And let’s be honest, I think platform and notoriety are really destroying a lot of people today as well, and our passionate pursuit of these things. I’ve watched it destroy people, and I worry about it destroying even me and those I love.
There was this fascinating tweet last year; author and speaker Beth Moore, she posted the following thread on Twitter after a rash of prominent Christian leaders were exposed for doing some really, really horrible things. I’m just gonna read this to you; this is Beth Moore. She said, ‘Humans were not fashioned by God for celebrity; we can’t take it, I’m telling you. It’s too much to be greatly adored or greatly abhorred. Either one is crazy-making, and both attend celebrity. A lot of celebrities crash, but all of them crack. We’re craving our own public breakdown.’
‘So if God lends you an audience for the gospel (and mind you, it will just be lent, not kept), keep your head down, keep mature people around you who can tell you when you’re an idiot. Prepare to be humbled constantly, and submit to it. And do not, I say, do not make crowds your God; it’s idolatry. Don’t clamor for big numbers, and don’t kid yourself that bigger is better for the sake of the Gospel. We do the lifting up of Jesus, and God does the drawing. Just serve faithfully, as faithfully as you know how, repent regularly, ride the waves, and long for the shore.’
It’s pretty intense, isn’t it? You see, my encouragement to you would be today is, don’t confuse Fame and following with Godly influence; those words do not mean the same thing. Fame means lots of people know you; Godly influence means someone is closer to Jesus because they know you.
You know, John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, and scripture tells us that John had a huge following. You know, crowds would flock to find him, and he would preach to and baptize multitudes of people. And when Jesus arrived on the scene, the crowds actually began leaving John and going to Jesus. John 3:26-30 says, ‘They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can only receive what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is now mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
See, you and I, as followers of Jesus in whatever sphere of this life we work in, we have been called not to fame and notoriety; we have been called to faithful obedience, and faithful anonymity is better, is greater than chasing notoriety. You know, I wonder, I’ve often wondered how much of God’s Kingdom is advancing around the world through steady, long-suffering faithful people and initiatives that we can’t see and will never even know about. I wonder because that’s the way of the Kingdom; that’s the way that God works.
So, Lord, help us to be satisfied with faithful obedience to You, even if no one else sees or celebrates it. I’ll just close with this; just some encouragement, some gospel encouragement to you. Everything you need, all the notoriety, all the celebration, all the validation that your heart longs for, in Christ, you already have it. It’s yours in Christ. You are seen, you are known, you are loved, you are cherished.
And so, what does that do? It sets you free. It sets you free to refocus your leadership and influence on steady, faithful, maybe even anonymous serving and sacrifice for the glory of God and the love of your neighbor and the proclamation of the name of Jesus to the ends of the Earth. So, if you want to leverage your influence, if you want to leverage influence the way I believe God designed it and Jesus modeled it, stop confusing influence with Godly influence with Fame and following. God has called us to something so much greater. Let’s define leadership and influence the way Jesus would define leadership and influence.”