One of my mentors was wondering how much influence he had in the congregation. He started wondering about this when he noticed a majority of the guys seem to dress like him with jeans and untucked shirts. So, he made a deliberate change to start wearing khaki pants and tucking in his shirt. In a month or so, the dress code changed in the church without him saying a word. The reason is – leadership is influence. Jesus called us to be salt and light, influencers. The question is: “How is your modeling, your choices influencing your congregation?” I am talking more than dress code but attitude, aptitude, choices, etc. How are you influencing the congregation, and to what level? Can you point to different behaviors or values in your church culture that are a direct reflection of your modeling or leadership? If not, why not?
One of John Maxwell’s favorite lines is if you want to measure the health of a church, put a thermometer in the mouth of the leader. In other words, congregations reflect their leader. If you are negative about life, the future, and the mission and ministry of the church, so will be your people. If you’re positive about the future, opportunities, etc., so will be your people. If you say, “My congregation doesn’t reflect me,” then you may not be the leader.
I hear so many people say that I can’t get my people to do outreach. My response is, “What are you doing to help them get there? Are you telling them or modeling? Which one do you think has better influence, or who would you rather follow: the guy telling, or the guy who reaches out?” It’s true whether we like it or not – We are leaders, undershepherds of the Great Shepherd, Jesus. This is one of the gifts and responsibilities of the office. It is one of the ways we make disciples. I encourage you to take time and reflect on your influence in the congregation. How much are they like you in their attitude, values, and behavior? Can you identify specific examples in the congregation? If not, why? If yes, why do they adopt that specific thing, and how can you learn from it for other areas of ministry? Speaking metaphorically, can you change the dress code of your church?
by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District