As I explained in an earlier post, Mordecai understood the proper posture for his time. He intentionally raised his niece to be a woman of influence, and he himself trained to be a person of influence as well. Every Christian in America should be doing both of these things – aspiring to be as influential as possible, and training children to be influential for Christ as well. I mean that literally: aspiring to be as influential as possible. Becoming influential takes years and years of work where you are not influential. That’s the aspiring. And some people have a much higher “possibility” than others. And that’s totally fine. What matters is that we press as much as we each can.
I want to talk now in contemporary terms about positions of non-influence, and positions of influence and how to get them. Let’s start with things that do not influence, but we often thing do:
Working for a company — Working for someone else is a very uninfluential position. In general, you are the one being influenced by the culture that someone else has set up. Now you can have some influence inside of these arenas, but really it is pretty limited. And so I label anyone in a public corporation, from bottom all the way up to CEO as uninfluential. That’s most of us, but it’s the reality.
Teachers — Public school teachers and administrators have a similar problem. They do have some influence, but they are highly constrained by the system itself. Instead of raising disciples of Christ like themselves, they are constrained to just be a little nicer than the unbelievers. Therefore, even though you can have some influence in these roles, I still rate it as overall uninfluential.
Doctors and Nurses – Being a doctor or a nurse is a wonderful thing and it can make money. But by itself it is not influential. It only becomes influential if you do something with it, like become a medical missionary, run evangelistic clinics, or otherwise use your training to advance the Gospel.
Attending Church – Someone who listens to sermons is not particularly influential The person who is influential is the one who is preaching them. And this is true with a whole class of church activities. A lot of what we do does not really influence anyone, and really needs to be re-evaluated.
Entertainment – It goes without saying that being entertained is basically a useless activity and influences no-one except yourself in the wrong direction.
These activities account for about 90% of what Christians are doing. Hence we are losing. What do we need to do instead. Things that are influential:
Parenting and Youth Ministry – I’m not talking about babysitting between times that your child is in school being taught by unbelievers. I’m talking about actively raising children to be world changers. Everyone can and should do this. School teachers and leaders at Christian schools fall in this category.
Starting a company – If you are an employer, or someone who is helping an employer create a Christian business, you are influential. A close friend of mine works at a construction company, and I think more people get saved and delivered there than at the average church. Between he and the boss, they strategically hire guys to help and then lead them to Christ. It’s not just a job, they are using their power as the employer to lead men to Christ.
Politicians – It should be obvious, but many Christians have a really negative view of politics. Actually, being a person who holds political power, or who is helping the righteous to gain political power, is a position of great influence, and should be sought.
Missionaries– Missionaries are the front line soldiers of the Kingdom of God. If you are on the mission field reaching the lost and changing other cultures, you are influential.
Ministers – If you are a pastor, evangelist, teacher, or someone else who reaches lost people and trains Christians for action, you are influential
Lawyers and Judges – Very closely connected to politics, but slightly different. Most lawyers do relatively boring paperwork, but a subset of lawyers are quite important. This is because they know the law and they use it for good (or evil), because they have lots of connections with important people, and because they have money. Lawyers are a “power network.” Judges are lawyers who rule on what is right and wrong. This is a very influential position in any society. Remember it was a bunch of judges who told us we couldn’t pray in school.
Journalists – Journalists filter basically everything you hear before you hear it. They are like your second brain. They are limited by the system as well, but still have a great degree of influence over how you think about everything.
Film Makers– Like journalists, these are the people who tell us what to think. They tell us what is real or not. They are highly influential.
Activists and Policy Makers – Activists and Policy makers are the ones who influence politicians on what to do. Activists do it through pressure. Policy Makers or thinkers do it through thought leadership.
Academics – Academics are people who push the truth into the highest levels of culture. The participate in a war for truth, and teach young people what to believe about the world. Highly influential.
Influential people are the small set of the society, that means these jobs are usually harder to get than others. In the next post, I’ll talk about how to raise children to be the influencers, instead of the influenced.