I’m taking a leadership class right now, and one of the topics this week is power and influence. For my first assignment, I had to think about an experience that demonstrates influence. One that quickly came to mind where others are influenced is one I have witnessed over time at my church with the youth leader. I have a teenage stepson and have seen him change positively under the influence of this pastor. I have also seen hundreds of kids moved under his leadership.
According to Curphy, Ginnett, & Hughes (2012), power can be defined as the “capacity to produce effects on others or the potential to influence others (p. 118).” Being in a leadership role, the youth pastor has natural power that can be used to influence these kids. That being said, his influence is not due to being a leader alone. The youth pastor allows himself to be influenced by the youth in a positive way. My textbook states “followers can also wield power and influence over leaders as well as over each other. (p. 119). This pastor listens to their struggles and builds relationships with them. Dean (2012) tells us that kids need a safe place to be themselves where they don’t have to prove themselves. That is exactly what they are getting at my church, and it makes me so proud to see it. Without someone taking the time to get to know these kids, there would never be opportunities to learn how to reach them effectively. There would never be an opportunity for Jesus to truly come alive in them.
The admiration that these kids have for our youth pastor is simply remarkable, and it has allowed for even more influence in their lives. The resulting referent power brings these kids to their knees, seeking more of Jesus and less of themselves. It is just as much a humbling experience to watch these teenagers give their lives to Christ as it was for me to do it myself. I am so thankful for what our youth pastors are doing today, in my church, my city, my country, and around the world. They are preparing the future leaders of this world. They are influencing a generation, and the kids are listening.
Curphy, G., Ginnett, R., & Hughes, R. (2012). Leadership: Enchancing The Lessons Of Experience. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Dean, K. C. (2012, March 14). Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry. Retrieved March 12, 2015, from Lewis Center for Church Leadership: http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/leaddocs/2012/120314_article.html