One of the reasons that some develop deep influence is that they are always looking for ways to leverage their lives, opportunities and ministries. It is a way of thinking. My writing is about leverage. I can reach far more people by writing than I can otherwise. I was so committed to that leverage that I self published my first two books when publishers said there was no market – and the books were later picked up by NavPress.
In our discussion on intentional living I wrote about the importance of thinking through how we use our most valuable resource – our time. Wise individuals leverage their time whenever possible in order to leverage that resource. When I travel, I often bring others with me which exposes them to the world of missions and gives me time to develop a relationship. When I speak, I will use that material for blogs or writing when I can. Instead of traveling to many different locations when international I will instead invite people to come to where I am. It is all about maximizing opportunity for kingdom purposes.
In my fifties, I know that what I leave behind in others is more powerful than what I can accomplish myself. Thus, a great part of my time and energy today goes into mentoring and coaching others. My investment in their lives and ministries is leverage for me because their contribution multiplies my contribution.
Life should not be seen as a series of random “one off” events but rather one of interconnected ministry activities that if thought through and wisely planned can provide a critical mass of opportunity that allow us to leverage our time, gifting and activity. Jesus was a master of this: by living life with his disciples, every event, conversation or situation became an opportunity to grow them and of course, in the power of the Holy Spirit, they launched the church on his ascension.
The example of Christ, where he involved his disciples (both the twelve and a larger group of followers) in His life and ministry is a powerful one because we have the same opportunity. Why do something by ourselves if we can involve others? Recently I was involved in a situation where ministry relationships were strained and needed to be sorted out. Rather than deal with it by myself – even though I was the primary player to do so – I brought two other leaders with me. In the process they learned some lessons in conflict resolution.
Wise leaders also think leverage when it comes to spending ministry dollars. I have some ministry friends who have a propensity to think very big when it comes to budgets for various initiatives. One of them asks my advice from time to time and I tell him that I always divide his monetary needs by ten and that is what he ought to be spending. Perhaps it is because many ministry folks have never been in business where the bottom line actually matters. They just think God will provide and rather than thinking leverage they try to raise far more than is actually needed.
Leaders of deep influence do not waste time, resources, opportunities, relationships, or strategy: they always look for ways to leverage these God given resources for maximum ministry impact. It is a way of thinking – and a contrarian way of thinking at that.