A couple of years ago I wrote a blog called the “Key To Promotion.” The blog really blessed a lot of people and brought great insight about how one of the major keys to being promoted is being faithful in the little things God calls us to in life. When we are faithful in little, He will make us ruler over much. If you’d like to check out that blog and learn more click here.
Over the last couple of years the Lord has given me increased revelation in this area so I want to share some things He has shown me. Specifically, I want to show you how expand your sphere of influence when you have been faithful in little things. This article will focus heavily on leadership, however it is not limited to church and business leadership. It also applies to other areas such as parenting and relationships. What I’m going to show you is how to create a multiplier effect in your life so you can get more done and become more influential. The key to this is not working harder, it is working smarter.
Look at 2 Corinthians 10:
13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you,
In this passage, Paul describes a sphere of influence the Lord had given him, the Corinthian church. He also said that he wanted to see his sphere of influence increase so he could preach the gospel in regions beyond Corinth.
The first thing we all must recognize is ambition is not wrong. Paul had godly ambition. God puts ambition or the desire for increased influence inside of us. Unfortunately, however, many times we try to fulfill that desire in ungodly ways:
1. We try to take someone else’s sphere because of personal jealousy. A lot of the context of 2 Corinthians 10 is about that. Paul described how other ministers who bragged on their great accomplishments and tried to steal away the hearts of many in the Corinthian church. These ministers attempted to get the people in the church to follow after them instead of Paul. This was wrong. These men didn’t trust God for influence, they tried to steal it. The first lesson we need to learn is we don’t have to boast about who we are or how great we are and try to steal influence God didn’t give us. We just need to BE GREAT and let God increase our influence.
This means if God isn’t giving you as much influence as you think you deserve, maybe you aren’t as great as you think you are. I don’t say that to condemn, but as a reality check. Ask yourself, your boss, and others around you that you trust to assess your performance at your job, ministry position, as a parent, etc. Be gut level honest with yourself. Have those you ask to be gut level honest with you and provide answers to how well you are really doing. Do you have areas of weakness? Where do you need to improve to get to the next level? Take the feedback and work on it.
2. A second ungodly way we try to expand our sphere of influence is we move too quickly and don’t lay a proper foundation. Look at 2 Corinthians 10:15-16 again:
15 but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you,
Paul’s goal was to increase the faith of the Corinthian church, because when he did, this would give him a platform to expand to regions beyond Corinth. Think about it, as the people’s faith increased so would their faithfulness. This means they wouldn’t need as much attention from Paul because they would have matured. Their maturity would be the signal and platform from which Paul’s influence would expand.
Let’s make this practical about us. Imagine a person wants to volunteer more in the community, but their children aren’t operating at a proper maturity level yet. If that person has a 14 year old, 12 year old, and 8 year old that don’t know how to get dressed, clean their room, do their homework, and do basic chores that person isn’t ready to take on more responsibility in the community. They need to develop the faith and faithfulness of those under their care. As they do, they won’t be as needed as they once were and they will have the time to do more.
I used the parenting example, because it is relatable to so many, but this example is true in many other contexts as well. For example, I know people who are praying for God to expand their business, but who have failed to disciple the employees they currently have. They have employees who aren’t faithful or are undertrained so the boss is constantly having to do their work for them or fix their mistakes.
You may be saying, the boss should just fire them. You may be right, however, when a whole company culture is one of underperformance because of lack of training and lack of faithfulness, that is a systemic issue. The person at the top is the one who created or allowed that culture. They owe it to their current employees to try to fix the culture by investing in them and training them properly first. If the boss fires and rehires new people without fixing the company culture they will keep seeing the same problems.
Lastly and more importantly, when a leader invests in people, it will usually cause people to develop and perform faithfully at a high level. This causes them to walk in their divine destiny. God promotes leaders who help people walk in their divine destiny because God is a great investor. He invests more in those who will bring a great return to His kingdom.
The boss who has developed a faithful and highly performing team is now positioned to take on more business. God can give him more business because his company will be able to faithfully take care of more customers, which brings God’s kingdom great glory.
Now you may be asking, how do I develop great faith and faithfulness in the people God has entrusted to me? Great question. Below are some important insights:
- Affirm your people in their identity in Christ. Right behaving comes from right believing. Your people have to believe who God says they are before they can behave that way. This is not a one time affirmation. As Jessie Duplantis, says, “Faith cometh and faith can goeth.” This means leaders need to constantly remind people of who they are in Christ. If you work in a secular context, you may not be able to always to be as explicit in telling people who they are in Christ, but you can still call forth their prophetic destiny by affirming them in who God designed them to be. For example, tell them they are capable, smart, creative, and able to do anything they set their mind to do.
- Pray over those who God has given you influence. Take the word of God and declare it over your people. Too often we curse those who are in our care and they live down to the words we speak over them. If we will speak faith and blessings over our people, they will often live up to the words we speak.
- Give people opportunities to grow. After Jesus taught and modeled a lifestyle of faith and healing, He sent out the 12 disciples in Matthew 10 to preach the kingdom and heal the sick. Jesus didn’t just keep doing all the work. He gave others opportunities to grow. When they came back they had great success as everyone was healed. Praise God! They’d have never known what was in them, though, if Jesus kept doing all the work by Himself.
- Give honest feedback. Jesus was the master of giving honest feedback. He constantly corrected His disciples throughout His ministry. For example, when James and John asked to be seated at His right hand, He gave them honest feedback. He didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear either. Jesus was honest because He was fearless. We must cultivate a heart of fearlessness if we want to be able to be honest with people. Believe me, it’s hard to tell people they missed the mark. It’s easier in the short term to cover up for them and fix their mistakes or do their work for them. When we do, however, it steals from them because they aren’t given the opportunity to grow. It also steals from us because we have to do work we weren’t called to do. This means we can’t do what is in our heart to do which is to gain more influence.
- Keep affirming people in their identity as you give them feedback. People are not what they do. your person is awesome, what they did is not. They are better than that. I bring this up because when your people hear negative feedback, they are likely to internalize it and think they are a failure. You must constantly affirm them that what they did is not who they are. If they believe right, they will behave right!
We all have limited time and energy so the key to multiplication isn’t working harder. It is working smarter by being great at what we’ve been called to do and then investing ourselves into the lives of other people. When do we will help them transform into the people God created them to be. As we do this, they will walk in their destiny and we will take on more. This is how God expands our influence. I hope this article has encouraged you. If you’d like to learn more, check out this message I recently taught at Grace Life Church.