Leadership gurus have long noted that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. If you are influencing others, they are following you. If no one is following, you are not leading.
What we often fail to recognize is that influence goes beyond the persons with whom we have direct contact. I recently read a great example of this when the author wrote that when we do something that impacts our son we are also indirectly impacting our son's best friend's mother. Like tossing a rock into a lake, our influence has a ripple effect on the lives of other people whose lives also touch the person we influenced.
This is great news for the Christian who wants to impact his or her world for Jesus Christ. Our ministry to others not only has the potential to change their lives but also the lives of others around them. This literally means that we have no idea of how even the smallest service towards someone can have a major impact in the lives of other people.
In the late 1970s our daughter attended Vacation Bible School with one of our neighbors. We did not go to church in those days, at least not very often. This was probably the 3rd or 4th VBS she attended that summer. On the Friday evening of VBS at this church she told her mother and me that the pastor had given an invitation, and she had gone forward to ask Jesus Christ into her life. The pastor told her if she was serious about this decision she should come back to church next Sunday and make that decision before the entire congregation.
I was scheduled to work overtime in the factory that Sunday, but she insisted she wanted to go to church and make her decision public. There was no way I was going to allow her to do that and not be there to support her, so we went. Sure enough, when the invitation was given my little girl stepped out in front of all those strangers and made her way to the front of the church.
As a result of her decision, over the next few months my wife and I both came to faith ourselves. We became active in the church, and 2-3 years later I felt the call to the ministry. This year I am celebrating 35 years of ordained ministry as a pastor and as a denominational resource minister. I've been privileged to speak in many churches, publish books, lead conferences and workshops, and to assist countless churches as they have sought to live out God's vision for their ministries. All of this has happened because a little girl went to VBS.
You have the ability to influence other people's lives far more than you realize. You can be a world changer just through your faithful service to God and others. Ask God every day for the opportunity to touch someone for Christ and take advantage of those opportunities when they appear. You may find one day that you not only impacted one person's life but many others as well.