Part 2: How to Use Your God-Given Influence as a Kingdom Builder

Rick Warren
Rick Warren (Facebook)

In my previous article I argued that, "Everyone has influence. We all influence someone." And that God expects us to be good stewards of that influence.

I defined a "kingdom builder" as one who has a great purpose to live for, great principles to live by, great power to live on, and great people to live with. I shared the first half of a dozen scriptural principles about influence:

  • Everybody has influence.
  • God expects me to use the influence He's given me.
  • My influence is for the benefit of others.
  • If I'm not influencing them, they're influencing me.
  • The purpose of influence is to speak up for those that have no influence.
  • I will answer to God for how I used my influence.

I want to now share the other six principles of influence:

7.  If I use my influence well, God will give me more. In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about the stewardship of influence in which a ruler had left several stewards in charge of different amounts of money. When he returned and found that two of the three had earned an increase on the money he told them each, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" This is a powerful principle to learn concerning God's economy. God rewards our faithful influence with more influence.

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8.  The path to greater influence is service and generosity. We assume that we must climb to higher positions in order to have more influence, but Jesus gave us an ethic of influence that started with stooping to serve instead. He put it this way: "But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant" Matthew 20:26 (NLT). We influence people with far more powerful results when we lead by serving.

9. You only influence people who trust you. In other words, credibility is everything when it comes to leadership and influence. There are at least five ways for Christian leaders to develop trust with people:

  • By praying for and with people.
  • By setting a faithful example.
  • By continually speaking truth.
  • By encouraging and celebrating unity.
  • By exhibiting courage as you lead.

10. Criticism is the inevitable price of influence. Criticism isn't fun. Life gets hard when you become a target, but that's the inevitable result of an expanding influence. The more visible you are, the more of a target you will be. This was true for King David, for Nehemiah, and for Jesus as well as anyone who has been a mover and shaker in the history of the church. Embrace criticism as the blessed side effect of influence.

11. The fastest way to influence is by being likable. This is not to say that being likable is more important than other values, but when we decide to show a genuine interest in other people, they tend to be interested in you, and this is often the gateway to influence.

12. Kingdom builders help others use their influence wisely. Great leaders sharpen other leaders and influencers grow each other in community. Kingdom builders are not merely interested in having followers, but in raising up other leaders.

The Kingdom needs good leadership now more than ever. Will you put these principles to work in your life and be a Kingdom builder?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

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