I dont know how all this happens. Influence is a funny thing. Several weeks ago I met a guy at a meeting. He has a cool name. Oakley. I wish I was named something cool like that. Oakley has glasses. Not just glasses, but cool, fashionable glasses. He has curly hair too. He glasses and hair would make nice for some kind of caricature. Big head, Big glasses, Curly hair. Thats him. Oakley is the student ministries pastor at Northside (Northside is Andy Stanlys Northpoint in Columbia, one of the citys largest churches). He just happened to be at the meeting that I was at. He wasnt invited. He just showed. He can pull that kind of stuff off, I cant. Some how, he noticed me there. He called me the next day. Someone gave him my number. My cell, at that. I hate it when people give out my cell number. So, Oakley wanted to meet me. I went to see him today. We sat in his office, went through his youth building, and ate some Greek food at a little caf down the road. It was nice. But, what shocked me, I guess more than anything, was that Oakley wanted ME there. He actually wanted to talk to me. He was concerned with what I thought, about everything. And whats really weird is what happened with Oakley, is what has happened a lot since Ive been here. Over the last several months, my network has grown. Quite frankly, Im really amazed that these guys even spend time with me. I mean, I have like 20 kids in my youth group. Oakley has like two hundred or something. Everyones ministry has more kids than mine. I mean, Im nothing as far as a significant minister. I took an attitude when we got here that has taught me something about people: it was that I valued other Youth Pastors. I mean, not as ministry partners, but as friends, as people to walk a similar journey with. In a very basic form, I love them because we face similar struggles, challenges, and joys. And you know what they love me back. I mean they want me in their lives. By invention last night we attended a surprise party with one of my other friends thats a Youth Pastor in our city. Next Monday were having dinner with another Youth Pastor and his family. And here is what Ive seen and learned when you love someone they normally give you a place of influence in their lives. Let me just say this I didnt and do not want influence in all these guys lives. I never sought that. And honestly, its a little bit much for me to take on. But, you know what, I see in them a desire that may be a tad bit repressed: a desire to be loved and appreciated. And I do that. So here is where it meets you. You have people in your life. People who are walking similar journeys. People that share the same challenges, frustrations, and joys that you do. Love them and walk the path together. Let the beauty of your life give you a platform of influence in theirs. And then use that platform to communicate the truth of Jesus.
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