One of the most famous maxims on leadership at the current time is from John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence”.

This has led many churches to decide that their mission is to influence the world. This idea is starting to come under alot of attack by those who are re-reading the Bible and thinking about these issues.  People such as Alan Hirsch, Greg Boyd and others are recognising we are at the end of the Constantinian or Christendom era and need to go back to the mindset of the early church for reaching out to people.

I don’t want to consider the issue today of emerging and missional church, see yesterday’s posted videos for great insights.  “Would Jesus on a bad day say, ‘What would I do?'” and the fact that we don’t do these things to be hip were lines that I loved.  I want to consider the passage of John where Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35).

It seems to me that if we want influence we need to first have love.  Jesus disciples were not to be known by arguments where in the Messianic kingdom they would sit but by the fact that they loved one another.  This is a bit of a radical idea.  We remember the disciples for their faults or triumphs not their love.  We remember Peter who sank and denied his Lord, not the Peter who was restored. We remember Peter who preached and saw thousands saved but not the Peter that ends up in jail with John.  We are reminded at this point the disciples don’t blame each other.  If it was me I could imagine Peter and John saying, “If only you hadn’t gone over to heal that guy” and “If only you listened more closely to our Lord”.  Peter and John end up singing in jail together.  That is a mutual love which we rarely see.  Discipleship is not about doing it alone but, in love, with others.

I am not saying this is easy, sometimes it is very hard but if we really want influence then we must have love first.  So what ways does love lead to influence?  I’ll let you answer that.