Foundations of a Leader’s Influence

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD-Executive Director

Take a few deep breaths.

Inhaling the Holy Spirit blowing through our lives can remind us of three things that are foundational:

  1. We are already loved and good enough.
  2. We can love ourselves. (Read this one over and over. Influence starts here.)
  3. We can love the people we lead. (Gulp. Without this, there is no influence.)

I’m talking about agency, the ability to alter your environment according to your goals and to make things happen.

Agency allows people to use their God-given power to lead. Leading out of agency is more like a nourishing, steady rain falling on dry land than it is like a tropical storm that leaves debris behind. We can do this because our ultimate agency is rooted in our baptism, not in our own capacity.

Leading from this place gives us courage to take time off and focus with diligence on the things that may be hard but are meaningful and produce needed changes.

I find it interesting that many of the roadblocks we face in our leadership are part of systems and structures previous leaders constructed to succeed in their own leadership in a previous era. Redesigning these systems can feel daunting, even impossible. This makes me wonder, why don’t we simply refocus our efforts to design new pathways forward instead of spending time trying to redesign the current systems?

Christian leadership is claiming our God-given agency for mission. The structures around us are what determine or limit decisions and actions. If we let them.

3 replies
  1. Rob James
    Rob James says:

    Peggy, thanks for these great words of wisdom. Interesting how images shape our thinking. I first looked at the image on your post of plants growing to one side. I grow hosta (too many) and grow them from seed in the basement to pass the winter months). The new hosta plants, like any and like us, grow toward the light. As Leaders the agency comes from the light of Christ shinging that draws others (or course this is in all of us and not just leaders/pastors). When I turn my little cups of hosta seedlings they start to shift, it takes awhile but they grow in a new direction. Thought of how a new leader has to shine a light, but also has to turn the cups, make the shift and people who follow will start to change how they are growing.

    • Peggy Hahn
      Peggy Hahn says:

      Oh my gosh this is a beautiful image. Send me a pic. I love your thinking Rob! Anytime you want to write for LEAD let me know. I’m grateful for this post.
      I’m a gardener too. There is something so healing about growing plants from seeds.

  2. Jim Abbott
    Jim Abbott says:

    We spend time and effort re-working existing systems because we think (probably incorrectly) that this will be less work than starting over. How many times have we said / heard the expression “Why re-invent the wheel?” Well, no, don’t re-invent the wheel, but if wheels are not working, not what we actually need, let’s do something different.

    There is also the inhibition we feel at rejecting / abandoning our predecessor’s work. There will be some in every context that see change this way. But [fill in the blank] did it and it was wonderful.


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