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Enhanced Credibility = Increased Influence

In 2010, I ran across an article in a flight magazine on Personal Excellence.  It was by Jean Kelley.  Her article gives the bones for this post.

Being an influencer is not self-declared or automatic. Much of the ability to influence others comes with the credibility you have with the particular person. There are people who I’m unable to influence because for whatever reason I’ve no credibility with that person.  Other people receive my suggestions or directives.  In the latter case, I’ve managed to be credible to that person.

In her article, Jean Kelley wrote, “Credibility is not something you automatically have, or something you bestow upon yourself – it is something others bestow upon you.”  With one person I am credible another has chosen not to bestow that label on me.  If you wish to influence people you must be credible to them.  There are no “self-crowned” influencers as there is no “self-crowned” credibility.

For others to view you as credible, you have to act your way into credibility.

Rex DeckardSome years ago, Rex Deckard (Des Moines, Iowa; coordinator of Church Planting U for the United Pentecostal Church) taught the North American Missions Board of Directors that research indicated, “action is more important than attitude.” Our actions are things we choose to do. This works into the idea of credibility. We can talk a good game and then not actually get the thing done.

Our decisions determine our credibility. Each of us makes multiple decisions each day

  • whether to visit a parishioner,
  • whether to do the work necessary to meet a particular deadline,
  • whether to return a phone call when you know it will be a difficult conversation,
  • whether to appropriately direct with others.

Influential people are evaluated by their behavior – not their communication or their intentions.

Now to borrow rather directly from Ms. Kelley’s cupboard.  As an influencers you can boost your credibility in any of several ways:

1. Don’t over-promise – do what you say you will do and choose what you will and will not do.  The latter part of this is important. Every influencer has far more opportunities than what they can do.  Prioritize what you take on.  Don’t be late with things you’ve promised to accomplish. Get ‘er done!

2. Be open about your motives behind a decision – you choose what you tell people.  If there is self-interest involved in a decision you make people are generally able to see through whatever garment you robe that decision in.

3. Fess up to mistakes early – leaders choose to cover things up or put them out in the open.  Crow is not tasty, but goes down quick. Richard Nixon did not lose the presidency over the burglary a few second rate aides had participated in; Nixon lost his credibility when he didn’t fess up tp having become aware of the Watergate break-in.  None have actually attained the inerrancy of the papacy. When you blow it, admit it!

4. Keep confidences – get permission before divulging sensitive information.  You have the choice as to whether or not to repeat information. My inclination is to NOT divulge any information to another person. Many secrets will go with me to my grave. Don’t use innuendo to communicate what should be a confidence.  Absorb what people tell you, pray about it and in most instances work with those people to come out of the mess they’ve made of their life.   (Perhaps someone out there would be willing to blog about, “The High Cost of a “Gossiping Preacher.”)  If you don’t keep confidences you will soon be str12_mudholeuck – nobody will trust you.

5. Treat others consistently and fairly – you choose your actions toward others.

6. Listen to others – you choose where you put your mental focus.  I listen better when I’m making notes regarding the other person’s conversation; instead of asking questions and interrupting what the person is saying noting what I’m wanting to ask later.  (If you do this be sure to let the other person know what you are doing; otherwise they imagine you to be making a grocery list.)

Credibility is not gained by a sermon or song. Credibility that lends to influence others is the result of walking down the same long road – headed in the right direction.

Perhaps you have  a story of someone who did not have credibility and tried to lead people.  Without divulging names share the outcome and what could have been done different.

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Some Tough Questions about Church! What Makes a Great Church?

This excerpts the opening chapter to If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me!

The sub-title is “If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me . . . What Kind of Church Would This Church Be?”


Do you wonder what Jesus thinks of the church?  I mean it is His church?  Does He like what we did with it today?  He must have been pleased with much of what happened through the book of Acts – everything was not perfect for sure, but there was little loss of intent or objective.  His measures of kingdom expansion seemed to remain with them . .  now to the earlier writing:


The sands of time are quickly passing through the hourglass. Even if Jesus does not come soon, our time is still short because this is a dying generation.

We must bend our shoulder to the wheel. It is not over-dramatizing the matter to say:

The world’s hope

Your community’s hope

That of your co-worker

Family member

Neighbor and friend…


…Is to be reconciled to God.  God has chosen you as a minister of reconciliation.  Jesus has called you to a service of reconciliation.

We are bit players or perhaps stagehands on the stage of time and eternity; but even a bit player “plays a bit.” The starring role is already filled and has been well-played. Jesus Christ, God manifest in flesh, paid supreme sacrifice to reclaim you, your co-worker, family member, neighbor and friend from eternity’s pawn shop.

The main part is taken – but wait – the play is not yet ended.  God’s plan involves a thing so familiar as to become sadly contemptuous to some – the church.      Ask a thousand people to define “church” and diverse definitions will unfold; even among those who attend a church regularly.

One person may point to an architectural masterpiece; ask another about church and one might say, “We have church at 10 A.M. on Sunday.”  Ask about church and the answer may be, “I was raised Southern Baptist.”  Chamber of Commerce personnel might respond, “We have 227 churches in our city.”

And answers keep coming – church:


Social involvement

Kids programs

Youth activity

Stuff about church! Sort of a rough start here isn’t it?  Let’s make it even more complicated.

What distinguishes one church from another, even in congregations holding the same doctrines on almost every meaningful matter?  What makes a church a “good” church? Why should people want to call the church you attend their church?  Why would someone who visits Sunday want to return?

Some would answer—because this is where people can be saved.  Nothing excuses a multitude of bad practices.

Many of the reasons why we call this “home” are based on preference.

A good church has a full schedule.

A good church sings worship choruses.

A good church sings hymns from the red song book.

Good church because it uses drama bits.

Good church because the pastor teaches.

Good church . . . In this regard, good church is what fits my personality and preference.

Good church—The Opinion That Matters

One opinion matters most.  What does Jesus consider an outstanding church?  If the Lord graded the church I am part of on a scale of 1-10 what would it score? How does Jesus evaluate a local church?

It gives me pause – what matters to God?  As the sands of time slip away, time given to “stuff” that Jesus has no passion for are a waste. Majoring in the minors may work for some wacky brand of music – but not in the ministry of reconciliation assigned to us.

Matthew 16:19, Acts 2, and a comparision of Jerusalem with Antioch gives clues to local church greatness.  I’ll post more – but if you are interested – If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me . . .  take a look at  As always satisfaction is guaranteeed.

Now – what do you think makes a great church?

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How Can You Magnify The Significance of all Ministry

Respect is not claimed by inheritance, title or position; it is earned in the trenches of daily life. 

It is easy for a person in places of spiritual influence to do things that diminish the significance of their own servant-leadership and all who serve in similar roles.  It is wise to constantly magnify the ministry – to hold each other in high regard and behave in ways where we ourselves are above reproach.  How can we do it?


  • Respect its importance. No irreverent man dare preach the gospel. This is expressed in Paul’s question, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Doing God’s work as a preacher of the gospel is not just a career choice.


  • Be thankful you are allowed to be in ministry. Paul said, “I thank Christ Jesus my Lord for that He hath enabled me, putting me into this ministry.” Be thankful for those you lead. It concerns me when preachers besmirch the people they serve. Ministry is not simply about preaching . . . it is about people. Magnify the office by serving people.


  • Our office is magnified by study. Prepare yourself – constantly be preparing, studying, gathering materials, filing things away for a different day. We are to be diligent to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Paul was a student. He not only quoted the Old Testament but was conversant enough with Greek philosophers that he quoted them with accuracy. He magnified the ministry through study.


  • To magnify your office, wholly do it. That is ministry is not one thing among many things. Paul said, “This one thing I do.” No hobby, no secondary career, nothing should ever get in the way of magnifying the ministry. Sell your life out completely to His great commission.


  • Magnify the office by regarding what God has committed to you as being more important than any other position or role. It is a seductive thing to yield to selfishness in making decisions as to where one should preach and what he should preach. It is easy to preach for response and to cause people to say, “Wasn’t that great!” But that’s not the calling.  The one place the words “called” and “preach” are in close proximity in the Bible is when Paul said he was “called to preach the gospel” in Macedonia.  Called to declare the good news!  Be a herald of good news!


  • Magnify the office by continually renewing your consecration. Ministry and dealing with people is draining so constantly renew yourself  through prayer and study.


  • Magnify the ministry by lifting up other preachers. It has been said, “A rising tide lifts all ships.”  When one speaks well of another that creates a rising tide. Mutual honor increases the significance of the “office.” Elders you magnify the ministry as you invest yourself in the process of mentoring younger preachers.

What have you done today that will magnify the ministry?

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If You Can’t Define It, You Probably Aren’t Doing It!

Define Our culture has minimized much that has to do with Christianity. These days, your call adds little credibility to how others perceive you. As you know some church people want a “preacher” but not a “pastor.”  There is a difference between the two.  We’re going to try to define it. I can be “clergy” as contrasted to being a “man of God.” I may want a clergy tag on the car, but not the “man of God” mantle on my life. Paul understood the need to validate his role as a God-called Christian leader. “When I speak to you Gentiles,” Paul wrote, “I magnify mine office if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh.”  (Romans 11:13-14) There are several facets to this particular matter of intentionally defining God’s call.

 Define The Office

Instill in your mind the fact that the work of the ministry is official. What we do is an office in every sense of the word. The definition of office is: “A special duty, trust, charge, or position, conferred by authority for a public purpose.”

Note the elements of an office: duty, trust, or a special charge. It is conferred by authority to benefit a larger public. The office to which Paul referred has a sacred trust and God Himself confers it. God used several terms to designate His called leaders. These terms not only indicate an office but suggest the duties.

  • Shepherd – A shepherd leads the flock; seeks the wandering; feeds the sheep; and heals the hurting.  Caring for the sheep consumes the shepherd’s life. As one writer put it, a shepherd has the smell of the sheep.
  • Bishop – This refers to an overseer. An overseer has special duties and authority. He directs the labors of others. However, lest we revel in a position of oversight be mindful that authority includes the weight of responsibility. Football coach Vince Lombardi observed that when his team won, “The team did it, but when we lose I take the blame. It’s my fault. I had a poor game plan and made poor decisions.” In a similar way, as a bishop, one has to accept responsibility.

Define Your Responsibility

There is a responsibility laid on a preacher that does not rest on any other member of His church.  Get clear on what you are to do .  . define it and do it.  Don’t worry about the things that don’t fit in the definition.  I encourage you to be who and what God called and equipped you to be.  The Science of Shepherding

What do you see as some incorrect expectations other have on you? . . . or perhaps we put them on ourselves.

You Wouldn’t Want An Ostrich for Your Mama


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PLOWING – A Church Planter’s Prayer Ministry!

MinistrySomething . . . anything . . . something . . . anything.  No Christian of even the youngest faith can fret over a “call to prayer.”  I’ve said for years that new church plants had two ministries, “get ’em here” and “keep ’em here.”  I’ve added a third ministry – “pray it here!”  For those who are going to sing in a service, or serve as hostesses welcoming the new people – surely you can convey to them the importance of God’s help.  You can seek and find God’s help in prayer.  You can seal them on it. Of course, you have to be there too – this time, next time and every time.  If church starts at 10:00 make it simple – have these key people meet you for prayer at 9:30 – pray 15 minutes and then get them to speaking faith about their expectation of the service.

The Ministry: The Prayer Program Begins With You

Virginia Church Planter Travis Worthington recently said it was a great joy was seeing people in their baby church learn to pray.  The only way he is seeing them learn to pray is if they are seeing and hearing him pray; and the church planter is giving them instruction in prayer.  You can develop praying people – even out of brand new people. It is what you expose them too.  Do they hear you pray? Do they see you pray? “Preacher, no pray lot; people, no pray little!” Start working prayer times into your gatherings and make them simple but push people to join in praying for someone else.  You are equipping them.

Pray With Purpose

Heaven waits on prayers – a little one with a vial full of the prayers of the saints holds heaven in abeyance to the point that at what would seem to be a busy time, the strongest angels in God’s arsenal were on hold.  Thirty minutes.  Pray with the purposeful sense that your prayer will affect things and will do so quickly.


Get your Church Plant Prayer Program started

  • You have to be there at any prayer meeting yourself, your spouse needs to be there.
  • Start with Conveience – pray 15 minutes before church starts.  Emphasize that service participants had to pray!  “No pray, no Play” – not the drums or keyboard.
  • As time goes forward the prayer will affect the service in a powerful way.  When that happens toss out the suggestion of expanding this prayer for fifteen minutes.
  • Start with sustainability.  If you cannot keep it going, then it will be a learning experience clothed in the garments of failure.
  • Enter the prayer program knowing you will need to vary the approach at times, whether it is you to sometimes direct it, other times the prayer time is quieter, on occasion very intense.  Emotion is not the objective – answered prayer is the objective.
  • Make prayer, real prayer time an expected part of each church service.

What are some things you have seen work to establish a sustainable prayer ministry in a church plant?

Carlton L. Coon Sr.

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