Everyone leading in a ministry position has at least one thing in common; they must have influence over the people they are leading. Whether you are leading children, students, adults, or senior adults, if you are truly leading you must have influence over that particular group of people. Influence is not something that is just handed to you when you receive a title or position. Influence is something that you must earn and build over the months and years that you lead in that role. While there are many facets to leading and many ways to build influence, one sure way to build it is through a history of success.

Imagine you are in high school and you have a Biology midterm approaching. You hear rumors that everyone in your class is partnering up and forming study groups. Do you want to be with a group of people who have received A’s on their past assignments or with a group of people who have failed them (but promises that next time they’ll do better)? Anyone who honestly wanted to succeed would choose to study with someone who has passed with flying colors. People don’t want to follow people who consistently fail. It’s like boarding a plane with a broken wing. You know you’re going down, it’s just a matter of when.

In the book, Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader, by Dr. Phil Pringle, he says, “Successful people hold influence, while those who fail don’t. Generally speaking, leadership is gained and kept because of success. Failure quickly erodes whatever respect a leader once commanded” (51). This is not only true in the “secular world,” but it is also true in ministry. We must make a practice of success, whatever it takes, in order to preserve our influence with those involved in our ministries.

“But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.” Ecclesiastes 9:16 (ESV)

So what can you do to help you have success during that next meeting, trip, or event? This week I will be unpacking this question, but perhaps you already have some ideas! Leave your thoughts/comments in the comment section below!

Pringle, Phil. (2007). Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader. Tulsa: Harrison House Publishers.

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.


  1. As far as with ministry, I’d say one area to be ‘successful’ in is to follow through on promises, and not to overextend yourself and make the youth see you as flaky. (i.e. ice cream night, fun trips, one-on-one hang out time) Although you might feel like you are under promising or not putting yourself out there enough, its better to do well at what you promise than overstate your abilities and disappoint. Building trust is key. I suppose this is more of a touchy point for me, as someone who is only a voluntary ministry leader, and has 1000 other things to do that sometimes get in the way of what I’d really like to be doing with the kids.