Clay Finklea

Clay Finklea

Lead This Gen Pastor

The Danger Of Influence

Hello beautiful people! It is good to be back on that #bloglife. The past two weeks I have been consumed by camp. It was incredible, it was powerful, it was amazing. We had over 250 people join us at This Gen Camp this summer, 400 if you include kids camp from earlier this summer. We have seen about 12 baptisms come out of it, a lot of first time decisions, and re-dedications. I am really proud and thankful for our church to be able to pull this off.

I’ve missed this blog though. This is an insight to what’s going on in my mind often as I do my personal connect time. Hopefully, it has impacted you in a positive way as you continue this quest journey. I know it’s been fantastic for me to get it all out! Today is no different. God’s word and the Quest book have a way of continually challenging me by challenging my thinking.

One way that I was pushed deeper this week was through reflection on what I do in ministry. To be transparent with you – I, along with others on staff here at The Rock, am in a really strange spot. Most of our ministry, growth, worship, learning is done from a position where others can see exactly what we are doing. I have chosen a very public calling. I’m under a microscope where everyone can see whether I’ve been in my word by how I break down a text during a sermon, if I am at a get-together I get asked to pray often, and if I am out in public people notice how I as a staff member of a Church interact with others. It’s a fascinating thing because it forces me to be on my game as much as I can be. Are there still mistakes? Yes absolutely, none of us are perfect, but I avoid them the best that I can.

The public aspect certainly is a weird one because it’s something that I think of often. Sometimes it can feel as though I am a character in a live broadway show where people are watching and I got to have my movements, my lines, and my deposition right otherwise it ruins the experience for other people.

And that right there is a dangerous place to be in.

Unfortunately, far too many people find themselves in it. People will get to a position where they feel they have to play the part in front of people to gain their praise, appreciation, and approval. That feeling produces a faith that is fake. I have found when faith is fake a fall follows. You have probably seen those people before in your life who on the outside look like they have it all together, but deep down they are a mess. At a certain point, the whole thing will crumble and it falls apart because they are doing it for the glory of themselves and the approval of others. It’s painful to watch because people get hurt.

I’m urging you to have a real, authentic faith that is about one thing and one thing only. God.

That’s what religious duties like offerings, prayers, fasting, serving, worshiping, preaching, reading scripture is about. I said I have a very public faith, it’s just the nature of my job. I want you to know my goal is to do those things not because I want to glorify myself, but because I want to gain a deeper understanding of who God is and glorify him in every area of my life.

I hope that’s your goal as well.
This is where I want to flip the script and challenge you in this moment.

You may not be in a public position exactly like me, but you are in a position where people can see you and your actions. It might be at your job, in the classroom, on the practice field, in the band room, in the locker room, at the gym, or at a restaurant. No matter where you are – you have a public platform to glorify God with your actions. You can make a difference.

People are paying closer attention than you think. Just because you aren’t on a stage or you are without a microphone doesn’t mean you don’t have a message to proclaim. We all have influence over somebody. So use it! Serve, worship, pray, fast, give, preach, read. It’s all there for you. Do these things, but don’t fall into the trap that is so easy to fall into. You’ll notice that it will be easy to do it for show, don’t do it to impress other people with how faithful you are. Do it to show God how much faith you have in, in him.

A great example of this for me was when I went to Taylor University, a Christian College in Indiana, my favorite thing to laugh at was guys who would invite girls to breakfast to do a “bible study” together.

Now let me ask you…. Do you think those guys really wanted to do a bible study with those girls or do you think they were trying to impress them and take them on a date without the fear of actually asking them out?

That’s religious duties for the wrong reasons. So what do you do from here?
Let’s go back to the scripture Matthew 6:1, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds

publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”

Whenever you are doing anything, ask yourself who you are doing it for. Too many times, we are trying to do things for the approval of others. That’s why we have so many people with self-image issues. They are going to the wrong source for approval! If you want to change how you feel, keep your head down, glorify God, gain a deeper understanding of who he is, and then see what happens.

Our religious duties and our lives aren’t about us and what we can gain from them. The interesting thing is when we do choose a life where the focus is on God not us, when it’s not about the public’s opinion and noticing, our lives are radically affected for the better. We have better self-esteem, better self-worth, we are less hypocritical, and we feel more at peace.

Why? Because we made it about him.