A farmer places seeds in the ground and reaps a harvest. Influence works the same way. Invest time in one person, and many people are blessed. Influence is a powerful tool.
Parents – Have you noticed that children tend to follow their parent’s example? Children see the way their parents act and learn to do the same. They tend to do as parents do, not as they say! Some things are taught on purpose, such as washing dishes, and cleaning their bedroom. Other things, such as attitude and what is right or wrong, are leaned by observation. A godly parent can influence a child in a godly direction. Parents should always be aware of the powerful influence they have on their children.
Friends – Whether you like it or not, people are watching you. They observe your attitudes, your ethics, and your behavior. They notice if you are always the same or if you change depending on feelings and circumstances. By observing you, they learn if they can trust you or not. Your behavior and actions influence others.
Work – Some workers think they can fool their bosses. They work when the boss is watching, but are lazy at other times. Often the boss really knows the truth. But, for sure, the other workers know the truth! Employers tend to appreciate good, faithful, hard workers. These good workers can be trusted and promoted. Their good influence can be seen and may have the opportunity to grow.
Ministry – Experience has proven that it can be difficult to measure spiritual influence. Often spiritual influence cannot be seen until many years later. For example, teenagers may not appreciate the influence of a godly mother or Sunday School teacher. Later, as they look back on their lives, they may understand the great influence those people had on them.
Unknown Influence – Think for a minute. Name two people you do not know! Impossible, right? You do not know who you do not know. However, you can influence one person (#1). That person can influence another person (#2). That person can influence another person (#3). You may not know person #3, but your influence has reached him. Interesting! It is important to focus attention in the right direction to become the best influence possible. Future generations may fall because of bad influence, or they may rise because of good influence. You have influence. Therefore, use your influence carefully!
Personal Example – In 1990, Missionary Bob Himes (BRRM) invited me to speak at the annual Philippines deaf camps he conducts. He taught me the value of preaching simple and clear in sign language. After my first message there, he took me aside and showed me how to change my preaching to be more clear for the Deaf there. It was a humbling experience, but one I now appreciate very much. He continued to invite me back and I learned more each time. At the same time, Dr. Ted Camp (then Ranch Manager at the Bill Rice Ranch) taught me a simple, and proven method how to present the Gospel to Deaf people by progressively preaching the topics of God, Bible, Devil, Sin, Heaven, Hell, Jesus, and Salvation. In 1996, at the Philippine deaf camps, I drew pictures using the lessons learned from these two men. Upon arriving back in the United States, I created simple line art drawings on a computer and added verses on each picture. The goal was to make each picture explain itself and be very clear, so that little, if any, explanation was necessary. The result was a booklet now called, “You Can Go To Heaven!” (SWM booklet ET01)
Sowing More Seed – In 2010, SWM created a Gospel DVD presentation for distribution at the Deaflympics in Taiwan. Missionary David Bennett sent the “You Can Go To Heaven!” pictures to several missionaries. They translated them and we included them on the DVD. Today this soul-winning booklet is available in 11 languages and can be viewed or downloaded at the SWM website. These pictures are being used by missionaries, pastors, and others to witness for Christ. Recently SWM learned that Christians in India have translated this SWM booklet into 5 more languages for use in their country. Soul-winners are being trained to use this booklet to witness to both Deaf and hearing people!
Now, through their teaching, Bob Himes’ and Ted Camp’s influence reaches farther around the world!
Your Influence – God is interested in using you to influence others. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Will you let him use you today?
Pastor and deaf ministry leader, consider using this soul-winning booklet to train Deaf (and hearing) people in your church to witness to others. Order the printed booklet from SWM for $1 each, and/or download the pictures to use on your smart phone or tablet. A full Gospel presentation using this booklet is also available on the SWM DVD, “Good News for Deaf People.” More Info: SilentWord.org/goheaven