I take my role as a pastor seriously. That doesn’t mean I don’t have fun. If you know me, you know that’s true. However, it does mean that when it comes to dealing with people on a spiritual level, I know it’s nothing to be taken lightly.

I recently talked to a girl who started coming to Awaken who has had a hard time getting back into church since her last experience at another church. She and the rest of the church had trusted their pastor for years, but he let temptation get to him, and eventually had to step out of ministry.

That’s tough. It happens far too often within ministry.

The problem is, we often don’t feel the earth-shaking impact that tragic events like that have on others. Sometimes, whether you’re a pastor/ministry leader or not, we fail to recognize the impact that we have on others.

As I talked with her, I realized this sobering reality: If I were ever to fall into sin, and have to step out of ministry, I could have a tragic, long-lasting impact on many people and their faith in Jesus.

No wonder James writes…

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” – James 3:1

That really shook me. As a pastor, I know that I’m in a place of public influence, but to recognize how that could severely damage someone’s faith drove me to prayer. I asked God for forgiveness for taking my calling lightly at times, and for His sustaining strength to take me through temptations and keep me loyal to Him.

This isn’t just for pastors, though.

We ALL influence someone. As Christians, the world is constantly watching us, waiting for us to fail…and we all will, at times. Our goal, however, should be to live lives that drive people closer to Jesus. We forget that…

as we suffer, people are watching;

as God blesses, people are watching;

as we work, people are watching;

as we socialize, people are watching.

Day in and day out, we have an audience all around us that is very impressionable. Don’t take it for granted. Influence others for Jesus.