What does it mean to become an authority figure?
In every field of life there are a group of “experts” who others regard as the leaders. Think of a favorite hobby or pastime that you have –for example, something I enjoy is homesteading. When I think of an authority figure or “expert” in that subject, Carla Emery immediately comes to mind (The author of Encyclopedia of Country Living).
Carla is considered an “authority” in the field of homesteading. She knows her stuff and speaks out with confidence and expertise. If I ever have a question about gardening or raising livestock, I know I can find the answer in her book. Why?
- She has practical hands-on knowledge that only comes from living that lifestyle.
- Her subject has been well researched. She knows what other people have said and is current with the subject matter.
- She has been writing on this subject for a long time. Her book was first published in 1970 and is continually being revised and updated (There are over 10 editions of the book).
The main point to take away from this is that I have a reliable source of knowledge that I can go to when I have a problem or question.
Can you be an authority figure for Jesus?
If you could be the source of knowledge and comfort that people turn to when they have issues, would you? Hopefully your answer would be a resounding YES!
I hope you already know that Christians are supposed to be a light in darkness and the salt of the earth (Mathew 5:13,16) so here are 5 practical tips to establish yourself as an authority figure for Jesus.
- It starts small
You don’t begin by plastering your Facebook profile with Bible verses and cheesy graphics. In fact, I would say you shouldn’t because you run the risk of losing credibility. It begins with wisdom from above (James 3:17). Before you share immature content, apply your God-give wisdom and consider if what you are about to share is wise. What you share on Facebook becomes other people’s impression of your character.
When you comment on posts or write messages, consider what you’re about to say. Does it carry a subtle message of wisdom or of foolishness?
Everything you do shapes people’s view of you. It’s as if we all carry around a mental rating list in our head and when we see the actions of other people we either up vote or down vote them on our list.
- Know your turf
If you’re walking in Biblical wisdom then your friends and the people around you are now subconsciously “up voting” you in their minds. You need to make sure that you know your turf. Any true expert knows his subject inside and out. How well do you know your Bible? Are you familiar with what God’s Word has to say about abortion, anger or depression? If you want to be an authority then you should be intimately familiar with the precepts of his Word.
- Be a standard bearer
The authority in any market either knows or sets the standards. We have our standard already defined for us in God’s Word—now we just need to apply it.
- If a friend is struggling with depression or has just lost a loved one, we can speak Words of comfort and healing.
- Posting God-honoring content that incites discussion will help solidify your position as an authority.
- Absence can speak louder than words. Refraining from foolishness and vain discussions will maintain the standard that you are working to set.
There is a time to be bold and speak the Truth, when you do, make sure that you-
- Speak with authority
Cut weak words out of your vocabulary like “I think,” “it seems” or “I believe.” Stating something plainly and factually sounds a lot better than unsure weak statements. Speak with confidence. You’ve got the Truth and it’s the best message in the world! You don’t have to be unsure of it. God’s truth is bigger than whatever reality you are feeling.
- Be honest
Let’s face it, you can never know your subject (The Bible) completely. It is the deepest book ever written and will continue to reveal new truths even when you’re old and grey. So don’t pretend that you know something you don’t. If you don’t know the answer then be honest and say so! If you’re wrong about something then acknowledge it and make adjustments. People respect honesty.
As a bonus here is unlisted #6. It doesn’t fit anywhere in my nice 5 point outline but I thought I’d throw it in because it is an interesting point to ponder:
“The sign of a true authority is not that they’re the smartest person in a conversation. It’s that they’re making the conversation. They ask scary questions about subjects no one else will dare to bring up. They challenge the status quo and are vocal about what they believe in. You won’t find them rehashing what everyone else is saying or regurgitating bits of fluff they heard from the next guy.”