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What Makes a Good "Influencer" ?

“The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022!”

Apparently it's a "thing", being an influencer on Instagram and some people are "killing it" ... which happens to be a good thing I am told! Funny how language changes, but also the world we live in and the way we measure success and significance, eh?

I'm not sure that when I was 15 there were anywhere near as many thoughts, values, images or people who could "get to" me and influence me for good or ill. There were only 3 channels on the TV and only one of them carried commercials ... yes, I'm that old! No such thing as the internet back then, or even computers in my world. In fact, at the age of 18 I applied for a job as a trainee computer programmer and I had never seen or touched a computer ... they still hired me though. Nowadays we are bombarded by images and messages all vying for our attention and our dollars.

I had an early interest in competitive sport and started playing table tennis because a local junior school hosted a table tennis club and I remember the guy who spent time coaching us youngsters who were starting out. I won an under-13s tournament, took home a silver rose bowl nearly the size of me, and I was hooked! But I remember how much of an influence that first coach had on me.

As an older teenager I was influenced by another older person, Will Pratt, who coached me to play squash ... just gave of his time freely and celebrated seeing me win the first handicap tournament I entered (always the best one to win before they find out how good you really are and adjust your handicap appropriately!) But rarely do we achieve things in life without the influence of numerous people, from parents and grandparents onwards! This picture is me with my grandson Theo who loved to "be with" me, doing what I was doing as an example of this ...

In the online world there are two main markers of a "killer" influencer: authenticity and engagement. A good influencer knows how to connect with their audience authentically, partnering with brands that they personally support and believe in so as not to betray the trust built up with their followers. They also foster genuine relationships with their followers, consistently interacting with them.

I think these same principles can be applied to how we might become productive influencers in the realm of the Kingdom of God with one another. This is something Carol and I have felt the Lord speaking to us about recently, and so we have been looking for opportunities to be authentic and real with people, able to speak truth in love, as well as looking for ways to engage consistently and caringly with others. All of us have such tremendous potential to be of major influence with others for the sake of God's glory. He has put a deposit within us of himself and His kingdom power and authority for such a time as this. We carry within us the light of Christ and through this light we can dispel the darkness from before us by simply shining with His love and compassion, as well as His truth.

May the Lord guide you in this, may He give you confidence to share truth in love with those who are struggling, hurting and afraid. Your life really does make a difference!

With love and prayers,

Pastor Mike.

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