Press Play – Influence Takes Multiple Connections

Who should we engage in order to become change agents?


In the past two sermons, we have seen that we are built for our assignment and that the things that God is calling us to influence are already within our sphere of operation; our homes, our work and our professions.

Three or four weeks ago property of unknown value was destroyed after fire razed stalls at Nairobi’s Gikomba market. The cause of the fire is suspected to be arson. This market is not really a well-structured market; it is just temporary structures that easily burn down when fire starts as witnessed in the past. Though perceived to be a temporary market, there are clothes and shoe vendors whose daily turnover is as high as KES 5 Million a day. This market has the potential to become a regional market generating revenue and employment worth billions.

The County Government has had a plan to construct a proper market, with good parking, security, adequate spacing and proper roads like other global markets.

Whose problem is this? Who do you think should sort out this problem?

There are quite a number of stakeholders in any given problem. For instance, the County Government, traders in Gikomba, politicians and the Kenya Revenue Authority all have stake in the Gikomba issue mentioned above. Also, there is a Nairobi Integrated Plan. These stake holders all have interests and factors that are motivating them. Every societal issue is similar to this in the sense that there are always multiple stakeholders with several interests that are in competition.

Many of our change initiatives fail miserably because we have no connections with people in positions of authority who can help us influence the situation.  The complexity of the political landscape is way beyond anyone’s ability to navigate alone. We need to realize that it is not only lonely out there; it is dangerous. Those who see your good works as a threat will find you a much easier target if you are out there by yourself. So how do we go about make the connections we will need to make change happen?

Scripture is clear that influence takes multiple connections beyond a single individual.

Acts 6:1-7

Notice that the apostles despite their stature do not try to solve the problem on their own. They turn the authority over to the congregation. In a sense when you are trying to influence a situation in society, you need to ask who has the most at stake and then work to bring them on board.

The characteristics of the seven men who were chosen that made them an effective team were that:

They had a stake in the challenge at hand.

They had power and influence.

What’s interesting is that the apostles specified who should be assigned to bring change. They didn’t say choose seven men who have nothing to do, or who have time on their hands, but choose seven men who are well respected. The seven had the authority to be taken seriously by the other members of the community. They knew who would be their allies, who would be their opponents and how to navigate through the situation.

To change society, you must answer the question who do I engage.

 Great goals are accomplished by great teams.  

In other words great goals are accomplished by people who are sufficiently connected to the people in authority who actually have what it takes to make the difference.

Who do you engage?

Find the right people: You cannot influence society without the right connections.

Develop a common goal and bear fruit.

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