GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins explains keys to influential leadership

GuideStone President and CEO O.S. Hawkins speaks on influential leadership in a March 3 chapel message at Southern Seminary. (Emil Handke/SBTS)A “very influential person” can shape a lasting legacy, said Southern Baptist leader O.S. Hawkins in a March 3 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

"The world has a way of forgetting those folks who deemed themselves important people, but it has a long memory when it comes to remembering those who have influenced our lives,” said Hawkins, president and chief executive officer of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Preaching from 2 Corinthians 10:13-18, Hawkins said the Apostle Paul was concerned with the areas of influence God gives his people. Hawkins redefined the commonly used acronym “VIP” with “very influential person.”

Based on his new book, "VIP," Hawkins explained that influence comes from a person with vision, integrity and purpose.

“Vision is vital if you are going to be a person of influence. People are influenced by others who know where they are going and how they are going to get there,” he said.

Abraham is an example of a person of vision; although he had no children, he held on to God’s promise that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars. It was this vision that gave him influence, Hawkins said.

While vision gives a person direction, integrity demonstrates a person’s core.

“Paul was a person of integrity,” Hawkins said. The apostle’s “burning desire for having this influence and having it greatly enlarged to lands beyond was for one simple reason: That the Gospel might be proclaimed, which ought to be the center characteristic of everything we do and every area and aspect of life.”

Hawkins said a person’s integrity is revealed in public, reinforced in the professional landscape, reflected in interpersonal relationships, but is rooted in the private world.

Describing the architecture of towering skyscrapers, Hawkins said the structure of the building can be viewed above the ground, but the foundation is key.

“Beyond all that gleaming glass and all that steel and all that beauty of the magnificent lines of the architecture, down below the ground, deeply imbedded in that rock, is a foundation that’s solid, that enables that building to stand with structural integrity,” he said.

The final aspect of a person of influence is purpose, Hawkins said, which motivates leaders in their calling. Referring back to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Hawkins described the phrase “area of influence” as a lane used in a track race. Christians are assigned a lane in order to run their Christian life.

“You’ve received a ministry from the Lord, and with that ministry He has assigned to you an area of influence. This is what brings dignity to that calling,” he said. ”No matter where you serve, you’re just as vital to His Kingdom work as anyone else because He has assigned an area of influence to you.”

Audio and video of Hawkins’ message are available online at sbts.edu/resources.

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