Jerry Wiles on The Stewardship of Influence: A Learning Journey

Belin Chapel in the Cultural Arts Center at HBU

We all have influence on other people, whether we realize it or not.  We are all influenced by others, in more ways than we might be aware of.  Many of the influences in our lives are out of our control. However, we certainly can control many of them by our choices of who we read, listen to or spend time with.

A New Worldview

One of the major influences in my own life was my time in the United States Air Force.  My worldview was shaped (or reshaped) in significant ways by serving in Southeast and South Central Asia, and traveling in more than 30 countries during my four year enlistment.  I have often quipped that it was a great discovery that the rest of the world is very different than North Arkansas, where I grew up.

A New Perspective on the Kingdom of God

Beginning in the late 1970s I became involved in international and interdenominational ministry and mission activities, and traveled extensively throughout the world.  It was another journey of discovering that the Kingdom of God is much bigger than the Southern Baptist Convention.  Both of those were very beneficial and life changing influences and experiences.

A Journey in Academia 

During the Jesus Movement in the early 1970s, as a college student, I had a summer job selling books door-to-door with The Southwestern Company (now Southwestern Advantage).  Over a period of five years of selling, recruiting and managing other students, I learned a lot about meeting and dealing with all kinds of people.  Many other lessons from those days have been beneficial in my ministry and mission experiences.  While recruiting students on more than 60 college and university campuses in 12 different states, I noticed considerable spiritual activities on a few of the campuses.  That season was later identified at the Jesus Movement, although we didn’t think of it in way at the time.  However, it was a ripple of revival and spiritual renewal that had major influence and impact on my life and many others.

One of the many people the Lord used to influence my life during my Southwestern days, and later got to know personally, was Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.  He often said, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things, the people you meet and … The Books You Read.”  If he were alive today, he might include a few other methods of learning and communicating.

Wisdom from Godly Leaders

It was a significant part of my learning journey during the 1980s to spend a considerable amount of time in Washington D.C.  I had the privilege of meeting and hearing the United States Senate Chaplain at the time, Dr. Richard Halverson.  I remember well him talking about how most of us in the USA have more than enough of everything, while many around the world do not have enough of anything.  He was a great influence on so many and had much wisdom to share.  It was Henrietta Mears who had a significant influence on him and several prominent leaders from that era.

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SOURCE: Assist News