Here is the thing about making an impact: You can’t do it by yourself.
The truth is you were never intended to. As an impact maker, you are meant to unleash others. You were meant to pass the baton.
The concept of passing the baton or unleashing others is not new. Even Jesus, who most certainly did not need our help, modeled the concept of unleashing others in his ministry.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called twelve men to follow him. He called them, lead them, and taught them everything He knew. Towards the end of His time on earth, He shared that He would be leaving them. The disciples were dismayed. They were worried.
Then Jesus shared with them the reason He was leaving.
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done,
and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
~ John 14:12 NLT
Jesus left so that they could do greater works.
Can you imagine such a thing?
Greater works than the God of the Universe had done? Greater than feeding five thousand with a child’s brown bag lunch? Greater than making the blind see and the lame walk? Greater than raising the dead? Greater than changing lives and hearts and all of history?
Yes, greater works. And all because He passed he baton.
Jesus promise began to unfold early one morning. Acts 2 tells us that the men others who believed were gathered in prayer in a small upper room when the unleashing happened. The Holy Spirit came like wind and fire. Pentecost broke out. Greater works happened that very day.
The Church built on the foundation of Christ grew by two thousand that day. More than any room could hold.
That was only the beginning.
Peter unleashed others again and again. He taught and mentored John Mark, the boy who created potentially disastrous waves in the early church. Within a year of Peter’s death, John Mark penned the Gospel of Mark.
That message, has been passed down generation after generation. It still changes lives, and yet at times we look around and ask about the greater works. Are the greater things still promised in our generation? Are we still called to unleash others?
Yes. They do, and yes, we are.
Consider how this trail of influencers, men who passed the baton of the Gospel on to others, created even greater works than those at Pentecost:
Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball, led Dwight L. Moody to Christ.
D. L. Moody helped J. Wilbur Chapman receive confident assurance of his salvation.
Chapman influenced young evangelist, Billy Sunday during the beginning of his career.
Billy Sunday invited Mordecia Ham to attend one of his meetings and encouraged him to hold meetings of his own.
Mordecia Ham shared the gospel at one such meeting. A young teenage boy named Billy Graham responded to the invitation to receive Christ as his Savior.
Billy Graham preached the message of salvation at over 400 crusades, and over 3.2 MILLION people responded to the call to salvation.
Billy Graham preached the same message Jesus preached two thousand years ago; the same message the disciples preached at Pentecost; the same message John Mark penned in his Gospel; the same message Peter passed on to him.
When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the pace of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. ~ Mark 16:19 NLT
And the trail of influence continues on. One of the people who heard Billy Graham was my son, Andy Patton. Although already a believer, Andy was moved by the message.
Andy and his friend, Nicolas, two first graders, held their own crusade the next day on the playground. Andy preached salvation from the top of the slide. Nicolas led the young crowd in an altar call singing Just As I Am.
There on a dusty school playground in Indianapolis, Jesus’ promise for greater things was fulfilled, for it was through Billy Graham’s Indianapolis Crusade and the ministry of his Pop Pop that a first grader named Andy discovered that more than anything else he wanted to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his peers.
Impact is not about you carrying the load. It is not about your glory. It is not about you going it alone.
It is about making a difference, teaching others, and then passing the baton. It is about letting others carry on the message while you run behind, cheering them on.
I’m curious. Who unleashed you? Leave a comment. Tell me your story.