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One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is not one you would expect. It’s not about God lifting us up on eagles wings, or how we can do all things through Christ. It’s not very flashy. It’s nobody’s “life verse.”

But it is incredibly important for each of us.

It’s 1 Corinthians 12:14-26.

This passage is famous for its imagery. This is the passage in which Paul compares the church to a human body. The church, like the body, is composed of diverse parts that play diverse roles. Although some parts seem more important than others–such as the head or the leg–every part has an important role to play.

Even the weakest or most humble parts, they matter. Without them, the body would be crippled.

Now, I’m gonna level with you–I don’t think most people get what Paul was saying. Not really. And I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with it. If I really grasped what Paul was saying, I wouldn’t be so tempted to envy other people’s gifts, or to model myself after people who are more successful.

If I truly grasped the power of 1 Corinthians 12, I would focus solely on becoming who God created me to be.

Granted, some parts of the body are more visible than others. Paul also implies that some gifts are stronger or weaker than others. For instance, I think we can all agree that Andy Stanley is a better teacher than I’ll ever be.

But that doesn’t change the fact that God created me for a very specific purpose that no other person can fill.

And if I am not filling that purpose, then the Body of Christ will hobble.

cover-hardThat is one of the central arguments of Jenni Catron’s brand new book Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-given Influence. Jenni defines “clout” as “the influence that God has given to you and to no one else.” Whether you lead a church, run a business, or stay home raising kids, God has given you a particular kind of influence that He designed just for you.

The question is, are you using it?

In this book, Jenni looks at the 7 “clout killers” that sabotage our influence–fear, comparison, jealousy, scarcity, insecurity, pride, and control. Then she shares the 4 “clout cultivators” that can help us maximize our influence: discovering your identity, developing your confidence, defining your mission, and determining your passion.

There are a couple things that I really appreciate about this book.

The first is Jenni’s transparency. I first met Jenni a few years ago, and she is one of those people who exudes leadership. She originally worked in Nashville’s music industry, but left the corporate world to become the Executive Director of Cross Point Church, where she’s pretty much been rocking it for the last 9 years.

Jenni is a natural leader who seems to have it all together. So you can imagine my surprise when she wrote that, of all the clout killers she struggles with, insecurity is the greatest. I was so relieved to read her words, because insecurity is my biggest clout killer as well. It’s something I wrestle with all the time, and this book helped me to think through it.

Second, this isn’t your typical leadership book. Jenni hones in on the important element of influence, which is something we all have. This isn’t just a book for pastors and teachers, but for every member of the Body of Christ. Wherever God has called you to exercise influence, this book speaks into it. And not simply in a how-to kind of way, but by examining the spiritual core of influence, and the sins that trip us up.

For those reasons and many more, I am so pleased to be hosting a BOOK GIVEAWAY for Clout! If you’d like a free copy of this book, you can enter the drawing by answering this question in the comments section below:

Where do you feel called to exercise your influence?

Even if I wasn’t giving away books, this is an excellent question to ask yourself. How often does life carry you away like a ship in a storm, without any time to reflect on where you’re going or what you’re called to do?

If you’re like me, it’s so easy to get distracted from this core question, so I hope you’ll pause to consider it. And I also hope you’ll check out this book – I am so grateful to Jenni for writing it!

I’ll be drawing the winners on Friday, January, 24th.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.59.09 PMSharon




  • Leigh Kramer says:

    This sounds like something I might need to read. Jealousy and insecurity are my biggest struggles and I can directly see how they’re holding me back in a few areas. But they’re especially interfering with the book proposal I’ve been working on for a year and a half. I believe in the message I’ve been given but I keep getting tripped up on the other stuff!

  • Emily says:

    Feel called to influence: as a nurse (to my colleagues, the profession of nursing, my patients, and their families), as a mommy, as a wife of an engineer (specifically to encourage him in his gifts of creating things and dreaming of how to create for the glory if god), as a friend to influence others in their faith thru loving but direct and truthful conversations that are not always easy, to the refugee community to be a help to them and example of Christ to them.

  • Alyson says:

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog since I found it several months ago. It challenges me, yet encourages me as well.
    In general terms, I feel called to exercise my influence wherever I am, work, church, home. More specifically, I lead our women’s group at church and my husband leads the youth group. Those are two groups that I am currently called to minister to and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. And finally, after much prayer I started a blog. It’s still in the beginnings, but I believe there is an influence I have there. And thanks to your last post, I feel challenged to speak the truth of the Gospel and not only offer encouragement.

    Thanks again for blogging and also for the giveaway!

  • Madelyn Crawley says:

    I would love to read this book. I feel like right now, as a college student, that I am called to influence girls (preteen-teen) in a teaching type of setting. I have felt a “holy discontent” where I’m at and am exploring different opportunities as they come. I battle insecurity as well and the feeling of inadequacy has held me back for a while now from fulfilling this “calling”. Praying that the Lord would bring about the right opportunity and that I would be faithful in following his lead despite my hesitations.

  • Morgan says:

    I feel called most to influence my husband in the current season as we both have multiple struggles going on but my fear and anger towards God and circumstances holds me back big time.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I feel called to exercise my influence as a teacher. The politics in public schools sound scary and awful, and I want to be sure I keep my focus always on the children. I want to make sure others know this, too. I am really hoping to get my hands on this book. 🙂

  • Mechelle says:

    Interesting subject Sharon, and thank you for posting this. Interestingly enough, I find myself running from my call to influence–all the time. I feel like I’m not qualified or good enough, but I feel God calling me nonetheless. I currently feel God has called me to exercise my influence at work and with my family and friends.

  • Mallory says:

    Right now I feel called and have answered the call to exercise my influence on behalf of young adults with intellectual disabilities. It has been a huge blessing to finally feel like I “fit in” where God has called me and where I want to be at the same time! It makes working 70+ hour weeks fly by. I’d love to read this book, especially as I live in Nashville and attend Cross Point!

    • Andrew Van Leerdam says:

      Mallory, I have worked with Adults with intellectual disabilities for years and I find the evenings whirl by. As Hugh Halter says, ” I looked over the wall at my son who has intellectual disabilities, and I get a glimpse of heaven.”

  • Carol J. Marshall says:

    Thanks for this post Sharon. I am ordering the book right away. As a woman in her 50s I see that our arenas of influence change in different stages of life; those kinds of transitions are not always easy or maybe not even obvious at first. I’m excited to read this book and contemplate what God is doing in my own life and in the lives of others I am close to. An upcoming Women’s Theology Conference at Trinity explores the theme of Purpose. I see this idea as very much connected to the topic of influence. Important things for God’s people to contemplate and pray over.

  • Andrew Van Leerdam says:

    My influence is with our dwindling church and teaching the members what discipleship is all about: learning to live in
    relationship. My influence is with 5 couples just ready to be unleashed in their
    communities and say, “God you are ready to give me Joy in the morning” Psalm 30

  • Mae Lynn Ziglar says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. I struggle with insecurity as a mom by constantly comparing myself to other moms.
    I feel called to exercise my influence with my husband and children as well as my co-workers and the patients I work with.
    Thanks again!

  • Linda says:

    I struggle with this a lot. I suffer with chronic pain and have to spend my days in bed, away from others. While there I wonder at how God wants me to bring him glory. I feel so useless just lying there. I have two children and I fear I have produced insecurity in them because I can’t always be there for them. The only ones I can influence are those closest to me. Lord, use my weakness to show your strength.

    • Sheila says:

      My sphere of influence is on 2 widely different age groups–serving my elderly motherly and teaching piano to my grandchildren. It doesn’t always “feel” like ministry, but I feel the Holy Spirit with me during these times. After all, we don’t have a “secular life” and a “spiritual life.” The presence of God is with us and in us always.

    • Jeff says:

      Linda, I can hear the pain in your post. I haven’t any eloquent words that will help you. All I can say is that I feel your frustration, loneliness, concern for your kids, and love for God, am sad with you.

  • Casey says:

    Hi Sharon,
    This books sounds awesome. I feel like I am called to partner and influence my husband’s business that we are trying to build. I thought I was going to attend law school in my younger days and now I am currently working on my MBA. I think it’s so amazing how everything in life just fits like a puzzle at times, and the greater picture is sometimes revealed later. I would love to read this book! I think I hold myself back from so much potential with insecurity and sometimes fear. Your blog is awesome!

  • Lisa says:

    I feel called to influence others in all of my relationships. In the last year I have moved from working in a Christian based non-profit to the “secular” workforce. I have learned so much in the last year about how God views my daily ministry to others…wherever I work.

  • Ashleigh says:

    I feel like as my realm of influence is growing when it comes to the places I write, I also need to maintain a good balance of making sure I’m faithful in the influence I’ve been given at home with my husband and kids. I’m finding it can be a tricky, but important balance to maintain. This book sounds like a great read!

  • Jenni Catron says:

    Sharon, love you so much. Thank you for using your influence to share this book.
    To all of you who have commented, thank you for sharing how God is using your influence – be encouraged!

  • Priscilla says:

    I am wanting to read this book. I have recently moved to a different area of Canada and don’t know anyone yet. So my area is in relationships with the people God places in my life!

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