Do You Want to Be an Influencer? Start With a Smile!

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Youth discussion club talks about how best to influence others for Jesus.

“Live and Influence” was the name of the meeting of a WhatsApp youth discussion club, organized in the Kuntsevskaya and Odintsovo communities outside Moscow, Russia, on November 16, 2019. Meeting participants — young people and teenagers, members of Pathfinders clubs across several Moscow communities — were accommodated at tables with refreshments.

The question posed to the discussion club members concerned how to exert a good influence on the people around them, and how to capture the attention of others with their faith in God.

Guest speakers were Ruslan Larin, a business coach who worked as a top manager of several leading Russian companies, and Svyatoslav Muzychko, one of the ministerial leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Moscow area. 

Influencers and Trend Makers

Influencers are opinion leaders, as they communicate with the public through social networks and gather their group of fans who follow their example, guest speakers emphasized. Moreover, they are familiar with their followers. Trend makers advertise goods and services, travel and healthy lifestyle items, and much more. Most important, they teach by example.

Speakers explained that modern consumers trust less in magazine and TV advertising and more in recommendations of respected people.

“It turns out that any person can become an influencer,” they said. “It means, among other things, that any believer can also become one.” What can a believer possibly talk about? According to the speakers, about his or her experience of faith and lifestyle, hobbies and friends, books they read, about trips and family, and his or her local church.

“Other people will believe the trend maker only if he or she is sincere,” Muzychko emphasized. He then shared two stories from his life experience about influence — one negative and another one positive. In the first case, a person whose behavior was contrary to his stated beliefs tried to exert a good influence on a teenager but failed. Words without behaviors to back them up did not convince the young man, he said. The second was about a believing student who made friends with an unbelieving classmate and once volunteered to help his family. The kindness and selflessness of the believer turned out to be more convincing than his words, and his classmate eventually turned to God.

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