Interview with Jenni Catron: How to Discover and Unleash Your God-given Influence

I had the privilege of interviewing Jenni Catron. Jenni serves as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where she leads the staff and oversees the ministry of five campuses. Jenni has a deep heart for leadership, namely how to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same. We discussed her new book CLOUT:Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence.

Jenni Catron book CloutPaul: What inspired you to write this book on clout?

Jenni: My greatest passion is to help leaders grow.  When great leaders lead, they bring out the best in everyone around them.  However, what I was discovering in my own life and in many other leaders is that we didn’t have a healthy understand of ourselves and therefore were leading from an inauthentic and sometimes dangerous place.  Leaders need to lead themselves well to lead others better.  CLOUT is a journey to help leaders identify the things that are holding them back from leading well.

Paul: How is discovering your calling connected to discovering and unleashing your God-given clout?

Jenni: Discovering your calling is a part of unleashing your clout.  Each one of us has gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities that comprise who we are.  That collection of nuances is unique to you.  When you gain a better understanding of how those things have shaped you, you are better able to understand how you’re positioned to influence the world in a way that no one else can.  Ultimately that is your calling.

Paul: Who is someone who exemplified godly clout in your life?

Jenni: When I was a little girl I had a great uncle who taught me piano and voice.  He saw a natural ability in me to perform and he used his gifts to help develop and draw that out in me.  He also served as the pianist and music leader at our church and occasionally he would call me up on a Sunday night to sing or play a song in church.  It terrified me when he did that, but he used his influence and opportunities to help me develop my gifts.  I’m extraordinarily grateful that he was willing to make me uncomfortable to help me grow.  He saw potential in me and was deliberate to cultivate it.

Paul: In your book, you describe seven clout killers. What are one or two clout killers that come up more often for twenty-something leader?

Jenni: I would say insecurity and comparison can have significant impact in our early days of leadership.  Insecurity is the fear of not being good enough and comparison is the fear of not measuring up to others.  In our twenties we have a lot to prove as leaders so we can easily fall prey to these two clout killers.

Paul: Could you briefly explain the four clout cultivators and how you have used them to grow your clout?

Jenni: I believe we cultivate our clout by: 1) Reframing our identity, 2) Developing confidence, 3) Defining our mission and 4) Determining our passion (or calling). Reframing our identify involves understanding who we are in Christ and minimizing the voices of others.  Developing confidence begins with knowing God.  Defining our mission means gathering the pieces of our lives and seeing the pattern and purpose of them.  Determining our passion is creating a framework from which we can live out our clout in our everyday lives.

Question: What’s the best way to DISCOVER and UNLEASH your influence?

Jenni CatronJenni Catron serves as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where she leads the staff and oversees the ministry of five campuses. She loves a fabulous cup of tea, great books, learning the game of tennis and hanging out with her husband and border collie.  Jenni’s passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same. Jenni blogs at www.jennicatron.com.  Excerpts of this post are from her new book CLOUT:Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence.


  • Emery Smith

    When we see ourselves as being discipled by Jesus Himself and we see the effects of that change in practical ways, we want others to share in the joy of the journey too. Looking to share our story becomes part of our normal daily lives and not a job to do. It is no more difficult than sharing a great restaurant or an awesome movie – it just bubbles out.

    • That’s so true Emery! You’re right – it just bubbles out – not necessarily because we are forced to, but rather because we are overwhelmed by the presence of God and we want to…we know what’s it like to be a disciple of Christ and the joy, peace, and love that accompanies our salvation. It’s a glorious thing that needs to be shared. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Emery!

    • Congrats Emery for winning Jenni’s new book CLOUT. Email your mailing address at paul.j.sohn@gmail.com

  • Great interview Paul. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Rick! Appreciate you stopping by! 🙂

  • Billy

    Question: What’s the best way to DISCOVER …

    Understand who you are in God’s view and what
    you do best for the Kingdom, and have others
    confirm the same from knowing you and how
    they see you and your potential in real life.

    … and UNLEASH your influence?

    Remove, with the help of others, every obstacle
    that stands in the way of you living out what you
    have discovered and had confirmed for your life.

    Hope this helps!

    • That’s so true Billy! Unless we know “whose we are” we won’t know “who we are.”

  • Esther

    I really can’t say what the best way is to discover and unleash your influence. But I would venture to say a good understanding of how God sees you – so study your Bible as well as asking God to give you self-knowledge. Quiet time. Time spent in meditation. I think for some in might come through life-experiences. Unleashing would involve acting in faith and wisdom. I love Billy’s answer.

    • Esther – I think you really nailed it. I believe when we know “whose we are” we truly known “who we are.” This is a truth that I’ve realized and experienced over and over. In fact, one of the key areas I’m working on is having more quiet and meditation of the Word. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it because it’s so crucial!

  • Coley O’Toole

    I enjoyed this interview and look forward to reading the book someday. In my opinion and experience the best way is to position yourself around those that bring out your talents by positioning you in opportunities to flourish. Like Jenni’s uncle did.
    With this concept we are caught in the act of feeling complete and alive with a purpose. I find also the more obedient I am to the Lord, the more I bring out the best of my talents for others to actually get the chance to recognize them.
    Would be honored to receive a free copy of the book. Check out my ministry at http://www.battleadventures.com

    • Thanks Coley for stopping by! Really appreciate your ministry as well at BATTLE Adventures. I checked out your website as well. I can’t agree more with you when you said how obedience is the heart of unleashing our potential. When we are grounded in Him and live in complete alignment with Him, we can’t help but become better – the person we are called to be.

  • Trina Sound

    Great interview Paul! Everyone has great insight, it’s definitely hard to add in something new. Because this hits so close to home for me, seeking God first has been a huge part of my journey to find what I’ve been called to do. It helps not only to pray for discernment and clarity, but also to consistently be asking others questions, and seeing how their gifts and talents line up with their calling. I’ve found these questions in particular super helpful in moving forward in this area: “What excites you? What bothers you? What’s your solution?” I think once we know what questions to ask, it makes it easier to understand how the answers make sense to us in our stories. Similar to the ideas you shared about holy discontent!

    • Absolutely Trina. Seeking God is first and foremost. I’m encouraged by how Jenni’s interview is helping you. Sometimes, it’s about asking the right questions. The solution is up to God who will show us the path. Many times we are to be obedient and faithful in what we’re doing today.

  • Great interview! I’d love a copy of this book. It sounds awesome. And congrats on your new job, Jenni!

    • jennicatron

      Thank you Tammy!

  • Michele Lunar Clark

    I’ve found recently that I influence an awful lot of people and I’m working to find out the best way to show my light to others.

  • amy

    This actualy hits home with the business I’ve become involved in. My husband and I are now off of all of our medications. I felt awkward talking to people though. realized that I need to get over myself – I have been blessed to be a blessing and consequently, I am not “selling” something, rather I am sharing my story, my blessing, in hopes of helping others. My confidence, I have to remind myself that I am a child of the one true King and loved. Thank you for this great interview Paul! I can’t wait to read this book.
    In Christ,
    amy

  • I think it helps to read God’s Word and to lean into others who can speak truth into your life. These two things will help you DISCOVER your influence. And it requires intentionality and overcoming fear to UNLEASH your influence.

  • Charles Johnston

    Leading ourselves first is definitely key. There are many leaders that are aimlessly leading without being led themselves by their true passion. If we can focus on the areas where we are blessed and share that expertise with others we will be natural leaders able to unleash our influence.

  • What a great interview and sounds like a good book!

    I think a person first needs to understand that they influence people with their actions and attitude. On some level we all influence so why not learn how to better influence others.

  • John E. Smith

    Paul – thanks for posting this. Jenni – look forward to reading your book.

    As to the question, which is a two-parter:

    Influence, to me, is your ability to affect the thinking and behavior of others. In and of itself, influence is value-neutral. I have to add the value for affecting in positive ways. That said …

    I think for me, the best way to discover my influence is through reflection and research. Reflection is driven by purposeful study of my own interactions with others, along with consideration of wisdom from trusted sources. Discerning what the Bible says to me is an example of this search.

    I would also talk honestly with those who I trust about how they see me. A great question to ask someone who knows you is “How have my words and actions affected you negatively?” followed by the same question with “positively” instead at the end. This combination would seem to provide a well-rounded picture of how I influence others.

    As to unleashing my influence, this seems to indicate a different approach. As is frequently pointed out, knowledge without action is just a bunch of facts. As I continue the above discernment process of discovering, I will start to act.

    Experimentation is a great way to learn things.

    I see no issue with moving in directions which seem to fit my calling, while keeping an open mind to how God speaks to me through my experiences and emotions. Sometimes my human nature gets in the way and I need to always be conscious of the need to consider my own motives for doing or moving in a particular direction.

    That feedback becomes fodder for the ongoing discernment process, which I believe continues throughout my life. It’s a circular thing …

    John