While I don’t consider myself a rebel, I do not like being told what to do . . . or what to think! There is something innate in us that comes out when this button is pushed. I’ve even watched my son tell his older sister that she can’t boss him around. We all have our own stories of how the rebel fist has been raised within us as some external force has sought compliance. We walk on the grass, wear jeans to church, step outside the boundaries, and color outside the lines. There is something to being able to think for oneself.
In chapter 11 of Deep and Wide, Andy shares his secrets to effectively delivering sermons to both regular churchgoers and those who rarely attend. You may be wondering what does delivering sermons have to do with me as an attendee of Gwinnett Church? Well, these principles that Andy uses from the stage can be applied to many of the conversations we have as we build relationships with each other.
One principle in particular deals with this “rebel” nature. Consider what this one idea could do for the conversations you have about your faith. What if you regularly gave the people you spoke to permission – up front and out loud – to not believe what you are discussing about God, Jesus, or the Bible? As adults, we want to make up our own minds. Or, at the very least, we don’t want to be told what to do, what is true, or what to believe. Why should we expect it to be different with our faith? This is such a key point that is the very first amendment to the Constitution. You cannot establish it for me or impede my freedom to express it. I’ll believe what I believe, when I want to believe it. Simply stated, we’d like to have a say. You’ll often hear Andy give permission to the audience to not believe or follow what he’s saying. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an opinion. He just knows that telling us what to believe isn’t the best way of getting us to consider things.
Next time you’re in a conversation with someone regarding your faith, consider giving them the permission to not agree with what you are saying. You can let them know that you believe it, but that they should make up their own minds.
1) What are some situations where you find yourself not wanting to play by the rules?
2) How has someone influenced you in a positive way by giving you the freedom to make up your own mind?
3) How could this change the influence that you have with others?