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Are you like Kevin Kelley? Question 1

September 10, 2012

Question #1: Are you willing to be yourself if it means foolishly being different from everyone else?  David knew that God wanted his worship, so he worshiped God with all his energy, sacrificing his pride in the process. He cared what no one thought—he just wanted God to know David loved him.  are you willing to be like David?

Here’s the irony about Kevin Kelley’s story.  Even thought the math is on his side when it comes to always going for 2 and refusing to punt…no one else does it.  There are a few outliers at lower levels of football who are intrigued and want to learn from him.  But when you make the jump to the NFL, no one does his style, even though the math still says he’s right.  In fact, Cal-Berkeley economist David Romer published a study on NFL game theory that showed, among other things, that “regardless of field position, on anything less than fourth and five, teams are always better off going for it.”  Romer observed 1068 fourth-down situations in which statistics say the right decision is to go for it, yet the NFL teams punted 959 of those times.

Why?  If NFL coaches are paid millions of dollars to win, why do they make decisions that give them a worse chance of winning?

Peer pressure.

If a coach goes for it on fourth down in his own territory (cough, cough, Bill Bellicheck) and doesn’t get it and loses the game, the analyst shows will bash him all week.  But if he gets the first down he doesn’t get near the amount of praise as he would criticism.

The connection to church planting is obvious, right?  Sometimes the right thing to do is what everyone else thinks is the wrong thing.

You’re going to reach those people?

Your services will be where?

            What are you preaching on?

Has that strategy worked anywhere before?

I’ve never heard of a church doing that kind of outreach before.

A good test of if you are willing to be yourself is if you are receiving criticism.  Jesus could have avoided a lot of criticism if he had just acted like everyone else.  He was criticized for being a drunk, for hanging out with prostitutes, and for bashing the establishment.  If we are following the leading of Jesus, should we expect to be any different?

Sometimes I’ll start to feel sorry for myself when I receive criticism about our church’s style or audience or vision or advertising.  And I think the reason it stings is that it often comes from well-meaning Christians.  But I have to remind myself that this is what I signed up for.  And if I don’t want to be criticized I’d better stop following Jesus, stop being myself, and stop being different from everyone else.

Now honestly, it’s pretty easy most of the time for church planters to answer a resounding “yes” to question #1.  You’re planting a church, which is a huge risk already, so starting a new ministry, strategy or tactic isn’t necessarily the most difficult thing.  And that’s why question 2 is essential, because it highlights our motives and asks if have true humility.

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