But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.1 Peter 3:15–16
Two weeks ago at Creekside we started off our exploration of lessons from the life of improv by looking at the first two lessons: 1. “say yes” and 2. “say yes and.” It is a call to change our posture from looking for things that are wrong in the world to looking for things that are right. From looking for ways that we can disagree with someone to looking for ways that we can agree. Even if we don’t agree with everything, we can usually agree with something, unless we are just plain disagreeable. If we truly believe that God is before us in the world, that he is doing his work in the world and that we are asked to join him in his work, then expecting to find evidence of that work in many many people should not surprise us. We are to look for the value in people, to see that they too have been made in the image of God.
It’s is not just about agreeing, it’s about engaging which brings us to lesson 3 of the rules of improve: Make Statements (as opposed to being passively silent or passively questioning). Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. Statements are about confidence. If you ask nothing but questions or statements with question marks at the end of them, the story quickly ends. Rather, add to the conversation with confidence, with statements about what you are for. Jesus always approached people with what he was for. If we are seeking to live his extraordinary way, we should also not be afraid to say what we are for (making sure that we are not simply stating in the positive what we are against).
Peter says for us to “Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you.” Do the people you engage with know that you have a hope within you? When you are faced with situations that look hopeless do you still hope? You should, we all should, because we have a hope that lives within us. There is a reason for that hope. There is a person behind the hope; there is a future in that hope and we as we walk in that hope a confidence that will lend itself to opportunities to share that reason.
The third rule of improv, making statements is really a posture shift to humble confidence, to avoid both judgement and pacivipty, replacing them with active statements of yes, statements with confidence humility and love. Not “Hi, my name is Doug and I need to tell you that you need jesus or you are going to hell,” but, “wow, that thing you did is great, I really like that, and I see God in that thing you do” — yes, I have hope, it comes from my experience with Jesus, without him I’d be hopeless.
Make Statements (be confident)
Peace, hope and love Doug