Session 6b: Important Discoveries by Reggie Smith

I think one of the discoveries that I’ve made over the last 18, 19 months is how much people believe that they have a growth mindset when they really have a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset simply means that people want to stick with what they know, stick with what’s familiar to them, not give in to the anxiety that the pandemic really brought to a lot of people. I heard that a lot of times, of people saying we need to go back to before the pandemic. Really? That’s gone. That’s not coming back.

I found that trying to help people to have a growth mindset is to encourage them to take small bets on what God could be doing, or could be saying to them in the present time in which they find themselves because reform people don’t do revolutions. Reform people do gradualism. Some of the things that I heard was to take small bets on coming out of your shell. Take a small bet on maybe upgrading your technology that it will be centered on yourself, will be centered on others who may now be watching your live stream that you just, all of a sudden, figured out and had to figure it out really quickly. When you encourage small bets, what you encourage is them to fail forward.

The third thing I learned is how people were really unaware about race in America. I got all kinds of phone calls, all kinds of invitations to speak. The first question they asked was what do we need to do? It’s always the activist side of us that wants to fix it than rather to take a step back, listen and what is God teaching you that you need to learn from people of color? That became a fascinating conversation with a lot of people who had never, ever entertained talking about race in their church.

To add to that is to say that, what does that mean for your own neck of the woods? Questions that really challenges you, that really pushes you to say there are all kinds of people in your neighborhood, but again, getting back to I want to have a fixed mindset that they have to fit into my understanding of what that is, as opposed to risking and nudging ourselves that we need to be in a different pond. When that happens, amazing things happen, such as churches find themselves drawing people that they thought would never be drawn before and finding out that they have to change a little bit and that change doesn’t kill them. Albert van Raalte doesn’t raise up and say, “Oh, stop right away,” but rather they find that they have more capacity to minister to change and to draw a different kind of person that they probably thought that they would never ever draw before. I’ll leave it right there, if you want questions later.

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