Tag Archive for: courageous disciples

Let’s begin where I ended Part 1. 

Here are a few reminders to ground us: 

  • God is good, faithful, just, and right on time.
  • The church is the body of Christ and we are members of that body, each with different functions and gifts.
  • Our mission is focused on disciple-making.
  • The love of God we know in Jesus is hope incarnate. 

In part one I explored two current realities and expanded on the reminders above. Today, let’s look at 5 trends. These trends might just prompt you to have conversations with friends, colleagues, and the next generations. 

Before we explore these trends, I want to invite you to put on the hat of a “Reinvention Specialist.” The reason for that will become clear shorty. 

Trend 1 – Declining participation 

This is not a new trend. It’s an accelerating trend. In a survey of 15,000 churches across the United States, in 2020, the median worship attendance among US congregations was 65. In 2000, it was 137.

About 7 years ago, while serving at the General Board of Discipleship, I began to explore the pattern of baptisms and professions of faith. I was looking for a positive trend to celebrate. Instead, what I found was it is the exception, not the norm, for baptisms and profession of faith to happen in local United Methodist Churches.

In 2021, for the first time ever in the United States church membership dropped below 50%. Please hear me, membership is not the only number and probably not the best number to look at. But it is an indicator of an ongoing trend.

What does this mean? One thing I think it means is our current approach to church isn’t working. Dare I say, it has not been working my entire life. The church has been in decline for decades. 

At the end of each trend, I’ll offer a question for you to consider. Here is your first question:
Are you willing to change your methods to amplify the mission? What does that look like? 

Trend 2 – Reinvent Ministries at Least Every 3 years

That means anticipating, designing, and implementing change every 3 years. Please DO NOT read that as “It’s 2022, so in 2025 we need to start focusing on reinventing ourselves.” 

No, you’re going to be reinventing all the time. And it doesn’t have to be exhausting if you’re anticipating, designing, and implementing change. It will necessitate building a system of leadership and processes to listen, pay attention, experiment, and assess effectiveness.

By the end of 2022, you will likely have a different church than you did in 2019. Because of all the changes in the past three years.

Why do I say every reinvent every 3 years? 

  • In the 1900s, organizations reinvented themselves every 75 years.
  • By 1989, it went down to every 15 years.
  • In 2020, that went down to 6 years. The pandemic accelerated this and it is anticipated we’re now at 3 years.

If you want to lead successful reinvention, you’re going to do it when the church is still growing, moving toward its prime. 
Only 10% of organizations who try to reinvent themselves are successful on the downward slope. Yes, many of us find ourselves in congregations that are past our prime. But, if we are resurrection people, and we are, there is hope. You can be the 10%. Or, consider this: sometimes death needs to occur so the new life can emerge. 

What this means is something is always going to be being reinvented. We’re not living in a time when you’re going to settle on the next method and keep at it for the remainder of your life. We’re living in a cycle of ongoing change that requires us to anticipate change, design change, and implement change at least every three years. 

What’s Reinvention About?

Reinvention is about:

-Embracing change by reimagining and remaking something so that it manifests new and improved attributes, qualities, and results.

-A systematic approach to thriving in chaos that includes ongoing anticipation, design, and implementation of change via continuous sense-making, anticipatory and emergent learning, and synthesis of cross-boundary, cross-disciplinary, and cross-functional knowledge.

-A way to foster sustainability of a system by dynamically harmonizing continuity and change.

-An immune system designed to ensure systematic health for individuals and organizations

-A structured and deliberate effort to engage in healthy cycles of planned renewal, building on the past to ensure current and future viability. 

Reinvention includes the following three elements:

  1. Anticipate
  2. Design
  3. Implement

What happens if you only do 1 &2?

You’re going to burn out.

What happens if you only do 1 & 3?

You’re going to live in chaos and craziness. 

What happens if you only do 2 & 3? You’re going to be too late. You’ve designed for the wrong thing. Arrogance is what often keeps us here. 

Question: What do you need to work on the most: Anticipating change? Designing Change? Or Implementing change? 

Trend 3 –  Location Independent Church and Localized Community Development

Location independence creates opportunities for you to worship and be a part of a church in Cincinnati while living in Columbus and not going anywhere. 

The church has tried to exist on 1 hour of contact a week. This makes a one-hour experience the primary connection point. Often, this results in little integration of faith into daily life. Further, it means people exist in silos.

This trend, location independence, coupled with localized community development is about the integration of life. The trends are all pointing to a world that is interconnected. This isn’t new. But it is accelerating. What is important about this trend is creating spaces where people are known and participating in spaces where being known is already happening. 

This doesn’t mean everyone is going to know everyone’s name. But it does mean everyone has an experience of being known. That “being known” likely will happen in a localized, integrated way, rather than a siloed approach to life.

What possibilities does this create?

Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • It could mean your church on the westside may have people living in California with a home group doing life-on-life discipleship.
  • Integrate Jesus into the daily fabric of life. 
  • Equip globally and nurture locally. It means relationships are central to everything we do. There’s something that has NOT changed!
  • Move discipleship to our neighborhoods and homes.

Question: What does this trend make possible?

Trend 4: The  Rise of Web3 and AR/VR

Here’s something that is already a reality: hybrid church is simply becoming church. There are people who connect online, there are people who connect in person. But, technology is also taking us to new places. Consider for a moment what augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) mean for the church? Will I be able to put on my VR headset and sit in church in Florida?  What do cryptocurrency, web 3 mean for the church?

If you just completely zoned out because those letters and numbers mean nothing to you. It’s ok. 

Go back to where we started. Are you willing to shift methods to amplify the mission?

The big question I see emerging with new technology is this: How do in-person and online portals share information and invite transformation? Said differently, what is informational and what is transformational? Where can technology help us share information and where do local relationships help us create transformational experiences? 

Only time will tell how AR and VR change the landscape of our world. But if you know any teenagers, ask them. They’ll likely be willing to show you their VR goggles.

Trend 5: The Great Resignation and Well-Being

I touched on this in Trend 3. But, it bears its own trend. People are longing for an integrated, holistic, life that acknowledges their wellbeing. It’s estimated that at least 50% of working-age people will think about leaving their current workplace in 2022 at the cost of billions of dollars to organizations. The same statistic for clergy is hovering around 40%.

Why? One of the reasons is this: our well-being has plummeted. The two primary drivers of wellbeing are liking what you do every day (career) and having meaningful friendships in your life (social). 

There are many reasons “the Great Resignation” began. One of the reasons is this: work became complex, at home, and we became disconnected from the people we love to spend time with the most.

If you want a quick check on your own well-being. Pause and explore these five questions:

  • Career: Do you like what you do every day?
  • Social: Do you have meaningful friendships in your life?
  • Financial: Are you managing your money well?
  • Community: Do you like where you live?
  • Physical: Do you have the energy to get things done?

Before you ask, “where is spiritual wellbeing?”allow me to say this. Here is the danger and the possibility for the church. We pick one of these areas and say “that’s where faith/spirituality lives.” Instead, faith is the foundation of our wellbeing.. Our spiritual well-being grounds our career, social, financial, community, physical, wellbeing.  

These things are not addressed in a one-day seminar. Or even a 2-hour workshop. They’re addressed when people do life together. 
Imagine what begins to happen when disciple-making moves to homes and neighborhoods. You begin to see the emergence of an Acts 2 Church – Where people are caring for the well-being of others.

Question: Which aspect of well-being are you thriving in? Which aspect of well-being needs attention?

Now What?

I’ve offered five trends for the future of the church. There are probably five more trends you could name, too. While none of us know how these emerging trends will play out, we do know that God is good. These trends invite us to be a part of the Great Reinvention and to consider again if our methods amplify our mission. I don’t know about you, but when I consider what God can do in and through people open to transformation, I see great possibilities for the future of the church and the people in our communities.

Grounded Confidence


Matthew 16:13-17

“Who do you say that I am?” – Jesus

Let’s try an experiment in curiosity. If Jesus approached you and asked, “Who do you say that I am?” how would you respond?

Perhaps you’d say, “Jesus is the Son of God. The Messiah. The chosen one.”

“Who do you say that I am?”

Light of the world. My savior and friend.

“Who do you say that I am?”

Emmanuel. God with us.

“Who do you say that I am?”

The Alpha and Omega.

“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks.

The bread of life.

The good shepherd.

The resurrection and the life.

The way, the truth, and the life.

The true vine.

Who do you say that I am?

This time answer it in your own words. Who is Jesus to you?

It’s about practicing curiosity. Be reminded, “Curiosity is an act of vulnerability and courage.”2

Throughout the past four weeks, you’ve been exploring many of the skills needed to rumble with vulnerability. This week, we’re uniting rumbling with vulnerability, curiosity, and practice into what is called grounded confidence.

Stay curious today and throughout the week. And remember, God is with you.


How would you respond if Jesus asked you, “Who do you say that I am?” Stay curious and answer that as many times as you can. Then, answer it again.


Practice curiosity today. Ask questions with love. Explore the unknown and get curious about your impulses.


Jesus, you are the light of the world, the alpha and omega, the Great I AM. When I consider all the ways you meet me where I am and love me for who I am, I am humbled. Thank you for the wonder, awe, and simplicity of your abiding presence…Especially when I’m rumbling with vulnerability with you and others. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

Consider your thoughts, feelings and actions from today. Together, what do your thoughts, feelings, and actions tell you about who Jesus is to you?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Grounded Confidence Necessitates Practice


Matthew 18:1-5

Questions are one of the surprises that can appear as we read the scriptures. Questions are a part of our faith.

Jesus asks the disciples questions. Jesus asks crowds questions. Jesus even speaks to the people who are wanting to put him to death in a questioning tone. And the disciples also ask Jesus questions.

The passage today, Jesus offers his response to the question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

I can see the disciples sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for Jesus to look at them. Instead, Jesus invites a child into his midst.

And the disciples are dumbfounded.

The disciples are confused, “Become like a child, Jesus?! We’ve spent our whole lives growing up! What in the world are you talking about? Have you lost your mind?”

(If you’ve never rumbled with vulnerability with Jesus, I recognize that last statement may read a bit like blasphemy. After all, how could Jesus lose His mind?)

That’s why we need rumble tools. Before I share a few tools, let me remind you of the journey you’ve been on with Jesus and courage.

You named your call to courage and explored what ordinary courage is all about (week 1). Then, you learned the definition of vulnerability and how following Jesus takes courage (week 2). You explored the difference between armored and daring discipleship (week 3) and learned about the empathy skills and your emotions (week 4).

Now, let’s add a tool to your toolbox. (See below) These rumble starters are intended to help you lean into vulnerability and stay curious – even when conversations start to get messy.

I imagine the disciples and Jesus seated on the floor eating dinner that night and one of them says, “Jesus, help me understand…when you invited us to become like children, what does that mean? What does it look like? How can we do that?”

Jesus, laughing, might have said, “Do I need to go over this again? I will. I can. I’m not asking you to transport back in time. Stop thinking literally. I’m asking you to have the curiosity, compassion, joy, and vulnerability of a child.”

“But, Jesus, there are laws we need to follow. How can we NOT be literal?” Matthew interjects.

“That’s a whole different conversation,” Jesus offers.

Then Jesus continues, “We’ll have plenty of time together to keep practicing the faith, learning a new way. For tonight, can we simply stay curious about what the LORD is doing in our midst?”

The twelve nod in agreement. They get it. Their nods are not a polite-go-with-the-crowd type affirmation. They are WITH Jesus. Just then, Matthew has to break the silence and says,

“Oh. Yes, Jesus. We can do that.”

Judas, “Sorry, Jesus. I didn’t mean to start a conversation so late. I misunderstood.”

“Thanks for clearing that up,” said James.

Their conversation turns to celebration about what the LORD is doing. They’re so curious to hear the stories of what is happening, their meal lasts late into the night.

All that’s left for Jesus to do is go off on his own and pray.


What would rumbling with vulnerability look like for you and Jesus? Refer to the rumble starters below.


Use the rumble starters to begin a conversation with Jesus or another person. Here are a few examples to help you get started:

Jesus, I’m wondering…How does your love multiply more when it is shared?

Jesus, help me understand…What happened to my dog when she died?

Walk me through, what can I do to help our friend who is hurting/has cancer/going through a divorce?

I’m wondering…What do I say to my neighbor who is moving?


Jesus, thank you for receiving my questions. I am grateful you hold the space for curiosity and wonder. Guide me as I seek to be still enough to hear you through others and bold enough to respond. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What rumble starter did you use today? If you didn’t use one, it’s OK. Reflect on your conversations and consider where a rumble starter may have helped you stay curious. You’ll find the Rumble Starters below.


Rumble Starters

Add these rumble starters1 to your toolkit.

When you recognize there’s a need to have a tough conversation, ask yourself which statement can help you get started.

When you’re ready to show up with your heart open to have an honest, faithful conversation, use these rumble starters to remain curious and present.

Finally, hold these rumble starters close throughout the conversation. They’ll help you stay curious in the midst of your conversation.

The story I’m making up is…

I’m curious about…

Tell me more…

That’s not my experience…

I’m wondering…

Help me understand…

Walk me through…

We’re both dug in. Tell me about your passion around this.

Tell me why this doesn’t fit/work for you.

I’m working from these assumptions, what about you?

What problem are we trying to solve?

What other questions can you ask to stay curious?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Are you a curious disciple?


Acts 17:19-21

Imagine hearing the good news of Jesus for the first time. You’ve heard about Jesus, born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph. But you’re also hearing people talk about Jesus as the Son of God. Those two “identities” don’t seem to make logical sense. You find yourself thinking, “Wait. What? How can this be? (Yes, Jesus’ mom, Mary, asked the same thing. Have a look at Luke 1:34.)

Imagine trying to wrap your head around the reality of Jesus’ humanity and divinity for the first time. Perhaps you remember your own journey trying to grapple with this reality. You had to get curious.

Here’s the thing: faith necessitates curiosity.

Someone shares something with you about Jesus. From the morsel of information they shared, you get curious. Perhaps a conversation unfolds something like this:

Wait, people were jailed for sharing their faith? Yes.

And crowds followed Jesus wherever he went? Yes.

And people wanted to kill him? Yes, and they did.

But…how does a dead guy become the Savior?


So they resuscitated Jesus? Well, not exactly. Resurrection is new life.

However that conversation may unfold, you’ve learned something that may not quite add up when you think logically. But the presence, the power, and the purpose of Jesus are pointing to something beyond logic. There is only one thing you CAN do. Get curious.

Grounded confidence takes learning the skills of rumbling with vulnerability, getting curious and practice. Today, practice curiosity.


What is one thing you’d love to talk to Jesus about? Go ahead…have that conversation. Talk to Jesus in prayer.


Today, get curious. Ask questions of the people you interact with today. Remember, practicing curiosity is not an interrogation. Speak with grace as you get curious.


Jesus, thank you for receiving my questions with grace. Thank you for reminding me that your power is not diminished by my curiosity. I offer myself to you today as one who is amazed, humbled, and grateful for your abiding presence in the midst of my never-ending questions. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What did you do today to practice curiosity with others? With Jesus? What will you do differently tomorrow?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.



Luke 11:1-4

The disciples want to learn to pray from their Master, Jesus. The prayer we know as the Lord’s Prayer is the prayer Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.

While the Lord’s Prayer is a familiar prayer to many, at one time you had to learn it. You stumbled over the words. You wondered if it was trespasses or debts.

You may have even prayed it out loud in a Roman Catholic context and realized their tradition does not include “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Of all the times and places it could have happened – this protestant pastor was attending a Roman Catholic funeral mass. It was another context to practice, stay curious, and receive the grace of the people around me.

Just like me, you practice the faith.

The more you practice the faith, the more you learn about Jesus and ourselves. The more you learn, the more curious you get. The more curious you get, the more you’ll need to practice rumbling with vulnerability. And the more you practice rumbling with vulnerability, the more courageous you become.

That’s the journey of a courageous disciple.

There’s one more thing. You never graduate from practice. Ask any professional athlete what they still spend time focusing upon each day. They’ll tell you the fundamental skills of their sport and basic physical & mental training.

Each of these is an example of why we practice prayer. It’s also why we practice following Jesus. Yes, you guessed it, you’ll also need to practice rumbling with vulnerability and being a courageous disciple.

You’ll mess it up. When you do, dust off your knees, get back up and return to the arena. You are a courageous disciple on a journey with Jesus.



What spiritual discipline are you willing to use to explore practice rumbling with vulnerability? Here are a few spiritual disciplines you might consider: Daily prayer. Daily reading the scriptures. Serving with people living in poverty. Tithing. Caring for the sick. Accountability with a small group.


Practice a spiritual discipline today.


Lord Jesus, I confess there are times I take practicing my faith for granted. There are times, I speak a prayer from memory with little attention to your presence in my life. Forgive me, I pray, and help me to grow as a disciple who seeks to become more like you. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What spiritual discipline did you practice today? Where did you see Jesus today?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Celebrate Your Call to Courage


Matthew 2:19-23

When I consider Joseph’s life and legacy, I see a man who stepped into the arena called life. He rumbled with the vulnerability to be subjected to the scrutiny of the Law with faithful obedience. Joseph learned the skill of integration. Tomorrow, you’ll have one more opportunity to celebrate your thoughts, feelings, and actions from this week. But, today, I want you to return to your call to courage.

Consider, like Joseph, what you’ve been hearing from God throughout the past five weeks. Reflect on your thinking. What are you thinking about being a courageous disciple? How is God inviting you to practice the faith of a courageous disciple?

Your call to courage may not have appeared directly related to your faith. However, as you’ve learned on this journey, integrating your thoughts, feelings and actions are the hallmarks of a wholehearted disciple.

As you continue to grow as a person of courage, may Joseph’s faithful example of listening, rumbling with vulnerability, and practicing the faith be a reminder to you that God is with you – today, tomorrow, and the next day.


What skill, insight, or learning will fuel your curiosity to be a courageous disciple in the days and weeks to come?


Put a post-it note on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror with the reminder to stay curious about your thoughts, feelings, and actions as you seek to follow Jesus.


Lord Jesus, I praise you for walking with me as I seek to become more like you. Help me to remain curious about my emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the days and weeks to come as I continue this journey of becoming a courageous disciple. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What thought, feeling, and action did you take today to practice being a curious, courageous disciple?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Wholehearted Disciple

Each Friday we’ll pause to consider the previous five days, integrating what we’re learning and how we’re seeing Jesus with three questions. As you consider the six myths of vulnerability and how the scripture passages brought these myths to light, respond to the following questions:


What are you thinking as a result of what you read, reflected and responded to? Specifically, what are you thinking about vulnerability?


What are you thinking as a result of what you read, reflected and responded to each day? Specifically, what are you thinking about being curious and grounded confidence?


What are you doing as a result of what you read, reflected and responded to each day? Specifically, what are you doing about being curious and grounded confidence?

Where is there overlap in your answers? Wholehearted disciples practice uniting what they think, feel, and do. If you’re thoughts, actions, and feelings are not in alignment with one another, keep practicing! You’re on a journey of following Jesus.

Want to Dig Deeper? – Join the practice of TGIF

  • Who or what are you trusting?
  • For whom or what are you grateful?
  • Who or what is inspiring you?
  • How are you practicing faith?


Good and gracious God, thank you for a mind to think, emotions to feel, and hands and feet to propel me to act. Guide me in all I say, do, and feel so others may witness your grace. In the name Jesus I pray, Amen.

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Practice Self-Compassion


John 15:12-17

“Love one another the way I have loved you.” It’s a simple, profound commandment. It’s so simple, in fact,  that many of us miss what is required to love one another.

You can begin to love another person when you know you are loved, love yourself, and experience the love of God found in Jesus. The first and last forms of love may come easy. For some, loving yourself can be a journey – a hard, long journey.

Today’s a great day to practice.

“Love one another the way I have loved you.”

Did you hear what Jesus just said to you?

Jesus said, “I love you.”

You are loved by God.

Today, practice receiving the love you so freely give to others.

When you feel inadequate or fail at something you attempt to do, don’t beat yourself up. This may have happened during one of the “Respond” challenges for this study. Would you ever say to someone you love, “You’re so stupid, how could you do that?” No. The thought wouldn’t cross your mind. So tell me this: why do you talk to yourself that way?

Instead, practice self-compassion. Name the current circumstances around you, call out the emotions you’re feeling, and remind yourself not to be so hard on yourself.

After all, you are God’s beloved.


Do you talk to yourself the way you’d talk to someone you love?


Practice talking to yourself the way you talk to someone you love. (And don’t even begin to pretend you don’t talk to yourself. You do. It’s time to practice self-compassion in the midst of the self-talk.)


Lord Jesus, because of your great love for me, I know love. Because of your love, I want to share love. Because of your love, I need to practice self-compassion. May all that I say, do and feel today be done for your glory and in light of your love, Lord. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What was challenging about talking to yourself the way you talk to someone you love? What was easy? How will you continue to practice self-compassion?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Empathy Skill #5: Pay Attention


John 8:31-38

You’ve been practicing naming your emotions and identifying the emotions of others. But what about the hard emotions? What do we do with the emotions that feel negative?

Did you read the Scripture for today? Jesus mentions a three-letter word we like to avoid in the church: sin.

Sin, simply put, is separation from God. Because it’s hard, difficult and challenging you may not want to talk about it. But here we are, together, talking about it. That’s the key to “paying attention” as an empathy skill: acknowledging and naming the negative.

Jesus names what is negative, but he doesn’t dwell on it. He doesn’t get emotionally hooked by what the Jews are saying. Jesus also doesn’t create more drama where there isn’t drama. He models paying attention beautifully.

Now before you say, “Yes, Jesus models paying attention so well I don’t think I can do it.”

Scapegoating on Jesus is still scapegoating, ok?

You can do this.

Here’s the thing: if you have a pattern of not paying attention to the negative, this will be challenging. Be kind to yourself and take a baby step. You just acknowledged you don’t like to deal with the negative. What a great place to start. Tomorrow, try to name what emotions are negative to you. If you need the help of a counselor or other helping professional to do this work, that’s a great next step too.

The point here is to acknowledge the negative but don’t get sucked into a death spiral of negative emotions. Be mindful and take good care. Both are needed. Too much negative and you’re wallowing. Too much positive and we seem unreal. Ignore the negative, you’re not dealing with reality either. Give too much credit to the positive, yes, you guessed it, it’s not reality either. It takes work to not suppress or exaggerate your emotions. Live with that challenge today. Jesus is our example.


What negative or positive emotions do you tend to suppress and exaggerate?


Today, be mindful of the emotions you identified in the “reflect” section. Pay attention to how these emotions come up in your life, the lives of others, and even in the media.


Almighty God, you model the way for us in your Son Jesus. Thank you for showing us the delicate balance between suppression and exaggeration. I am grateful for the challenge to be mindful of what I am feeling. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

What emotions did you notice being suppressed or exaggerated in your life, the lives of others, or the media today? What step can you take to find a balance to the emotions?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Empathy Skill #2: To be Non-judgmental


John 8:1-11

Yes, you also read this yesterday. Keep reading. There’s a reason we’re returning to it today, too.

If you’ve read this passage before (see what I did there?) you’ve likely wondered, “What did Jesus write in the ground?” Did he really “write” any words? Or was it Jesus’ way of pausing to consider the complexity of the situation before him?

Maybe the words, “You are forgiven” came to mind as he knelt before the people gathered. Perhaps he wrote, “You are a beloved child of God.”

Or maybe it was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” The Shema (Deut 6:4-9) surely would have been top of Jesus’ mind as he recited it morning, noon and night.

The real answer to our wondering is, “I don’t know.” I don’t know what Jesus wrote and neither do you.

But what emerged at that moment was non-judgment from the Son of God. He modeled for a group bringing judgment on how to model accountability and love in the same breath.

What a gift to know that Jesus meets us where we are and loves us for who we are, not for what we have done or left undone. That includes all the good things and the not so good things, friends.


Where are you prone to judge others? Consider the places you feel inadequate or are the most susceptible to shame.


Today, practice non-judgment. Acknowledge your feelings. Remain accountable. Extend love and compassion. Apply these statements to yourself, too.


Jesus, forgive me for the places I judge others and help me to stand in a place of compassion and wisdom today and always. Amen.


Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below.

Where did you judge others today? What did you do to practice non-judgment?

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of It Takes Courage” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.