Posted by Matt Perman on October 3, 2013
“Andy Stanley: Surviving Your Appetite For Being Known”
This was a fantastic message by Andy Stanley to kick off Catalyst today. Here are my notes.
The theme of Catalyst this year is Known. So Andy Stanley’s message is: Known Survivor: Surviving Your Appetite for Known.
Now with social media we know that everyone, including your grandmother, has an appetite to be known.
One thing about an appetite is that if you feed it, it grows; and, it is never fully satisfied.
----The Desire To Be Known----
You have in you an appetite to be known.
You will never hear “I have enough friends, followers and mentions; my church is large enough; we don’t want any more campuses; I’ve sold enough books.”
If you get this wrong, it will make you weird! Sometimes the appetite can get so big it tips you over.
How do you survive your appetite for known?
It’s not from numbers. There is no amount of known that will satisfy your appetite to be known.
Almost titled the message “How Known is Known Enough?”
“Some of you are saying ‘I don’t struggle with this, but I’m sure glad my senior pastor is here to hear this.’”
But it’s in all of us to want to be known.
Even when you’re preaching, you can be thinking at the same time “Is she texting or taking notes? Does she have an emergency or does she just not like my message?”
You can’t help this. So what do you do with it?
Especially since there is no amount of “known” that will fully satisfy anyone.
----The Laws Of Applause----
Part of this is the because of the “Laws of Applause.” (“I just made this up.”)
1. What’s applauded as exceptional the first time will be expected the next time.
- Exceptional becomes Expectional.
- A lot of leaders get derailed right here.
2. Applause is intoxicating.
- Those most applauded for feel most entitled to.
- “I’m just not sure about senior pastors having reserved parking spots.” [Amen!!!] This is an entitlement. And the worst thing about a reserved parking spot is that it’s a public entitlement.
- You don’t have to give in to this!
- Haven’t you seen this wreck people’s careers? Wreck people’s churches?
3. Applause is addictive
- If you get it once, you want it again. You can start looking for it, manufacturing it.
- It is here that you can become a victim of “known.”
----Known And The Challenge Of Leadership----
Here is the real challenge for Catalyst leaders: To lead, you must be known. So the solution can’t be “I’m going to become a hermit and stop leading.” As a leader you’ve actually been called to be known. You’ve been called out into the spotlight. God wants you to use your skills, be published, have churches use your curriculum, and have your church grow. To lead means you have to be known.
The question is: How do we keep it from ruining us? How do you avoid becoming a victim of the laws of applause.
The good news is that we aren’t the first generation to deal with this.
So let’s look at John the Baptist.
----Surviving Your Appetite For Being Known----
There is an amazing statement John the Baptist makes that gives us a clue about how to survive being known.
Mark tells us that thousands of people came to hear John the Baptist, potentially tens of thousands. And it was not an easy place to get to where he preached. Suddenly he went from obscurity to everyone in the region hearing him speak or on their way. He is a phenomenon. He is known.
The word gets back to Jerusalem. So the Pharisees send some folks and people ask “are you the Messiah?” And he says no, and not the prophet either. So they say “who are you?” And he quotes from Isaiah “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make straight the way for the Lord.’” In other words, “I’m just a sign.”
Then the next day Jesus comes, and John says: “Look.”
The next day John saw Jesus passing by again, and he said “Look.” Then John lost two followers–they followed Jesus. Things are starting to decline, right?
Some came to John and said “Rabbi, that man [Jesus], the one you testified about, he is baptizing.” As if to say, “What is he doing? You’re the baptizer. This is your deal. What’s he thinking? He’s stealing your show. And he’s even going multi-site, because he’s got his disciples baptizing too. And everyone is going to him.”
The statement John makes here is huge. He says: “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” John would say to them, and say to us, is: “The reason I’m known; the reason for the crowds, is because God has given me this opportunity for this time. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Relax. It wasn’t me who made me known, and I’m not known for the sake of being known. God had a purpose in it, it wasn’t my idea, and now my time is up.”
Note the “only!" Heaven decides all things.
John survived extraordinary “knownness” because he understood what is often a cliche with us: “I am known in order to make him known.” The moment you focus on the amount of known, you're history. You are known to make him known.
Surviving known, then, is this: Remember who it’s from, and remember who it’s for.
A great word from Andy about his dad, Charles Stanley: “One thing I’ve never seen in my dad is arrogance. He’s 81 and doing book tours right now! He’s always been known. And I’ve never seen him arrogant.” When people would ask him why not, he would say “because I know that God could cut it off in a minute.”
Your appetite for known will never be satisfied by a number. Only a name. A who, not a how or a how many.
There is no number of friends, followers, fans, campuses, books sold, songs sold that can satisfy you. John the Baptist got it right: it’s a name, a who, not a how many.
The solution is to live for an audience of One.
Andy then gives a great story of the time he preached for the president, and received a personal, hand written thank you.
So, what if Jesus was telling the truth in all his parables, and in all his teaching, like the parable of the talents, and there is a moment when we open the envelop at the end of days, and open an envelop from Jesus saying “well done. You don’t let ‘known’ screw you. You never forgot who it was from or who it was for.” Shouldn’t this fuel inject, energize everything we do in ministry and life?
+ So: preach hard, work hard, go multi-site, publish, lead extraordinary worship, and do everything in your power to leverage your talent, and continue to always remember who it is from and who it is for. Never forgot that it’s from the one who knew you first and knows you best, and has given you a stewardship of knownness for the sake of making him known.