A new friend is Jenni Catron. She has been the executive director at Cross Point Church in Nashville for many years. Next month she will be joining the staff at Menlo Park Presbyterian in California. Jenni is a natural leader and has just released her new book, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence. With Jenni's permission, I've included an excerpt here:
Avoiding the Rooster of Disgrace
Personally I think Peter gets a bad rap. Many of us are too quick to judge Peter, who is famously remembered for denying Jesus three times. Our self-righteousness gets the better of us, and whether we admit it or not, we’re tempted to believe that in his shoes, we never would have denied Jesus. Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times, but Jesus previously made another very powerful prediction. He said that Peter (whose name means “rock”) would be the rock upon which Christ’s church would be built (Matt. 16:18). Both of Jesus’ predictions came true, and I believe one made way for the other.
Peter’s greater legacy—his clout—is that he did indeed become instrumental in developing the early church. In his early years, Peter’s pride walked hand in hand with his faith. The desire to wholeheartedly follow God was at war with prideful longings for perfection, importance, performance, and independence. His faith and his failure coexisted. Isn’t that how it is for most of us?
When the rooster crowed, the trajectory of Peter’s influence was radically altered. He immediately remembered Jesus’ words, and Scripture tells us he “wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). I’m picturing a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, fall-to-his-knees cry. Peter was broken. God had gotten his attention, and he recognized how significantly pride had impacted his influence and broken the heart of Christ. At that moment, I believe Peter made his replacement. He exchanged pride for humility, and after that, his influence flourished.
I see Peter’s face when I read this description from Parker Palmer:
“The path to humility, for some of us at least, goes through humiliation, where we are brought low, rendered powerless, stripped of pretenses and defenses, and left feeling fraudulent, empty, and useless—a humiliation that allows us to regrow our lives from the ground up, from the humus of common ground.”
Out of Peter’s brokenness emerged humble confidence. Humble confidence is the outcome of careful exploration. Where pride finds its identity in perfection, importance, performance, and independence, humility allows us to anchor our identity in Christ first and live from a place of confidence in Christ in us. This was true for Peter, and the same can be true for each of us:
- Where pride was once rooted in arrogance, your confidence becomes rooted in Christ.
- Where pride says you have to prove your worth, confidence says God has determined your worth.
- Where pride takes credit for your accomplishments, confidence humbly acknowledges God’s work in you.
I suspect that the majority of us have to be tripped up by pride a time or two before we understand how significantly pride has been impacting our lives. To avoid the rooster of disgrace, we must continually look for ways to replace pride with humility and in doing so allow humble confidence to make way for our God-given influence to thrive.
Although the book just released today--I got the chance to review the manuscript a few months ago. I'm convinced Jenni is going to help thousands of people get unstuck from the habits an hangups which hold them back from making a difference in the lives of others. Clout is profoundly simple and practical. It doesn't matter whether you are in a "leadership" position, or whether you are a college student or stay-at-home mom, Clout has practical handles for anyone who wants to leverage their influence. I highly recommend it.