CNLP 217: Andy Stanley on How to Share Your Faith in a Post-Christian World, How to Respond to Your Critics, Overcoming His Judgementalism and the Irresistibility of Love

Andy Stanley outlines the argument he makes in his new book, Irresistible, and coaches leaders on how to have conversations with Christians who have walked away from their faith as well as atheists who have never believed.

Andy also talks about how he had to overcome judgementalism in his own faith journey, and talks openly and honestly about the impact his critics have had on him and how to respond when you get criticized as a leader.

Welcome to Episode 217 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links | IrresistibleTwitter


Deep and Wide Tour 2018

Access to the deleted chapter and other bonus features for Andy’s new book Irresistible

Norman Geisler

Links from this Episode

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3 Insights from this Episode

1. There are no loopholes found in the love of Jesus 

The singular call to love each other the way Christ loved us is a simple command and yet, Christians have a way of making it seem so complicated. Is it because when we fully break down what it means to love this way there are no loopholes? No room to make excuses for why someone doesn’t deserve a love from us that exemplifies what our Savior demonstrated on the cross?

Perhaps we’ve overcomplicated it because we just really want it to be more demanding. But by adding rules, we’ve pushed ourselves away from the roots of our faith. Our faith is not founded on a long list of rules. It is founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2. When Christians become defensive they stop learning

Christians often view science as an adversary. Scientific discoveries are immediately discounted or considered a threat. Why are we so defensive?

What if Christians began to view these advancements as opportunities to underscore, rather than undermine, our faith? When we become defensive, we stop learning. And there is still so much for us to learn. We need to be students, not critics.

3. Healthy leaders view criticism as an opportunity to grow

A leader can receive one hundred compliments a day without giving them a second thought, but when one negative comment gets thrown your way it can be deflating; as if the world has turned against you. Criticism is unavoidable in leadership. What’s important is how you process it. I blog about it here. Instead of getting easily offended and defensive, view the negativity as an opportunity to grow as a leader.

Learn from your critics – There’s always something to be learned in criticism. Look for the legitimacy of the complaints. Is there any sensible truth in what they said? Try to understand how they came up with their views of your words.  Could you have communicated your points in a better way?

Practice positive confrontation – You need to confront the source of criticism. The faster you reach out, the better, but make sure you’re in a calm headspace first. If you overstepped, apologize. If you didn’t overstep, try to clarify your point so that you’re better understood. There’s no guarantee you’ll win your critic over, but at least you opened the door for more sincere dialog in the future.

Quotes from This Episode

Didn’t See It Coming is Available Now!

Here’s what Andy Stanley has to say about my new book, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences:

“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

Curious as to what’s inside for you? In Didn’t See It Coming, I tackle the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what other top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning

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Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Francis Chan

In a moving and passionate conversation, Francis Chan talks about why he left his megachurch in Simi Valley, how he’s battled both pride and fame and why both can be so dangerous, what he learned while living in Asia, and how he (accidentally) planted a radically different church in San Francisco that feels like the Airbnb of church.    

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 218.

CNLP 217: Andy Stanley on How to Share Your Faith in a Post-Christian World, How to Respond to Your Critics, Overcoming His Judgementalism and the Irresistibility of Love


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  9. D Madill on September 25, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Great podcast Carey & Andy! Always up for listening to Andy! His insights as outlined through Brand:New, then 90 the series and now the book Irresistible are staggering. His teaching here is what is spoken by Jesus and the few that witnessed and interacted with him during his life. Now I can’t help but see more clearly the movement he is presenting when I read the gospels and the New Testament. The understanding of the culture as Andy explains this makes it so easy to understand how they would have reacted to Jesus’s claims and promises etc. Absolutely love how you present the love that Jesus wants us to know and show to the world.

    I definitely find the concept challenging/demanding but I will also say that there is passion in my voice when I have the chance to share these ideas with friends and family. I have often said over the last number of years that Jesus came so that we would love one another and love is the key to why he came to be among us.

    As an artist & designer I hope someday to create an image with the clarity that Andy has done with this teaching. You have helped paint a picture I can see and understand more clearly.

    Worth the read and more.

    Carey I have your book and am soon digging into that. I have been following your services that are presenting 5 of your concepts to your church. Thanks for that too as the cynicism sermon struck close to home in my current walk.

    I’m also proud to promote a fellow Canadian making his way so well. God Bless!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 27, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Thanks D.! Appreciate it all. Go Canada. 🙂

  10. Andrew on September 21, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Loved the podcast and really enjoy the new book! I resonate with his opinion on sequential vs theological, (Ex. Why does it matter to convince someone on creationism/OT miracles who doesn’t even believe in Jesus or the Bible), but still struggling to understand his thoughts on if scripture is the highest authority alone.

    I was left thinking he missed the opportunity to articulate that even if the conversation doesn’t start with convincing them on the trustworthiness of the Bible that eventually it does need to go there. (Ex. A conversation with a new believer/seeker doesn’t have to go to the Bible’s view of homosexuality or abortion, that could be 100 steps later after they become a Christian to discuss God’s view of sexuality/ethics, but eventually though that conversation does have to come.) Does Andy’s approach suggest that we don’t ever have to go there and that the Bible is indefensible? I have tons of respect for Andy and know that he does believe in biblical inerrancy, but just looking for clarification.

    Thanks for the conversation Carey! Always great to cheer for another pastor trying to influence Canada for Jesus!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 27, 2018 at 6:56 am

      Hey Andrew…thanks for the question. I don’t want to speak for Andy, but I think the clue is that you follow first, and explore later. It’s what the disciples did. I followed this man because he rose from the dead and later the other things began to make sense.

      Andy may have a different take but that’s my read of it.

      At Connexus, where half of our people don’t have a church attendance background, that’s been our experience. Start with Jesus, and then the rest falls into the place once he has become your Saviour and Lord.

  11. Bill Cramsie on September 19, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    So did I hear — to get Andy to follow me on twitter (@billcramsie) I just have to criticize him? 🙂 Hmmm, the problem is I learn and agree with so much. Love the book, love the podcast and as Carey stated I am processing and learning so much.

  12. Henry Collins on September 19, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Great episode! i learn so much with your series.

  13. ben sadler on September 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    It sounds like Stanley is embarrassed of Moses and the Prophets. Jesus claimed that everything he did was built on the old testament. And if you didn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets you wouldn’t listen even it someone Rose from the dead.

    I really used to like Stanley’s stuff but he’s going off the rails.

    I really usually like the podcast but this one seems to cut off the branch we are standing on.

    • Laura on September 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Ben I would love to hear what you think of Andy’s book after you read it!

  14. Don Jacobsen on September 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Absolutely mind-blowing. Put these two guys together and you get fusion on spiritual steroids. Loved it. Didn’t agree with everything, but those are the best kind. I love how he/they make me think. Don J

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 18, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks Don! I’m not sure I agree with myself half the time. 🙂

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