Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Romans 12:12
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:12
What does it mean to renew your mind? Is it reading scripture? Is it sharing the gospel? Or maybe it’s something different all together.
This week we are talking with Todd R. Vick, Author of “The Renewing of Your Mind”. Todd share about how we can remap our brains to get in sync with God, how traditions and religion has caused us to lose sight of what a relationship with God looks like, and what a renewed mind looks like. Todd also shares about his deconstruction as a pastor and how it birthed the idea for his book
Now, Todd is on a reconstruction journey. Church might look a bit different but he has a new, fresh perspective on who God is and how to align with Him. Also, Todd shared some extremely interesting stories, one of which deals with racism in traditional church and how his life was threatened by a church member due to his desire for inclusivity.
This week we talk about:
- renewing of the mind
- neuroplasticity and how it relates to our faith
- The Americanized Church
- Evangelism and the truth behind the practice
- Inclusivity vs racism in traditional church
Cody Johnston 1:28
Hey everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody and my name is Elaine and this is episode 90. Man 90. Today we have Todd Vic. He is a life coach. He is a public speaker and he just released a brand new book the renewing of your mind. And guys, I cannot sing praises enough for this word. I’m super excited to share this conversation with you all we got into New York plasticity we got into evangelism science and
Elaine Johnston 2:03
Cody Johnston 2:04
Yes. So we’re talking about just how we form these habitual thoughts how we can change our mind how we can better understand God. Through our thoughts and deconstruction, he shares his deconstruction story, just as a quick little nugget to just kind of like general get you excited. He actually talks about how his life was threatened based on some of his deconstruction, some of his beliefs twice when he was a pasture in the middle of service. So Todd has an amazing story, and I really just thoroughly enjoy just such an easy conversation. So we’re just going to drop our little links real quick. And then we’re going to shut up and let it come as it does, because I really just cannot express how excited I am to share this with you guys. But of course real quick plug nomads a safe community for Christians ask unsafe questions. We will love to have you a part. It is a place where you can come freely share your voice, express what’s on your heart, what you’re thinking, what you what you’re learning about God and, and all these different things, even your questions, your doubts, whatever it is, this is a safe place for you. And so we just want to invite you the links are in the show notes below. And with that, let’s get right into this conversation with Todd Vic, author of the renewing of your mind.
Elaine Johnston 3:26
Hey, everyone, we are talking with Todd Vic transformational life coach, speaker and author of the renewing of your mind. How are you today?
Cody Johnston 3:35
Very good to be here. Todd, we’re super excited to have you on we were. It was really interesting. We were I’m trying to think back now because just a couple weeks ago, driving in downtown, and we were talking about evangelism and just thought patterns and all these different things. And we were we were actually we had to work that night. So we were on the move as as it was and We were sitting there, we stopped our work, and we hopped on a quick phone call with you. And it just so happens that you were talking about the same thing that we were talking about in the car right before and we had no idea what we were going to talk about in our conversation with you on the phone. So I think this topic is extremely needed. And apparently we’re on the same wavelength somewhere. So that’s pretty cool. So Todd, let’s just start this way. Your book just came out at the time of releasing this. It just came out like, like, Maybe, maybe not even a month. Yeah. So right at a month ago. And so let’s just start off by talking a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and what brought you into this journey of writing.
Todd R. Vick 4:44
Well, I was for a long time I was a pastor in the southern baptist church and I think a lot of people in deconstruction start their sentences with that I was in a Southern Baptist Church somewhere. At least that’s been my experience in dealing helping people and talking to people for So I did that for about 30 years. years, and I spent most of that struggling to be good enough for God good enough for my family good enough for the churches I ministered in. And always struggled with that because the the demands placed on a pastor sometimes can be overwhelming. And so I struggled with that all along, I managed to muddle through. But while I was leading a Bible study for my Wednesday night group in my last church, this was about three years ago, three years ago. I got through Romans 12, to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And so to research for that, I started to just look up some stuff about the brain. And what I found was just a goldmine of information about the human brain and its capabilities, and its power and transform. And that’s why God gave it to us to use it, I assume. And so I have just been, you know, researching and I’m certainly no expert. I don’t have a PhD in anything. I’m just a student of this stuff. And I think it’s fascinating. And I had no idea I was going to write a book about. And I tried to write a book 10 years ago and got about 17,000 words in and decided to cancel it because I just didn’t like where it was going. And I didn’t feel it. And so in this case, I just, I mean, the worst just started coming. The research helped a lot. And it just came about that way.
Cody Johnston 6:19
That’s very cool. And so let’s just touch on for a minute. You through the word deconstruction. So every time you drop that word, that’s it’s a small word, and there’s just like a million things that go into that. So what is your deconstruction story? What led you to start questioning and and how is that?
Todd R. Vick 6:36
Well, I, I think I have been in deconstruction for a long time, I would have these moments where I would just begin to is this, what I mean is what I’m doing helping anybody at all? And if not, why? And so you know, for years, I just looked into questions and things like that. And when I would talk to my pastor friends, they would just say we will pray for you. Hang in there, God’s got your back and, and all this stuff. But I still hate questions and I just wasn’t sure. And when I left the local church ministry in 2016, we were actually asked to leave. So it was a very unpleasant situation well, and I felt, I felt like everything I believed in for for all these years, and everything that I’ve done for my entire life was was for nothing. I was going through that for a bit. And then just wondering, God, are you even there and I was talking with an old pastor, friend of mine, who was my pastor, about 20 years ago, and we still stay in touch and, and he was, you know, saying, just, you know, keep, you know, hold on to Jesus, hold on to Jesus. And I was like, you know, brother, I’m not even sure I believe that anymore. And I haven’t heard from him since. So it’s it’s hard to find people to talk this over with, but I’ve been very fortunate through social media to connect with a lot of great people who are going through the very same thing and have actually gone through it and are coming to where they’re starting to rebuild their face. So that’s kind of where I am now. I think I’ve torn everything down and I think I feel like I’m in a process of reconstruction and and the material in the book and the renewing of your mind helped a great deal. And that’s why I just wanted to share it with people. I believe it can help if you really apply the knowledge that’s in there. And again, it’s I don’t think it’s a game changing book or scientific breakthrough or anything, but I don’t know many authors that have taken the science of the human brain and tried to connect it with that verse of scripture be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And so I just felt like that, well, maybe I should just do that and see, see what happens. I know
Elaine Johnston 8:36
a common pain point with a lot of people who are deconstructing and, and having questions is that whenever they come to pastoral figures and people in leadership, you know, coming to them with their questions, and their immediate response is we’ll pray about it or read your Bible or God will show you or will the Bible says this so that’s exactly how you should believe And I’m yeah, hold on to Jesus. And one of the biggest things that I’m trying to learn and understand is that for Jesus works for me, and being, you know, aware that it doesn’t always work for other people and try not to push that on other people, especially if I you I can’t say, well, the Bible says this a believer, but they’re already questioning everything else. And they’re questioning who Jesus is like you, like you said, you know, it’s kind of hard to trust those people in leadership and then especially when those people in leadership kind of go away and kind of disappear because they don’t like your answer,
Todd R. Vick 9:40
right? Yeah, and you know, get right with God. Get your mind right. Go back and read your Bible, things like that. I’ve heard so many times. And a lot of my pastor friends that I graduated from Seminary in college with and we still stay in touch after all these years. They’re not really speaking to me right now. I think they’re just kind of praying that this will pass It’s just been, it’s just been an interesting journey to see the reaction of people, even my own family doesn’t get what I’m going through. And even my wife, I’ve had to really sit down and explain what’s going on. And even she doesn’t always get it sometimes. But she’s very supportive. And I thank God for her and my family. But it’s been an interesting journey to see the responses from people when you even mention, I just read a book by Rachel held Evans, and they look at you like, oh, why, why did you do that?
Well, because it was good. It was really good. You should read it.
But that’s how I started was just reading books. I read a copy. I read the shack a few years ago by Paul Young, and it just completely messed me up in a very good way. But I began to question Have I been doing this right? Because I don’t I don’t see God that way. I don’t see Jesus with the Holy Spirit that way. I see them as being relegated to a book. And nothing more, even when I shared with people that I had read the shack and that they should read it. Also, I got a lot of negative feedback from people on that as well. And then later I read love wins by Rob bell. And that was a very good book and it really put me on a path to deconstruction. And then years ago, a seed was planted by Dr. Stephen a book called grace walk, which I’ve read about 20 times now. It’s just one of my favorites to to just kind of takes the burden of having to be so perfect all the time off of your shoulders. And so all of that combined is really got me on this journey. And I feel like I’m looking at the upswing of it now and things are getting really clear and reconstructed at this point.
Cody Johnston 11:48
Yeah, there’s a lot in your just even in your chapter headings that just show just your heart pouring out to the idea of like people walking away when you do can start and we’re going to get into a little bit of that record product. Want a bit of that here in just a minute. But before we do that, I want to kind of like finish up this this first part of the deconstruction questionnaire, I guess. So what was the question that ultimately got you started on the path of deconstruction?
Todd R. Vick 12:18
The main question for me is what have I been doing all these years? What what has amounted to nothing, you know, asked to leave two churches. I’ve had my life threatened in the past. I mean, for me, it’s been kind of a bumpy ride because I am not much for conformity, which is another part of the book, you know, I talked about, you know, conformity and how dangerous it is, and how I was a victim of that as well. I don’t like the word victim, but I was kind of stuck in that, you know, mode of conforming to try to be like everybody else. And I felt like what I was doing was leading people not to Jesus but leading them to conformity. When I figured that out. It was no surprise to me why so many people Come to the church, get involved, get baptized, and then eventually, they would just kind of fizzle out and we wouldn’t hear from them anymore. And that’s when I realized, you know, this is not real, what we’re doing is not authentic. It’s not helping anybody. It’s not helping them get to what they really need, which is to understand that they are covered by grace, and that God has already provided everything that they will ever need through Jesus Christ. They’re good, you’re good. You don’t have to fumble through life anymore. You’ve got everything you need. And the way we access that, I believe is through the through the mind, we start filling our mind with new information, better information about Jesus about the Great Commission about evangelism about going to church about worship, the whole system, and you start looking at it piece by piece and trying to make it where it’s authentic for you.
Cody Johnston 13:49
Yeah, that’s good. I don’t know if I’m prying too much here but out of curiosity, what would cause someone to threaten your life just based on you questioning or deconstructing
Todd R. Vick 14:00
Yeah, this had nothing to do with deconstruction. It was about me allowing people of color into the church. Oh, back in back in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Yeah, that was that was quite an experience. A man actually came, came down the the aisle, you know, during the altar call time of service. And that’s when he made the threats. He said, you know, we don’t want them here. We don’t want them to bring their friends here. And you need to stop this or I’m personally going to kill you. I believe he would do it. He was the kind of man that would probably do such a thing. So I left and got out of there with the next few weeks, and that there was another time when it was for the same thing at a different church.
Cody Johnston 14:38
Todd R. Vick 14:40
So yeah, racist. Church has just been, it’s awful. It’s awful. It’s epidemic. I know.
Elaine Johnston 14:46
I know. We’ve talked a little bit about racism in church, but never to that extent. I didn’t even know that type of stuff still went on in churches.
Cody Johnston 14:54
Yeah, we had other in Arkansas. And so like, we’re in Arkansas, but we’re in Little Rock. We’re in like the The central hub right words were pretty city I mean, I guess if you looked outside of our house you wouldn’t think that because we live in a field right outside the city but, you know, Arkansas is rural quick but you know, that kind of racism. It’s just it’s it’s unfathomable to people who are like, more engaged in like, I guess Metropolitan society to think like, oh, wow, that kind of racism really still exists. It does. What what part of the Bible Belt Did you come out of?
Todd R. Vick 15:27
Cody Johnston 15:28
South Carolina, South Carolina. Okay. Yep. So you know all about the south and are ridiculous.
Todd R. Vick 15:35
Grew up in the dust Sure did.
Cody Johnston 15:38
Okay, so to kind of change this together, you said you’re on the rebound. You’re in reconstruction now, which is a beautiful place to be and it’s been like probably the biggest My favorite part of my faith journey. So what was that initial inspiration that took you from the downhill slope of deconstruction kind of back into that uphill slope of reconstructing your faith?
Todd R. Vick 16:00
That’s a very good question. Very simple question. I read searching for Sunday by Rachel held Evans. And that kind of got me to the place where, you know what I, I think I’ve had enough of this, deconstructing, I think I’ve thoroughly, you know, dealt with that. And now, you know, that book just kind of helped me get on a path of just sort of reef relocating my place in the church in the body of Christ. And my wife and I found that amazing church, very authentic people. No, showmanship, no silliness. It’s just, you know, me real. The worship leader sings off key. And I think that is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s just there’s nothing perfect about it. It’s authentic, it’s real. And the people that are there, that’s what they’re seeking. It is real, authentic faith. And that’s what I think we found that there and I’m very thankful for that.
Cody Johnston 16:52
Yeah, I have two things. One is a question for you. Another one, just a compliment more than anything taught and at the end of your book, You have a whole section just of books that you recommend. And I just want to say thank you for that, because it shows that you don’t have this scarcity like hoarding resources. It shows your authenticity of like, you want people to go further down this journey. And so we already have some for our readings. To pick like, so. Yeah. Thank you for that.
Todd R. Vick 17:20
Yes. And, and the question, I guess to that is, I’m always interested, whenever someone says, I went through deconstruction, and now I’m back in a church. For one, how different is this church versus what you came from? And then second, what was it like going back into a church because that’s such a scary thing for so many people? It is. And I was scared. I was terrified. Over the last couple of years, my wife and I visited a couple of churches and just did not feel that that’s where we needed to be. They were nice. People were nice. They’re always they’re always nice for a little while seems, but you know, we just didn’t connect with any of them. And then I connected with a pastor friend that I had met years before. And he actually connected with me, he reached out and just wanted to see how I was doing. And so we got together and I started sharing the deconstruction story and yada, yada. And then he said, why you should come to our church, it’s small. It’s a group of people that are just, you know, that have been hurt by church, and they just they don’t want to, they don’t want any of the fluff. They just want to place to come and be a part of a group that is part of their lives as well as, as well as us being a part of, you know, there’s like I said that, right. But it’s a you know, we have life groups that meet once a week, and a few weeks ago, I was going through something very difficult. And so I shared it with the life group, which is something I haven’t done in a long time, shared a personal issue with the church family, but they I mean, they lost sleep that night over my issue, and they were all in with me. And that’s never happened to me before. 30 something years of going to change That has never happened. I’ve always had to put on the mask. I’m okay. Nothing’s wrong with me. My life is perfect. My kids are perfect. My wife is perfect. But this, you know, they allowed me to be vulnerable. And they didn’t take advantage of it. They got into it with me which Rachel spells out in her book, searching for Sunday. That’s that’s what the church is. Its people getting into other people’s lives, their problems, their their, their, their successes, their joys when when you you laugh we are when you’re joyful, we’re joy or when you’re sad, we’re sad. Just because we’re connected to Jesus that way.
Cody Johnston 19:33
Yeah, that’s really good. I love the analogy of the math we did an episode back in like 50 or 40 or 50 or something like that, about that very thing and it was just me kind of realizing like I’d heard the mask sermon a million times growing up in church right because I’ve been in church my whole life and and it’s just one of those things where like we teach people Oh, you put on you got to take off those masks. You know, you put these masks on so people because you’re scared to be vulnerable and like this realization know we put on these masks. Because we’re taught that this is how we’re supposed to look like, it’s that conformity mindset. Exactly. And so I love that analogy, what you’re saying there is like you were actually able to be vulnerable. And I just I don’t know, it always brings me back to that, because that’s something that I have to constantly remind myself is like, I know how to play church. You know, if I go ahead,
Elaine Johnston 20:17
as you say, it also reminds me of how like a lot of churches, not every church just does this, but a lot of churches have the you’re welcome to your signs, but they don’t actually mean it, like you’re wanting to walk into the door, but they want to try to change you and conform you, like you were saying and so exactly, like, reminded me of that.
Cody Johnston 20:33
Yeah. So somewhere on your journey. Obviously, you have a passion, or at least a very deep interest in just the way the mind thinks and works and the the physiology of the minds of the right physiology. Okay. And the psychology of the brain and all that At what point was that in your deconstruction reconstruction, when was that that you started looking into just how the mind operates?
Todd R. Vick 20:59
Like I said, it was During the, you know, the Wednesday night crowd of any church is usually the cream of the crop the people that are going to be there for you. And so I had this Wednesday night crowd, they were, you know, mainly senior adults, but they were there every week, and they wanted to learn. And so we begin a series on Romans 12. One and two. And when I got to the part about renewing your mind, I didn’t want to just give them a fluff sermon, like they’ve heard their whole lives, I wanted to give them something different. So I brought science into it, which I’ve done all my life, quantum physics and mechanics, amaze me, and just kind of a nerd with this stuff. And, you know, reading all this stuff, and then trying to apply it to faith. It’s, it’s amazing. And that was kind of the impetus for the book as well, that, you know, it’s not just about hymns and choruses and sermons and potato salad. There’s so much more going on in the spiritual realm. And our brains allow us to connect to that in a profound way that I don’t think many people understand. And so that that’s where once I started learning that information, I began to realize that this crowd this, they didn’t want this information. And as it turned out, they didn’t want me either they asked me to leave eventually, but you know, my heart just wasn’t in it, their heart wasn’t in it with me. It was just time to go. And I realized then that I probably need to take some time off and figure out what is going on inside of me because I’m just not into this anymore. I don’t want to do it ever again. And that was that was the truth. I didn’t ever want to pastor a church as long as I live and I think you know, from that we transition to deconstruction which transition into right which is I think I’m just going to stick with that for now and go to church with my church family and be like that I don’t need to be the best or anymore
Cody Johnston 22:42
I love the the whole idea of the mind being access and the gateway to God I feel like Christianity is like the only religion out there for some reason. I think it’s because of the whole like Garden of Eden. Oh is the tree of knowledge. I don’t know what it is our weird stigma with just the mind. We’re so terrified of it, oh, you have to renew it. You have to purify, you have to constantly do all these things. And you have to bog down your thoughts and like the idea of mental health, it’s like, oh, that’s not a real thing. Like we have these weird stigmas. And then you have certain groups over here will like, Okay, well, you have the mind chakra or you have meditation and you have the practice of like soloing out thoughts in your mind. You have all these different practices that talk about in the Bible, mind you like this isn’t like unbiblical, or this isn’t some weird, like, teaching that’s out there. You know, this is like, it’s in the Bible that we all like us so much in these hyper traditional church atmospheres. We read these scriptures all the time, just like you were saying, and yet we’re so scared to engage with those scriptures. So what about it? Do you think is the cause of that? Why are we so afraid of our own minds?
Todd R. Vick 23:55
To be honest, I think it has to do a lot with pride. This is how I’ve done it my whole life. And it’s worked for me and I’m not going to change it for any of this new age stuff. All I need is my Bible, my gun, my flag, and I’m good to go. And the people that want more for themselves will will open themselves up to the renewing of their mind and getting better information. Most people, in fact, I think all people, they, they act and they react based on the information that they have at that time. And so what the renewing of your mind was meant to be was, here’s a little more information to help you make hopefully better decisions and have better outcomes in your spiritual life. And think differently about the things that you’ve held so closely to, for all these years. And and and confronting it. And most people because of pride and the other problem is probably just contentment. I like where I’m at. I go to church, I go home, I have my friends. We have a weekly Bible study the coffee shop where we ignore the people that are serving us and don’t tip them, and we’re good. We’re good to go. We go to the concerts, we wear the T shirts, the bracelets, all of that. And we, you know, we read purpose driven church and Purpose Driven Life and prayer and Jay Bez, and all the other Americanized versions of Christianity that we’ve that we’ve gotten our society right now. And we’re just we’re happy with that. It’s worked with me. It worked from my parents were from our grandparents. I don’t see any reason to listen to this nonsense.
Cody Johnston 25:23
Yeah, no, that’s good. We had a friend drop this status. And it was basically talking about how churches are constantly praying for revival but saying it’s not going to look the same way as it always has. And he’s like, we’re over here having it you’re welcome to join. Like you guys think we’re backsliding. This is revival. This is renewing of the mind we’re getting rid of these old stigmas. I it’s amazing to me how much fake goodness and when I say fitness, I don’t mean like people pretend to be fake. I’m just talking like these weird interpretations based on someone’s idea. Hundreds or you know, 100 years ago, at some revival or some, you know, segment of the church where we have adopted this is just like tradition. But it’s not even in the Bible. It’s not even in the words of Christ. It’s not even It has nothing to do with any of that, you know, it’s just completely out of left field, and we take them in as, like their doctrine. And so something that is, it’s disheartening, and it’s, it’s a hard thing to work through is the idea that, like, whenever you start deconstructing, you’re going to get resistance. And I really want to get into the whole the idea of neuro plasticity and what that is, and I think this is a good transition to get into that. We were just talking about how whenever you start deconstructing anything like that people are kind of conformed in their ways. And so you kind of you kind of become an outcast, right, because you’re starting to question these things. Well, you’re going against the flow, what is it that causes people to take offense when we start questioning religion when I even questioning them necessarily, right? But we just start questioning our tradition or we start questioning why do we do this? And people seem to kind of take instantaneous offense to that. So do you have any insight on to why that is and how we can kind of help circumvent some of that rocky area?
Todd R. Vick 27:18
Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with fear. And I don’t think many people would admit that. But, you know, I’m a kind of a sci fi person and one of my favorite movies is Star Trek six The Undiscovered Country. In that movie, they were, you know, talking about allowing another group of people to clean ons into their lives and so many people were against it because they were just afraid of change. And I think a lot of people are just afraid to change and they even become hostile about it. And, you know, neuroplasticity is you know, they’ve been their brains have been sending the same signals for years, and they don’t think they can change it. But science tells us that we can we can learn to change our way of thinking and it actually sends fresh neurons into the brain into the subconscious. And you can change you can start thinking differently if you really want to. It’s it’s something that God gave to us. And the ability to question things started in the Garden of Eden the Tree of Life, don’t take from it. But why don’t we? Why can’t we take from it? Let’s can we taste it? Let’s just see what what we’re missing. And I think people need to ask those questions. What are we missing? What what’s not going on? what’s not working for us? And when we do that people get really, really upset and even, you know, hostile about it. And this is because that, you know, their mind is wired that way. They’ve wired that way for so many years. Back to the where we talked about racism a little bit ago, the first church that I pastor was, we met 500 feet from where the Klan used to meet years ago. And so that the mindset of that community was was it was still embedded in there. And I invited a national promise keeper speaker, Bishop, Larry Jackson to come and share with us he and I become friends and we’re communicating and I said, Bishop, why don’t you come to our church and, and share with us because he really had some great insights and I thought they would really benefit from it. It didn’t even occur to me that he was black. To be honest, I didn’t didn’t even think about that. I thought about you know, what a great speaker he is, what a great man of faith he is, what a heart he’s got. And I had him come and speak with us. After the music. Part of the service completed. Over half the congregation got up and walked out. Oh my god before he got up to speak. And you know, when I would speak to people about that, well, that’s just the way we’ve always been. That’s the way that we’re always going to be and I was a young man back then. So they were just blowing me off on that but I was just thinking, no, no, no, you choose to be that way. You don’t have to be this way. You You are in control. Your mind is not control you you are supposed to control God gave us the ability to do that, to ask questions to to broaden our horizons, he wants us to do that he wants us to find the answers because he wants to give them to us. He wants us to have everything we need and more. And so many people are just afraid to let go of the system that has always worked for them because they’re, you know, the people that went before them, warn them, you know, don’t go against the Word of God or, you know, you’re bringing judgment down on the earth and we’re having a hurricane. You know, you’re in South Carolina right now, where I’m at, we’re not getting anything but the coast of our state is getting hammered right now. And there are people out there that are going to say, you know, this is God’s judgment on the world sending hurricanes and that’s that’s just hogwash. It’s nonsense. Jesus is not like that he there’s nothing in the gospels that indicates that Jesus was raffle or indicative or mean or anything. And people always go back to Well, he cleared the temple. He did that. Yeah, but they were you know, they were trying to make money in the temple. It’s amazing. that there aren’t more people now clearing out the temples because churches as much as they become a money making machine, some of them. Yeah. And then there’s some that can hardly keep the doors open. But that’s that’s what it comes down to. We need to get more people in our church that will tie so that we can pay our bills and pay the staff and do whatever. And it’s less about ministry and it’s more about business. And that always upset me to, you know, the early church in the book of Acts, they they met in houses, they small groups, they were involved in each other’s lives, they shared everything to say anything about building a building and having 500 seats and sanctuary and anything like that. It just, it’s, I just don’t think it’s part of what we’re supposed to be. I think it’s, this is my opinion, and no one else’s, but I just think it’s the American way. We want to start something we want it to be profitable. We want it to grow, and we want us to do what it was created to do. And that even applies to churches. We live in, I live in an area where there’s a church Literally every five feet of the room, and then they want to start new ones. And I’m always asking why do you want to start a new church? There’s so many here already, that probably needs some help. But that’s just the world that we’re in right now. That’s the, that’s the Christianity that I was a part of for a long, long time and even helped perpetuate until I started realizing, you know, I’m not part of this anymore. That was just no longer in my heart to do that.
Cody Johnston 32:27
One of my big got in trouble moments when I was a minister was whenever I had made a comment to a group of ministers how half the churches in Arkansas could close down and not a single person would bat an eye and it probably be better for the community.
Unknown Speaker 32:41
Cody Johnston 32:42
They didn’t go over so well. But, you know, going back to what you were saying about how like churches being these bodies, and they come together and they just they have this one way of thinking and we just we have this one idea this Americanized idea of how we’re supposed to do church. It’s ingrained in us. It’s embedded in us. It’s something that we have done for so long. And then there comes this other group people like, like us who are like, Okay, well, we’re kind of questioning how we do these do these things that kind of ties into like evangelism to me. And we have this one way of evangelizing I just remember I was going to say, you said something along the lines of how like, we’re asking questions, and people say, Well, we only do it this way. But yeah, Jesus said, Ask, seek knock, right. So Jesus is all about asking questions. And so just kind of bringing this into evangelism because I know we talked a little bit about that on our call. You know, of course, we all know the Great Commission, go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them. We have this one way of looking at things is like, Oh, we have to build this church. Elaine, I’ve sat in church services not that long ago, actually, we were trying out of church and, and they had said, like, everything outside of these walls is dangerous. But when you’re in here, you’re safe in my heart, just like broke and I’m like, there’s like 1000 other churches right outside of this church. Like little Really, there’s 10 churches on this one street that loops around this town. And they’re all very large churches. But like, just the implication of that is like you’re safe in here. But everything outside of these walls is just dangerous now to get you and just this whole, right, we had this evangelism approach. I’ve always I’m sorry, I’m ranting for a second to get to my question. But we have this approach where it’s like, if we can just get them in the door, we can get them saved. If we can get them in the door, we can get them saved. And I’ve always kind of stirred up the pot a little bit telling people like it’s not the church’s job to save anyone. Like if we’re trying to get them in the church and I’m saved. That’s just laziness on your part, because for one, now, I don’t even know what getting someone saved means that whole word in general just kind of rubs me the wrong way. But honestly, I feel like I’m saving like the whole saving thing is a lot of times coming from those who are in church need the more more saving than those out. Right, right, exactly. But anyway, so we had this one way of thinking we had this one way of outreach, you think of like evangelism, that the first reaction that kind of comes to your mind is I’m going to go out I’m going to pray with people on the streets, I’m going to minister to them. But every time I’ve been involved in this, it almost seems a little bit forced. Right. And while I’ve seen a couple people actually get something from it right there like a down in the dumps, and they needed that. That physical contact. I’ve seen a lot of people like praying out of obligation just to get someone off their back, or just trying to get away from these people, right, because they’re just creeped out. Like we’ve had a guy come up to someone in a Walmart and lay his hands on this woman who’s trying to shop for bedding, and he’s like, you’re my, you’re my treasure I’ve
Elaine Johnston 35:37
been seeking and she’s like, well, thank you
Cody Johnston 35:39
and just like, runs away. Right? So like, we’ve seen some weird, like air quote, evangelism. What are your ideas to evangelism and just how we’re doing that, versus what that actually is?
Todd R. Vick 35:52
To break it down in my mind. You know, church is a business and evangelism is sales. You can’t run business if you don’t have a product that people need to buy, and so evangelism to me has always been a model that, you know, you go door to door, you do different things, to get people to come and visit your church. And that always bothered me, even though I was, I was very good at it. Actually, you know, my first church, we lead the association and baptism and new members and all this, and I didn’t see what was going on, you know, back then. But, you know, I was just inviting them to, to become a part of the machine to conform. And so my evangelism, you know, that’s what that’s what the ultimate goal of it was, know the methods that I used. When I first started out, we used to just go door to door, and I’d say, Hi, I’m the new pastor here and we’d like to ask you about seven questions. Take a poll in the community, would you mind answering seven questions and they almost always said Yeah, sure. In the first question, something like know what kind of music do you guys listen to What do you see there’s a big need in this community. And then the last question is, you know, if if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity? And that’s pretty much where, you know, we lost them at that point, but, and some would come, but most people are just completely put off. In fact, I spent two weeks in New Hampshire, I’ve been to Mexico. And that’s what I did just door to door evangelism, and just walking up to people and talking to them. And now just thinking about that, it just really makes my skin crawl that I did that, because if I were them, I would be really put off by me coming up to them like that. But, you know, I was enraptured by the, you know, large membership of churches that would, you know, pastors would preach in our chapel services and college and seminary and they would talk about how they do evangelism. And I’m thinking, Man, if I can just get this evangelism thing, right. We’ll have a multi mega church right here in South Carolina. So I was just wrong. I was all wrong in my mind, and you But my my focus in ministry has always been evangelism. But now it’s evangelism, the people that really need to be saved according to Barbara brown Taylor, the people that are in church now that think God sees things the way that they do, that’s who needs to be saved right now, you know, to, to carry the gospel, which is more or less a sales pitch. If you want to go to heaven when you die, you know, sign this card, shake my hand, go into the water, and you’ll be okay. The Gospel now is you Okay, you’re already okay. There’s nothing further that you need to do to accomplish your being okay, Jesus has taken care of it. And, you know, go make the world a better place. So you have a gospel and evangelism is I think we’re really going to see some changes probably next 1015 years on how churches are doing it. We had the seeker friendly thing in the 90s that didn’t work. The Conservative resurgence has failed miserably. In my opinion, and then, you know, the way it’s now we’ve got in my generation fought for these things were drums and guitars and all that church. But, you know, we’ve got that now and Millennials are saying, There’s nothing here for us. It’s just a loud music and there’s no substance and they’re, they’re pulling out. They don’t want to go to church, I have a guy that I know, that’s just completely, almost to the point of becoming an atheist because he’s just not seeing anything remotely resembling Jesus, anywhere. And, you know, this is a guy that were, you know, has multiple tattoos and piercings and all that and some old lady said something to him about it, and he hasn’t been back to church since. And that happens all the time. It said, but, you know, we we talked about evangelism, the place where I went to Bible college and seminary they actually have built entire building based on the Great Commission, where they’re sending people overseas and, and this, that and the other and it’s just It’s not effective anymore. I don’t believe it’s effective. Just going up to people and giving them a spiel. Making them sign a thing says that they accept Christ. It just doesn’t work anymore. It’s not. The evangelism has to be reconstructed, deconstructed and reconstructed. That’s my belief. That’s
Elaine Johnston 40:18
good. And that’s actually one of the biggest things that I’ve kind of been deconstructing myself is how people, you know, leave around church tracks because they feel like if you’re going to read that, then you’re going to get convicted, and then just some of the comic strips are so ridiculous and crazy and full of hate. And then at the end, it’s like, do you know where you’re going? And then just the idea of like, missionary work and going overseas for spring break, and then you come back and like, your life is changed and you have all these convictions and just like, how much of that is, you know, actually pouring into people and actually changing their lives? Or is it just making you feel bad for the things that you enjoy? Or you know how How much of the Great Commission are we supposed to do? How much evangelizing are we supposed to do? If you see somebody you know who ran out of gas on the side of the road, and then you go up to them and help them either get move their truck to the gas station or fill their tank up or whatever? Is it enough to do just that? Or do you have to say, Hey, can I pray with you? God loves you like, what is enough love? What How are we supposed to encompass Jesus’s love? Is it by telling them about his love? Or is it actually just showing them his love and letting that be it? And so that’s the biggest thing that I’m kind of like just deconstructing and thinking about and researching for for myself. Absolutely. What
Cody Johnston 41:45
is what is your perspective on that? What does it mean to make a disciple what is what does that what does all that mean on this end, because I feel like that’s one area we don’t touch a lot of deconstruction.
Todd R. Vick 41:56
We’re so stuck on the on the Great Commission, and I’m not trying to minimize anything. thing, but I’m looking at it differently. Now, you know, the original Greek command in that verse is not go, it’s make disciples. That’s the imperative in that in that verse, the goal is more of an as you’re going kind of thing. So people get that wrong all the time. Well, God told us to go so that we need to go know he’s said, make disciples. And that’s different. That’s engaging people one on one that’s being involved in their lives, that spending time with them, letting them spend time with you trying to be a good example to them, showing them the love of Jesus, and expecting nothing in return for that. I think that’s what evangelism is going to is going to turn into. We expect people to respond. And that’s what we’re looking for the response. We have altar calls after the service because we want you to come forward and respond to the message. And I just think that’s, I think that’s backwards. And I’m not even certain and I read some other information, what you know, in my deconstruction about the Great Commission I’m not even certain that the Great Commission is for us that they could may have possibly been for those people that were there present at the time it was given and and now we have built massive buildings and send people all over the world. And this that the other because of this great commission, and I’m not even sure that it directly applies to what we have today. Obviously, we’re in the tech you know, technology society, we can do video chats and all of that, and maybe going door to door is just no longer the way to spread the love of Jesus. But you know, I believe there’s always there’s never anything wrong with helping somebody if they’re struggling if they’re if they’re stuck on the side of the road. There’s there’s nothing wrong with trying to help people and show grace to them that way. And I think you don’t even have to say anything, it just you show it and they’re like, wow, that’s that’s that’s something that must be you know, that’s like Jesus would do or something like that. That’s definitely some stuff that I’m trying to research now and try to get my head around deconstructing advantage. was maybe that’ll be another book one day. But it Yeah, it’s the way we’ve done it for the last decade, six decades. It just no longer works. It’s not effective. I’m not sure there never was. It’s just not effective anymore, you know, prayed this prayer. When I first went to church, the very first time it was during a revival, I was a teenager. And the evangelist talked about having a relationship with God. Well, I’ve always believed in God, but I didn’t know that I can have a relationship with Jesus. And that’s, that’s what I was kind of seeking was something more real. So I went for it. And they sat me down in the front row, and then they after the service, they, you know, herded us off into a back room. And there was some scary guy with a track called the four spiritual laws. And he made me read it out loud to him, and then signed something. You know, registering for a Sunday school class and sent me on my way is that’s not realism. That’s that’s factory conformed.
Cody Johnston 45:01
Yeah, propaganda and fear tactic. Exactly. Yeah. What you’re saying echoes really strong with just even in James where it says, show me your faith, I’ll show you my works or it says, I want to say it’s in James, I could be completely watching this. I know it’s in the Bible. So you can, you can google me and check this later. If you’re listening and you’re trying to figure out where this is, I may try to throw it in the show notes. But it talks about how like, sometimes it’s best to just keep your mouth shut live a peaceful life to yourself in the Lord. And that’s a better ministry tool. And so like, I’m gonna have to find that I’m gonna have to drop that maybe I’ll come back on at the end and and share where that’s actually at the Bible. So I’m not just spouting off random stuff here without validity, but I love that I love that the idea of showing Christ love and if, if God is an energy, and this is to get a little New Agey, but it’s like God is energy and you’re radiating that energy, they’re going to pick up on that right you’re going to influence that person. You can’t walk into a field of energy and not be influenced by it. Energy, you know, they show electromagnetic waves have impulses on the way our brains think and operate and even down to like people who live in near power plants have certain like mindsets or can actually be more prone to like self harm and stuff like that from some of these scientific studies done back in like, I believe the 70s. And so energy has a physical manifestation in our bodies. And when you’re echoing that, when you’re echoing Christ, which is you know, everything is energy, everything’s a wavelength that’s scientific, that’s not New Age, that’s science. And so whenever you’re echoing the love of Christ, it’s kinda like when you walk into a room, you can tell if someone is out just to try to get your money or say authentically care about you, right? And so, if you, if you are putting that out there, sooner or later, someone’s going to tune in and start picking up on that and that’s ministry that is evangelism right in and of itself, and I just think that’s beautiful. So Elaine had a part that really stood out to her and it was your last chapter. So I’m just gonna let her talk about that. Sure.
Elaine Johnston 47:01
So your last chapter is you can’t pour from an empty cup. And this is one of the hardest things for people going through deconstruction and, and questioning, especially whenever they start leaving church and start leaving those relationships. How do they feel back up when they don’t even know? You know, what they’re searching for what they don’t even know the foundations that they have anymore?
Todd R. Vick 47:25
Right? And that’s why I think it’s so critical that we have a go to person or a go to group or a go to book even just to try to find the answers to that. Because it’s true you there’s no pouring from an empty cup and and if you’re if you can’t help yourself, then you’re really not going to help anybody else because hurt people hurt people. And I think it’s very, very critical that that everybody just take a look at their lives and say, am I fulfilled? Am I happy and joyful? Am I content with my life right now? It’s not perfect. You know, we have our issues, but it’s I like it. I’m And then you know, you’re you’re probably better equipped to help people that are searching for answers and things like that. But if you’re miserable all the time, trying to help someone else, you’re just going to bring that misery to them and that energy to them, and that’s not, that’s not going to really help. And that will find we find that a lot in Christian counseling. I’ve been through it myself. I’ve never been a Christian counselor, other than a pastor, but I’ve been through counseling and I was sent to a Christian counseling and it was pretty much you know, conformity. You know, you need to do this, the Bible says, do this. So let’s work on that this week, and come back next week and see how we’ve done and then I go back and say, well, it didn’t work and that guy would get angry, like, so I stopped going, but yeah, that you’ve got to take care of yourself. There’s nothing there’s nothing shameful about taking care of yourself. God doesn’t expect us to help anybody. It’s we are hurting and it’s we’re hurting, he’s hurting and All he wants is for us to find the truth to find the goodness, the energy, the vibrations, to sort of transcend in our minds and in our prayer lives to connect with something way bigger than anything we’ve ever realized.
When we get to that point, and then we can probably help others, but there’s got to be, there’s got to be a time for you to take care of yourself. And then you know, when when you get a person that’s been miserable for years and get them to a good place, then they still need encouragement to keep them there. And that’s why I think that we who are going through have been through are going through deconstruction. We need a community of people that understand and that’s why I just I’m so thankful for podcasts like yours that offers us something, something to listen to. That we’re like, yeah, that’s what I’m going through. Exactly. That’s my exact question and get something from it. I’ve listened to several wonderful podcasts and hurts Some great, great people that I’ve never heard of before, but I’ve heard of them now Brian’s on red deer, Zach, Keith Giles, people that have been doing this for a while. And there they have the ability to, to help guide us and get us through that to take, take care of ourselves and, and be a part of humanity again, because we’re all energy. That’s That’s just a fact. We’re all energy. If you if you take your two hands and put them together about this close, you can you can actually feel energy between your hands. And we’re all we’re all created with that it’s we all vibrate and the higher our vibrations can get, the more we can encourage and help others that so many people are just they’re hurt and they’re lost and they don’t know which way to go. And they’ve they’ve come to the church looking for answers and they found zilch and still there. They don’t know where to go now. And I’m just thankful that you know, there are people Better stepping up and saying here, we know what you’re going through, listen to our podcast, let us help you, let us encourage you. I just think that’s so critical. And that’s why I wrote renewing of your mind. I’m not trying to start a movement or anything like that. I’m not looking for disciples, I’m followers. I’m just looking to start a conversation that I think need to be started. Why do we think the way we do and if we can confront that, then we can start collecting new thoughts and better thoughts new information, which, like you said, is backed up by science. So nothing in that book was not backed up by science. It’s nothing that I made up or found from some online guru. It wasn’t you know, it’s a scientific stuff. And I made sure that because I’m a stickler for that. But yeah, then answer the question. I’m not sure I kind of went off on a went off a little bit. But yeah, I’m really passionate about that last chapter. Taking care of yourself, be good to yourself, be kind to yourself, treat yourself. And so many times we’re forbidden to do that because, you know, we don’t we don’t put ourselves first we put God first, blah, blah, blah, that’s wrong. You’ve got to put yourself first you’ve got to get yourself in a good place. And if you read comments and things on Twitter and on the internet, which I’ve stopped doing, because I just can’t handle it, it’s awful. There’s just so much hatred and so much bitterness and so many people just, all they want to do is be me. Why? Why live that way if you don’t have to. So that’s, you know, that’s what I’m hoping you know, this book will do is maybe find some of these people that are just bottomed out. And here’s some new stuff to think about. Go for it.
Elaine Johnston 52:34
And let us help. And I know, that has to do with a lot of like a burnout in church too. And just the analogy, if you can’t pour from an empty cup and people in leadership, you know, sometimes overuse and abuse their volunteers because they treat church as a business and they’re like, well, you have to keep getting people on the store. You have to keep evangelizing and all this stuff. But then a lot of people are walking away because they aren’t getting poured back into they aren’t Getting filled? Yeah, because they keep they have leadership and pastors and people keep telling me Well, you have to go go, go, go make disciples go get all these people, but you’re not being taken care of yourself. And a couple episodes ago, we did an episode on the power of know, and learning how to take rest, rest, and understanding that you can be all the things to all the people all the time, like you have to put yourself first. And that you, you know, you can’t help others if you are helping yourself. And so I just want to reiterate that I just love that chapter. I love the title of it. And I just love your heart on that.
Todd R. Vick 53:33
Well, thank you.
Cody Johnston 53:34
Yeah, and in essence, if God’s if we are the breath of Christ, right, we are an echo of God taking care of yourself is actually putting God first.
Todd R. Vick 53:43
I think so. Yeah, exactly.
Cody Johnston 53:45
So Todd, we’d like to end all of our episodes, giving our guests a chance to ask a question. This can be a literal or rhetorical question, but it’s something to help the listener who may be in in a certain position. Maybe they’re having Some of these thoughts to just to kind of think, or maybe a question to ask themselves or something along those lines. And the question we were, I guess going to ask you that you would ask them is, what is a question you would ask to someone who’s wanting to change their thought patterns or renew their minds to create a new healthy habit for their faith?
Todd R. Vick 54:19
The obvious question would be, where do I start? Where do I find help with with that? And then just thank God for Google and all that, you know, you can go online, and so that’s where I found most of my stuff that helped me. Amazon is a good source of wonderful books. There are other sources, of course, but, you know, the question I would ask them is, you know, How much longer do you want to go this way? How much longer are you going to allow yourself to live this way knowing now that there’s a better way to do it, and transformation comes with a price people are often not willing to pay, but if you’re willing to pay the price, do the research. Spend time People spend time in prayer. Whatever you need to do, do it. There’s there’s so much out there for us and just to sit and feel this way without even trying to do better, is just such a waste. And I would just encourage everybody to, to, you know, discover where you’re at and then confront your your thoughts, collect new thoughts and just work from there day by day. There’s no obviously the deconstruction there’s no pressure, you must deconstruct. It’s not like that. It’s, you know, if you’re going through where you just doubt everything, you don’t know what’s going on how much longer you can let yourself go that way. Find somebody find something to help you get started on a better path.
Cody Johnston 55:42
That’s good. That’s so good. Todd, where can people find your book? Where can people find you? Maybe they’re like, man, I really need some coaching. And so they love what you’re saying, Where can he what’s the best place to get connected with you and to get a hold of your new book,
Todd R. Vick 55:57
but the book is on Amazon, and just coming ordered straight from there. I have a website WWW dot tarde avec com. It’s not anything fancy. But there’s information you can reach me through that. And of course, Facebook, I’m all over Instagram, Todd are big on Instagram, Todd avec on Twitter, and just Todd Vic on on Facebook.
Cody Johnston 56:18
Very cool. And we will link to everything in the show notes. So you don’t have to worry about remembering all that you can just go down there and get straight to him from the show notes. Todd, thank you so much for this conversation. And we greatly appreciate your time.
Todd R. Vick 56:32
Thank you This. This has been wonderful. It was really nice talking with you. And thank you for having me today.
Cody Johnston 56:38
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Todd, thank you so much again, we thoroughly enjoyed having Todd on just everything that he had to say was so timely with what conversations Elaine and I were already having. And I don’t know if you guys remember this or not, but about 20 minutes ago I had made the comment how I would pop back on at the end and share that verse. I knew I wasn’t crazy. It’s not in James, its first Thessaloniki 411. And I’ll just read this real quick and aspire to live quietly to mind your own affairs and to work with your hands as we instructed you so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one interesting verse. So you can rewind and recap on what I was saying and fit that back in where it goes. But Todd, thank you so much. Go find him on all
Elaine Johnston 57:26
his social media, go read his book.
Cody Johnston 57:28
Yes, go grab a copy his book, support his work. He’s doing amazing things. And I love that he hasn’t like my heart. He just wants to start honest conversation. Also, we had a really fantastic final five, where he just ran down a few really just powerful tips on if you’re starting your deconstruction journey or you’re in the middle of deconstruction, how to really just grab a hold of the idea of renewing your mind and just these three practical steps to take to grab a hold of some good thoughts and get some good stuff in your life. So I would highly encourage you to head over to the reckless pursuit.com forward slash subscribe, hop on our email list and we will be sending those out all through the week we’ll be sending out a copy of that. So you can also grab a link for that in the show notes. Guys, if you haven’t done so, so far, we urge you to go up there and hit that rate and review button. We thank you for just honestly reviewing the show. It helps us to know how we can serve you guys better what you guys like and it helps other people who may be curious in the show know what we’re about ahead of time. Those reviews matter to people who are just scrolling by We love you guys and as always be brave, be bold and be reckless. We’ll talk soon
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