Story Session 7: David Wenzel

David is a Media Strategist from Grand Rapids. Working as a concept developer for Process and DOT+CROSS (NOOMA, Trombone Player Wanted), David also speaks to organizations regarding information trends, technology, creativity and the impact that the Millennial Generation will have on the future of business and communication.

Become an Authority, Not an Expert

  • I want to talk to you today about a journey I’ve been on.
  • I work with a company called Dot and Cross.
  • The beginning of Dot and Cross was on September 11, 2001. We were shooting the first Nooma video with Rob Bell that day.
  • In 2001 we were creating a new type of media that people could understand, and they could watch on their own, in their own home.
  • Since that time we have started working with other people.
  • We work with these experts in different ways. I got an opportunity to attend an expert conference in San Francisco. I didn’t know that the first type of question I was asked was, “What type of expert are you?”
  • I’d say, “I’m an expert in making other experts.” Which is totally lame. So I changed it to “I’m a kung fu expert.”
  • There are a couple things you need to know about being an expert:
  • Know information
  • The authority with which you speak. Whenever you speak just pretend what you’re saying is true.
  • Present a contrarian viewpoint. This is a subversive way to set yourself apart as an expert.
  • A surprised guest showed up at this conference. Tony Robins.
  • As an expert he wanted to present his contrarian view, and he said, “Experts are stupid.” “Become an authority.”
  • When he speaks, he has a soundtrack that goes with him. When he gets to a really moving point, the soundtrack from Braveheart starts playing.
  • This whole idea is to forget about experts, and become an authority, really stuck with me.
  • An authority is someone who is experienced, has witnessed something.
  • I went and talked to another one of my clients, Josh Ship. I said, “I don’t have a story.”
  • I was expecting some motivation from him, be he just said “I’m sorry.”
  • If this were a story, what happens next?
  • It happened that night. I went back to the hotel room. Someone says, “What are you an expert in?” “Kung fu.” He came at me to create a fake hotel fight. I turned and hit my head on this pillar. I turned around and nothing would come out of my mouth.
  • I really freaked out and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and couldn’t let it go. In the middle of the conference I had a seizure. I was unconscious for 30 minutes. I went to the hospital.
  • I learned that I had a giant tumor in my head. Takes up about 25% of my brain, and it has been growing for 10 years. How is that for an incident.
  • They tell me it is inoperable.
  • God made it clear that I shouldn’t do conventional medicine, God told me that he was going to heal me. This takes a lot of faith.
  • Am I healed? I have a giant tumor in my head, but I have faith in God.
  • Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
  • There is one common thread in these stories in the Bible. All of these stories are crazy, yet we love them. We don’t live these crazy lives, but it is in the Bible. I am crazy, I believe in a God who does this.
  • There is another common thread. How many of these people were experts? None of them. They obeyed God.
  • God didn’t choose experts to carry out the Gospel. He chose witnesses, the obedient.
  • God uses obedient people, not experts.
  • I’ve been telling my story for 10 years. But it has been my story. A story of my hopes, my dreams, my passions.
  • God pushed pause on my life and said, “David, you can keep telling your story, or you can start telling mine.”
  • Are you willing to obey?
  • We really like stories that have good endings.
  • We prefer not to talk about the ones that have good endings.
  • But we don’t live a life like that.
  • We don’t get to see the big picture, we don’t get to see the ending.
  • We are experts.
  • We get to choose what we do with our hearts, minds, and hands.
  • God says to us, “be like my Son.” Jesus says, “I do what my God tells me to do.” So we have a line of obedience.
  • Something you should remember is that you are an expert, but if you don’t have the authority by Jesus Christ to do His will, then you are really just telling your own story.
  • Luke 6:46 at the end of the sermon on the mount. Jesus ends it by saying “Why do you call me Lord Lord, and not do what I tell you?” Why would you waste your time calling me Lord Lord, and not do what I tell you?
  • We are a group of experts that are so dedicated to following our hearts, that we don’t even want to obey anymore.
  • Our goal if we are interested in this Gospel, is to bring it to this earth.
  • The kingdom of God doesn’t come through talk but through power.
  • We are experts, we are good at what we do, but sometimes we completely forget that this is all about the cross of Christ.
  • If you operate only in talk, and not in power, and that power comes from authority, and you follow that, then all you are doing is talking.
  • Do not let your desire to become an expert storyteller overcome the power of God in your life.
  • I don’t want to lead a silver, where at the end I say “gold and silver”
  • Whatever you’re doing is secondary to your personal story, and if you’re personal story is not about obedience, then you have no authority and you are on a road to becoming the next best expert.
  • God, I want your Gospel, not my gospel.
  • “If you are not being led by the Spirit, what are you being led by?”

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