Creative Leadership

A Saved Turkey is Still a Turkey

When people have a dramatic salvation experience and step into the Christian faith, we often expect an immediate, corresponding dramatic change in behavior. After all, according to scripture, they’re “new creatures” right? But time after time, we don’t see that immediate change, and as a result, get frustrated and often just give up on them – or worse, criticize them as frauds.

But the truth is, even after a powerful encounter with God, people still carry the old habits, thinking, culture, and behaviors that have taken a lifetime to create. While their intentions, inner life, and priorities have changed, they still carry a lot of the old life around for awhile.

So remember: a saved turkey is still a turkey.  If they were jerks before their encounter with Christ, they may default to that behavior for awhile afterwards. That’s what “discipleship” is about. Transforming a life over time after the salvation moment, and bringing it more in line with God’s purposes for our lives.

So cut the turkeys out there a little slack. Don’t be so surprised or offended when a recent convert acts like a turkey.

Hopefully, change is coming….

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  1. The Bible says we should “work out our salvation” and it takes a whole lifetime to work it out. The default behavior you speak of in your article Phil is something all humans are wired with. Even when we walk a perfect line enabled by God’s grace and His transforming power in us in one area, doesn’t mean we’ll never be tempted or guilty of walking out of line again. Hopefully it’s a learning experience in line-walking. New converts do and say all kinds of things that make us do a double take on the inside, but we should REMEMBER our own behavior when we were first converted. REMEMBER where we came from and what God rescued us from. REMEMBER to extend that same grace towards others when they’re acting like the very turkeys we once were…. And sometime still are. Good REMINDER Phil!

  2. One of the greatest problems in not recognizing the “Turkey Principle” is that many church cultures, while elated over the conversion experience, fail to execute good discipleship which includes true mentoring and coaching rather than just another class called “discipleship training.”  Worst yet, this kind of culture encourages people to quit “acting” like Turkeys instead of actually being transformed.  This leads to the wearing of masks that create the veneer of transformation while actually inhibiting it. Eventually the veneer cracks and then everyone wonders what happened.

  3. Exactly. Jesus’ disciples were pretty messed up people – what made them disciples were when they simply decided to answer his call of “follow me.” Then, when the Holy Spirit filled them, they matured. They became apostles as we know them.

    But of course, we reserve “apostle” for someone REALLY special, who starts more than one church.

    Sometimes I just think we’re clueless.

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