158: Sam Collier: Expanding Your Box: The Power Of Belief, Knowing Yourself, Mentorship, And Discovering Purpose Through A Greater Story
God has a greater story in store for everyone. We just have to strive to know ourselves and discover our purpose in accordance to His plan. Nothing is impossible with God if we just believe. Pastor, speaker, writer and TV and radio podcast host, Sam Collier drives this powerful message home as he sits down in this interview with Thane Marcus Ringer. There is so much to learn from this conversation as Sam and Thane talk about the power of belief, knowing yourself, finding your purpose, the secret to success and the importance of mentorship – all of which are beautifully elaborated in Sam’s book, A Greater Story. Plus, Sam gives his take on the racial divide and racism in present-day America.
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Sam Collier: Expanding Your Box: The Power Of Belief, Knowing Yourself, Mentorship, And Discovering Purpose Through A Greater Story
This is a show all about learning how to live a good life. We believe that it takes living with intention in the tension. What does that mean? That means infusing intentionality into all that we do, a reason behind what we’re doing. That is the journey and emphasis of this show as we walk through life together as fellow Up And Comers. What that means is we’re on the process of becoming, we haven’t arrived and we hopefully never will because we can learn our entire lives. That is what this show is all about. Thank you for being a part of the Up And Comers community and being a fellow Up And Comer on this journey. It’s great to have you here.
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Our episode is an interview with Sam Collier. He is a pastor speaker, writer and host of A Greater Story with Sam Collier TV show and radio podcast. He is a speaker and host at North Point Ministries founded by Andy Stanley. He also communicates nationally and internationally as a speaker and contributor to the ReThink Group, Orange Network, Orange Tour, Alpha International Leadership Conference, Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Culture Conference and more. He has also been interviewed on numerous TV shows, podcasts and radio programs. Sam lives with his wife, Toni and their daughter in Atlanta, Georgia.
That’s a little snippet of this man who does so much. He’s an amazing voice and spirit in this society. This is a shorter interview as he’s in the middle of a book launch and a lot of PR with that. We didn’t have as much time as we normally do. He is very generous with his experiences, his wisdom and shared so much even in the shorter episode. We talked about purpose and having to try stuff and experiment. We talked about success happening in circles. We talked about some of his favorite failures and things that didn’t work out. We talked about mentorship and the importance of having and seeking out mentors in your life. We talked about expanding our own boxes.
We talked about his advice of maxing out and not burning out, which is helpful. We end by touching on our cultural climate in America with race and the racism that has existed within our country and the effects of it. Sam has a breadth of knowledge and an energetic spirit that is sure to inspire you and others. Please enjoy this interview with Sam. If you want to find out more about his book, his podcast and all the things, go to AGreaterStory.org. You can find him on Facebook, @SamCollierTV and on Instagram, @SamCollier. Please check them out and get a copy of the book as it’s going to be empowering for you. Without further ado, please enjoy this interview with Sam Collier.
Sam Collier, welcome to the Up And Comers Show.
If I’m on the show, does that mean that I’ve made it?
Are you talking about arrival?Success is inherited, not created. Click To Tweet
Have I arrived like up and coming? Am I next in line? What’s happening?
That brings up a good point. What does it mean to you when you hear an up and comer? What does being an up and comer mean to you?
I hear that and it sounds like when LeBron was in high school. He was up and coming. He’s the next. Kobe Bryant getting right out of high school, rookie in the NBA, the next one in line. Jordan is still the King, but Kobe is on the way.
A lot of the heart behind this show is that I listened to a lot of podcasts. I loved them but a lot of them are from people that have “arrived.” They’ve reached the destination. They’re speaking from that place retroactively on their life and experiences. I wanted to start a show about people that are in that journey and still moving towards that goal. We can be lifelong up and comers, learning our entire lives. That’s the heart behind this. I loved that’s how you wanted to start this thing out. Speaking of professional basketball, I want to hear a little bit about how you would describe your goal. From what I’ve heard and research, your first goal was professional basketball being the next LeBron or at that time, probably the next MJ. It was then the next Usher. I’m curious what that next is that you’re pursuing.
I went from next to, “Who am I?” God did a stripping of my dreams. I remember when it was. It was right around the Usher phase, the Christian Usher phase. I was walking down the street in Pasadena. I feel like He said, “Would you trade your dreams in for mine?” It was in that space where the goal switched from being the next, whoever or following in the footsteps to, “God, who do you want me to be? How do you want me to be? Where do you want me to be?” That’s when I threw my hands up and said, “If you want me to work at McDonald’s, if that’s the purpose that you have for me, that’s where I’ll go.” I am chasing after myself now. I’m chasing after who God made me to be and chasing after the kingdom, but whatever it is that God made me to be, I’m chasing after that, so chasing God, chasing me.
That speaks to a lot of what your work is on and a lot of what I would love to hear you dive more into, in the sense that discovering who you are is such a monumental task for most people. It takes a long time and it’s a constant process that we’re in. How would you describe that process that you’ve gone and helped take others through in the sense of discovering who you are? It’s not that one day we wake up and all of a sudden, I know who I am. There has to be an intentional, like you did, asking, “I have God ask you, will you trade your dreams in for mine?” Going through that journey with him, but talk to me a little bit about the process of self-awareness and discovering your identity and your purpose.
Andy Stanley said it best when asked the question about purpose. He said, “Sometimes you have to try stuff and figure out what you like, figure out what sticks to you, figure out what doesn’t stick to you. As you’re doing that, some things will stay and some things will go. Even when I first got with my wife, and I know we’re talking more about marriage later, she was in a process of discovery. I’m like, “I’m going here. I’m doing this. God has shifted me.” I’ve now constructed some roadmap around what God has already provided. I always think the whole faith without works thing. It’s a delicate dance because you’re asking, “God, what do you want me to do?” You feel like you get a vision, a leaning or a leading from Him. You’re like, “Let me try to put some structure around it to be a good steward of what you’ve given me.” It’s then a little bit, “I’ve got to back up a little bit because now you’re coming back in and you’re shifting me again.”
I had constructed this world based on what I felt God was showing me. When I got with my wife, she was at the beginning of that process. I’m asking her about, “What world have you constructed that?” She was like, “I’m still figuring out what I want my world to be or what I love.” I had my whiteboard out. I’m writing stuff down. I’m like, “Tell me your passion and tell me this.” We were there for an hour. At the end of the hour, I said, “You might still be on the playground. You got to try to monkey bars out.” She was like, “That’s where I’m at. It’s been an hour.” I’m like, “It’s fine.” With all of that being said, she’s tried a lot of different sports. She’s been in a lot of different stages and she’s done that.
She has arrived at, “I want to enjoy this but I also think I’m called into this.” One of the things that I won’t talk too much about her because I leave it for her. She’s like, “You’re talking for me.” I would say that she has a brand called Broken Crayons Still Color, which was interesting. I had A Greater Story and then she had Broken Crayons, which was phenomenal. Within that, it’s a ministry focused on young women and helping women that have felt broken, which has probably every woman and every man. We all felt broken in some way. It started to pick up. With that, I remember in the beginning, she was like, “I’ve never connected well to women. I don’t know if I know what to say to women, but I feel like they want to hear from me.”
She was in this weird place of like, “I don’t know if I want to build something for women.” Now, all her life is women. She had to get out there and figure it out. That was a long answer to your question about purpose and about discovery. You got to get out there. You got to try some things. I’ll say this as a caveat that at some point you do have to make a choice or a decision on what is sticking and what’s not. A lot of us get on the playground and we would want to stay there. You can’t stay on the playground because somewhat we find comfort in stability. For some of us, instead of choosing, I’ll keep jumping because the idea of jumping has now become stable. We’re running away right from what we would see as the unknown.
There’s a great book. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, but I found that to be a helpful resource. It’s all about when to quit and when to stick. It’s short but it breaks down that idea beautifully. You have to try stuff. It is about experimenting. I want to come back to marriage and we will in a little bit. Do you have a favorite failure or an experiment that didn’t stick that helped you discover what you are called to do?
I failed at some things. Let me go ahead and say that first. This is not me going, “I’ve never failed.” I’ve failed. I’m trying to figure out do I have a favorite failure? I write about this in the book that came out, A Greater Story. It’s on Amazon and all that. This is coming out a week after the book dropped. I’m extremely excited about that and honored. In the book, I talk about this defining moment. It is that moment where I said to God, “What do you want me to do?” I was doing music, Christian Usher. It was one of those moments where it didn’t make sense to me why it didn’t work beyond. God shut this door. I got to the highest of the music industry, Motown, Universal, Interscope, Alicia Keys.
How old were you at the time?
I was 19, 20. I remember sitting in the President’s office at Motown, in New York City. I’m in an iconic city at one of the most iconic labels in the world. You don’t go up from there. She had broken her leg. She’s got this cast on. Whenever we think about wealthy CEO women, they have a little dog. She had a little dog. She’s carrying the dog around. It’s like I made it. All I needed was the dog. The dog is here. I’m good. I’m ready. I’m singing for her. I’m like, “This is it.” You do showcases and music. You usually are doing them with the A&R. With the A&R, there’s a vice president of A&R. There is the Executive Vice President of the company, the General Manager and then the President. To get a yes done, you’ve got to make it from one level to the next. I’m at the highest level. I’m like, “She could say yes right now and my life will change forever. This is it.” I got my guitar. I’m giving it everything I get when I’m singing for her.
She said, “I love it.” I’m like, “This is it.” She said, “I cannot sign you.” I’m like, “Why?” “I love your look. I love the music. I signed someone like you. I cannot sign an identical.” We know what that is. When you’re on a label and you’re in a business, it’s like, “I need to get a pop star. I need a country star. I need an R&B.” It doesn’t make sense. “I’m going to sign the same artist?” I’m like, “Maybe it’s a male. She can get around it.” She pulls out a picture. She’s like, “Look.” The man looks exactly like me. It’s the same age as me and plays the guitar. He hadn’t come out yet. She had already signed him. That was one failure, but this was the biggest one.
This was my last attempt. This was the one that broke the camel’s back. I had given up. I’m like, “I’ve been to the top. It didn’t work.” This happened three times for me. I’m like, “It didn’t work. I’m done.” My manager was like, “Come on, let’s do one more.” He said, “I will bring out all of Atlanta.” Every music industry executive in Atlanta will come in. I’m in ministry now. He’s like, “I’ll bring Michael Jackson’s attorneys here.” I said, “I’ll give it one more.” He does it. He brings the entire music industry scene out to my showcase to see me. I’m from Atlanta, so these are the people I’ve been trying to get meet. I have dancers, I have a full band, everything. I get to the venue and they’ve taken the microphones. There are no microphones in the building.
I’m like, “Where are the microphones?” I don’t know if you heard Babyface, but Babyface was a huge R&B star. He’s like Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, some of the largest R&B stars. They say Babyface has come and he needed the mics. We had to give it to him last minute. Babyface takes my mics. I don’t have microphones. I cannot perform without the microphones. We had to go down the street to another studio and rent mics from another studio and bring it back. We get back to the studio. Every executive in Atlanta is in the room waiting to come in. The mics don’t work with the system.
They’re not compatible. I don’t know if you ever heard of squealing mic. The mic is squealing all over the place. My dancers are walking out of the door. I said, “Where are you going?” They said, “We’ve got to go to another showcase.” I’m chasing them out. I’m running down the middle of the street. I run back. The microphones aren’t working. It’s squealing the entire showcase. Everybody’s off beat because we can’t hear. It’s the worst showcase in my life, big failure. That was the moment I gave up and said, “God, it’s obvious you’re doing something.” That’s a favorite failure.
You’ve done quite a few interviews. You have your own podcast, which is also worth listening for everyone reading this. One of the ones I heard, you mentioned a quote where you said success is more inherited than it is created. I loved that line in that concept. I’d love to hear some more on that idea from you and how you’ve been able to maintain a patient persistence in your work even from informed from some of those failures and how God’s worked through those.
The idea of success being inherited than created is I thoroughly believe and I have a concept. Maybe I’ll write about it one day. I believe that success happens in circles and not squares but circles. I say circles because there was a moment in my life as I was pursuing success and wanting to understand the inner workings of how it worked. I had a moment where you got to all these seminars. You hear about, “Make your plan. Do this, do that.” I said, “I don’t know if that’s the only thing that works or nor do I know if that is the secret.” I do think that’s a part of it. It’s one thing to read about it. It’s another thing to do it.People that change the world aren't special. They simply refuse to believe in defeat and the impossible. Click To Tweet
It’s one thing to watch people swim. It’s another thing to get in that water and go, “The backstroke doesn’t work well for me. That’s not exactly how you do.” As I started to try all of these different things from reading books, I said, “There’s some things that you’re not telling me here.” You do these things to try to create it. What I realized was that the last 10% that they didn’t tell you about was that you could make all the plans in the world, but if you don’t get in the right circles, you’ll be planning and planning. At some point, you’ll get tired or you’ll give up because the dots won’t connect.
I realized the circles for me was this age-old adage of, “It’s not about what you do, it’s all about who you know.” I said, “For me to get where I need to, I’ve got to meet the right people.” As I started meeting the right people and fighting for them, I started getting in their life and they started bringing me into their circle. The next thing you know, success started hopping on. I was like, “What is happening?” An example of it is I’m doing a lot of big things in ministry by the grace of God. I could lose it tomorrow, so I know it’s not me.
A lot of people are looking at me, “You are in a lie. What has happened?” I don’t deserve it all. I started with Bishop Eddie Long, which was a 25,000 African-American church. Usher would be in there all the time, Tyler Perry, all the other people. One of the biggest things is when I stepped on the stage with Andy Stanley at Andy Stanley’s Ministry, which is a 40,000-member ministry. On the front row at any given campus, because it’s one of the largest churches in the city and it is focused on executive, you’ve got the President of Home Depot. You’ve got Vice-President of Chick-fil-A. If they’re not there, they’re watching online. You have all these influencers and people from around the city that come in and people start going, “Who’s that guy on stage?”
Let’s say I was doing the same thing at a different type of church that didn’t have all of the influence that church had. Maybe it was 200 members, maybe it was 100 members and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I could be doing the same thing at a different place and have a different result. That’s my point. You can be the best basketball player in New York City, but if you don’t have the right agent, if you’re on the right team, if you’re not moving with the right people or even the right strategy, nobody cares that you’re alive. There are people in New York right now better than Michael Jordan, better than LeBron, but they didn’t have the strategy nor the connections to put them in the same room or in the same rooms that LeBron was.
I was listening to a story from LeBron and some of his teammates, him and his agent, they grew up together. When they were in school, he had a choice whether he was going to go to the majority white school, the majority black school. He said he realized that the majority white school was going to help him get positioned to go to the league in a greater way. He chose the white school over the black school because of where it was positioned. As he did that, he soared. Success happens in circles. It’s more inherited than it is created. What is inherited?
It’s the idea of, “You didn’t create this, you stepped into it and it fell on you because you were in the right place at the right time with the right people.” If I were to give advice to anyone, we talked about this idea even in A Greater Story. I know I wrote a lot about that in the book. It is to fight for the right relationships. I would venture to say that if you don’t feel like you’ve gotten where you want to get, one of your biggest issues may not be that you’re not talented enough or you don’t have the right ideas. One of your biggest issues might be that you’re not in the right place. That’s what I say.
Fight for the right relationships. How would you encourage others to fight for the right? What does that look like? We all know the unfortunately bad stereotypes of people. You see a lot of this in places like LA where all people care about is, who you know and what you can do for them. That’s not the right way to fight for relationship, but how do you encourage others? How have you fought for relationships in your life?
Once I realized that relationships were one of the biggest keys, I started to prioritize it over many things. I remember I had a guy who’s an incredible pianist and producer and needed him in my life. I said to him one day, “Can you mentor me? Can you take me under your wing?” He was like, “I would love to but I don’t have time.” I said, “Please. I will cut your grass every day for free. I will babysit your kids to be in the same place with you.” He was like, “What?” I said, “That’s how much it matters to me.” He said, “You don’t have to do that. Show up next week.”
He said, “The reason I did it was because I knew that it mattered that much to you and it was going to be a good investment. I get people ask me all the time, but what are you wanting to do?” I give you another example. He’s a big mentor of mine who is a UN ambassador. At the time, he ran an organization called SESAC in Atlanta. His name is Cappriccieo Scates. He’s worked with everybody from Michael Jackson to Beyonce, all types of people. I remember coming to his office, asking him to manage me as an artist at the time. He later became one of my biggest advocates when I stopped doing music and went more to social activism and ministry. He helped me a ton, but it’s because we had relationship.
I asked him to manage me all the time and he said, “No.” He said no to me twenty times. I kept showing up and sitting in his office. He ends up managing me from afar. I would come and sit in his office and go, “What would you do if you were in this situation?” The next thing you know, he would open up doors and we became good friends. Now we’re the best of friends. He’s a mentor and now I’ve helped him out spiritually on some different things. We exchange. He’s one of my biggest business mentors. I’m one of his biggest spiritual mentors. I write about him a ton in the book and what he did for me. Even more that I’m not sharing. He’s a UN ambassador, but we’ve been in relationship forever. I fought for that even down to sitting for hours and waiting for years.
That’s one of the things I’ve heard a lot from you in different interviews and through your podcast, A Greater Story. Your book is the role of mentors in your life and you’ve had a plethora of them throughout your life. How do you encourage others in pursuing mentorship or what do you see is the value of mentorship?
We talked about this idea of circles. There were several things that we started to help people with as we had a nonprofit several years ago. One of the goals was to sit down with different young adults and help them think through how to be successful, how to connect the kingdom principles to their life, how to get a dream out that God had given them. One of the things that we started noticing is we had our five-step plan. You had to have a plan. You had to have a strategy. You had to do all of these different things. Even after some of them would do that, it’s the circle principle of getting at the right place at the right time and the right people.
We noticed that the last piece for them many times was that they did not have someone in their life that had done it before. It’s different talking to someone or being led or mentored by someone who is excited about what you’re doing or thinks that they know how to get there. The difference between them and someone who’s done it, who’s been there. You podcast, if somebody was trying to train someone on podcasting, but had never done podcasting, you say, “No, this is how Skype works. This is how Zoom works.” The blue mics, you would be able to call a spade a spade and without having to be there and someone could tell you what’s going on. You could diagnose the problem over the phone and go, “Here’s what I did.”
You’re like, “It’s the secrets that you get from doing.” The best teachers are the ones who have done it because they can tell you, “I know how it feels to do that pivot. I know how that feels. I bet you feel like so and so when you do this.” That doesn’t come from me reading, even though you need to read and have knowledge. That type of wisdom doesn’t come from that. It comes from experience. There are secrets that you learn only from doing that pale in comparison to not. Mentorship is everything. If I had to give a top five. I would give it a two.
I’ll give one to figuring out the direction of your life and what you want to do and figure out what God is saying because without direction, you don’t know which mentor to get. I will give it a very close second. The next thing you should do is find someone who has been there. Some people are going,
“My dream is to be the next Tony Hawk.” You’ve got to go find Tony. They’re like, “What?” How much does it matter to you? This is when we start getting into success. When we start talking about success and the idea of accomplishing a dream, people like to make it all mystical.
What else God will do is He’ll open the doors. Many of us don’t see God do the miraculous in our life because we don’t believe He can do it, believe we can do it or give Him the opportunity to do it. What I try to tell people is I’m like, “When did you learn that life was in this box?” For some reason, we’ve built these ideas about life that is “I can only get from this place.” Many of it is because some of us are from small towns or from small thinking families or from whatever. We grow up with this idea of life in a box. We miss out on the possibilities. The people that change the world aren’t special. They refuse to believe in defeat and the impossible. I love what Will Smith said. I’m not counting Will Smith as a Christian, but I do think we can learn something from his mentality.
He was in an interview once and said his dad taught him about doing some big things with the family. Jada, his wife said, “What did you learn from that?” He said, “I learned that nothing was impossible.” When you look at Will’s life, I’m not getting into the details of his origin or even if he’s a Christian, I am saying he believes that nothing is impossible. Whether he’s a Christian and let’s say he’s not a Christian. We don’t know. Let’s say he’s not. How was he accomplishing all of that without God? Could you imagine what we can do with God? For many of us, we let people in culture that are not following God out believe us. How is it that the people that don’t know the creator of the universe and have success?
I always give the story about Jesus in the boat with the disciples, the storm breaks out, Jesus is asleep. They wake him up in a panic. Jesus looks at them. He says, “Where’s your faith? You have little faith. You have the creator of rain in the boat with you.” We have the creator of success, opportunities, industries, gifts, talents and money and we somehow are limited in our understanding of what we can accomplish. Think for a minute. We think too small and because we think so small, we then go and demonize those that are in the kingdom that think big. We try to make it about prosperity. It’s like, “No, he believes in the impossible.” God met him at his level of faith.
We know the talents about the man that took 5 and turned it into 10 and turned it into 20. What did we learn from that? We learned so much, but we learned that God is a God of growth. We learned that He wants to increase our territory. If we live small, we’ll never get the greatest story that God has. That’s why we wrote the book because people are not living in their greater story and they should, but it all goes back to belief. I want to grab people by the face that are believers and say, “Nothing is impossible with God.” You cannot go around his wheel, but there are many things that are within his wheel that are at your grasping for you, but because of your low-level thinking and what he can do through, you stay in a box. Don’t get me started.
I want to hear from you personally. I love this idea of expanding our boxes and blowing up the small boxes we find safety and security in. What would be a box that you’re currently expanding within your own life perspective or outlook.We will defeat racism in our generation if we work at it. Click To Tweet
It’s a lifelong journey that you can get now. It doesn’t have to take you that long. It is constantly going, “What can God do? How do I position myself at the optimum level to do that?” Specific to duplication, I’ve been thinking a lot about the internet and what the possibilities are. This is before COVID-19. This was when we rolled up Netflix and jumping on Disney. I have come from some circles or I’ve been involved in some circles that have a little bit of that small thinking. For me, it’s believing that God can do so much more than what we think He can do. He wants to do it. It’s been filling my life with people that are doing it that are even at my age. There are a couple of examples and God is getting the glory. I’ve been focusing on rebuilding my circle so that I can get more people around me that are thinking at the highest level.
We talk about the 5 to 10, how to take this 10 or this 5 or 1 that’s in my hand and building actual systems and strategy around it to get the messaging of Christ, the messages of purpose and the messaging of A Greater Story out to more. I told my PR coming into this process that I want to do as many interviews as possible. We did 50 interviews. I didn’t even realize it. It is a great question. I want to max out and not burn out. I want to push myself to get everything that’s in me on the outskirts, out of me. Bishop T.D. Jakes and many pastors have said that the graveyard is the wealthiest place in America. There are people that die with potential on the inside of them, books, dreams, TV shows, businesses, nonprofits, churches and all types of amazing things that the Lord had put in their hands or that He had deposited in them to be delivered to the world. They didn’t max out. I want to max out.
Max out not burn out is a great rally cry. I want to touch on diversity in your work in that space because as you’ve said and in other places, your background is so unique in your ability to talk and connect and reach two sides of the fence. Coming from 25,000 predominantly black church, and then going into an equally big white church primarily and being able to communicate on both sides of that racial divide that we’re experiencing a resurgence in the focus on. I’m excited about that. What is that experience in your life taught you? How have you experienced race in America? It’s a core question here, which is a very big question. Are you encouraged or discouraged about where we’re at in our country and in our culture?
I am more encouraged than I’ve ever been. We’re starting to finally have the conversation that we were supposed to be having the entire time. The history books have not been good to us. I’m going to go a little deeper than what I usually go on this. What people have to hear and understand is that when you have 400 years of oppression, 200, 300 years of slavery, you don’t get rid of everything in 70 years of move from Jim Crow era. It is easy to believe in our generation.
I want to take us back a little bit. I don’t know if you go back often in your mind, but when you study that era and you studied the era before that during slavery, there was a spiritual wickedness that was so deep and dark that was overtaking people. It was insane. You know it because we’re talking about it. A lot of my white friends’ grandad was in that era and great granddad. My dad’s still, there are some. Racism is a sickness. What we have to understand is that sometimes we underestimate where people were back then mentally. They were upset with black people, very dangerous and diabolical.
Look at the history. Whenever you talk about it, my white friends, they get so nervous. They hate what happened. To be that diabolical, you set up systems that would keep some of this stuff going on. What people have to understand is that there have been systems set up from long ago that were very strategic and they’re still making it now. There’s a reason that they leave that side out of the history books. It’s so that we repeat it, so that we don’t know what happened, so that we act like it didn’t happen. There can be a sense of no accountability so that we don’t fix the things that were put in place. I’m more hopeful now because this is the conversation we need to have.
What I want my white brothers and sister and everybody to understand, no matter what color you are, it’s like we got to finish the job and we got to know how diabolical this stuff is. We have to begin to wrestle with, what it’s going to take to do it? We’re doing it now. We have what I call a breakthrough over these last couple of months. As it pertains to the idea of racism and the racial climate in this country, and I want to speak prophetically and say that we will defeat this in our generation if we work at it. We put everything we have on the line. We will write the wrongs of history. We will change this. We will shift it dramatically for our kids and our grandkids.
What people have to understand is America is browning. By 2040, they’re predicting, there will be no more majority in the country. That means your kids are going to be marrying minorities and vice versa, which means that your grandkids are going to be mixed. They’re going to be black. What kind of world do we want them to live in? You can’t control who your great grandkid marries. You can’t control it. Why would you want to? We got to get in the business of preparing this world for what it’s going to be and getting it to a place where we finish the job that many have tried to stop, not in this generation potentially, but from previous generations. It was a system set up long ago to take us all day and to keep us separate. We’ve got to fight against that.
I’ve been having my eyes opened a lot to this, which I’m thankful for. A couple of books I’m reading right now, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and another book called Tell Me Who You Are, which both are phenomenal, but especially for people who are white, what would you recommend for resources to get a better education to start moving forward from?
I would read any book. The New Jim Crow is a great book. Brian Stevenson, he’s in the movie, Just Mercy. He’s an attorney. Equal Justice Initiative is his nonprofit. Get any book that he has. Anything he writes is incredible. White Fragility is a great book. There was a book by Latasha Morrison called Be the Bridge. I’m giving you authors that if you’re white or mixed or from another culture, and you’re trying to read something that meets you where you are and brings you forward in a much more nuanced and massaged fashion, those are some great authors to start with. They’ll walk you into the conversation. From there, there are some hard books talking straight at you. Start with them because they give you truth, but they massage it into you, so it’s great. That’s what I’d say. I love A Greater Story. A third of it is me talking about growing up black in America.
Who is A Greater Story for and give us the snippet of what it will bring when you read it?
It’s for three audiences. One, for the people that find themselves in a mess and are in need of a miracle. It walks you down the pathway of how to prepare your life to receive the miraculous because God is still in that business. Also, it helps you understand how God turns a mess into a message and into a miracle, especially in the time of COVID-19 when we need Him so bad. It is for those people. The second group is for people that are asking the question, “What is my greatest story? What’s my purpose?” You’ve been asking that question for a long time and you cannot answer. It’s a hard question to answer. I went on a three-year journey to discover the answer to it and we found it
I can confidently say we found it. We spent three chapters on it, but the whole book is about it. Read it and I promise you this, you will get a lot closer if not writing in your purpose. You will discover it. It’ll be like a light bulb. We’ve done it so many times. Finally, it’s for any person that is wanting to understand what it means to grow up black in America. We spend a large time on explaining and resources and all of these things in research that we’ve done. I grew up on Auburn Avenue across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on the same street that MLK grew up on. It’s close to Martin Luther King’s daughter. I wrote about her in the book. It gives you so much of that. We didn’t write the book on race. I’m black. I grew up in the black world. To tell my story, I have to tell that. That’s who it’s for. You’ll get all of those things when you get it. It’s not about making money, but it is about helping people that feel locked up. There is A Greater Story available for all of us.
The last question, Sam, that we ask every guest on this show is if you could send a morning text reminder to every up and comer out there, a short message from you that they’d receive every morning, what would you say and why?
I would say your belief must be so strong in yourself that it trumps everyone else’s collective disbelief. Pick your friends wisely. It’s usually not anyone else’s fault that you aren’t where you want to be. It’s usually up to you.
Sam, thank you so much for taking a bit of time out of your hectic schedule with this launch. I’m excited to see how this book will bless others. Thanks again for coming on and sharing your story and a piece of it here.
Until next time, we hope you have an Up And Coming week because we out.
Following up with one last thing to note, if you would like to get a curated list of all the content I’m learning from, whether that be books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, quotes I’m pondering or even some sermons I’m enjoying. In-Thane is a monthly newsletter that brings vetted content that I know you’ll enjoy. Just go to ThaneMarcus.com/InThane to sign up and you’ll be sure to receive the very next one. Each edition of In-Thane is released the first Sunday of the month. This is a once a month newsletter that I hope you enjoy and benefit from as much as I have. Here’s to learning and growing one day at a time.
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- Sam Collier
- Broken Crayons Still Color
- The Dip
- A Greater Story
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Tell Me Who You Are
- The New Jim Crow
- Equal Justice Initiative
- White Fragility
- Be the Bridge
About Sam Collier
Sam Collier is a pastor, speaker, writer, and host of the A Greater Story with Sam Collier TV show and radio podcast. He is a speaker and host at North Point Ministries, founded by Andy Stanley, and he also communicates nationally and internationally as a speaker and contributor to the ReThink Group, Orange Network, Orange Tour, Alpha International Leadership Conference, Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Culture Conference, and more.
He has also been interviewed on numerous TV shows, podcasts, and radio programs. Collier lives with his wife, Toni, and their daughter in Atlanta, Georgia.
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