rebelling against low expectations

The Importance of Competence


The Importance of Competence

One of the clear themes of the Rebelution from the beginning has been what we call the Three Pillars of Character, Competence, and Collaboration. All three are necessary for the Rebelution movement — and any rebelutionary endeavor — to be successful in impacting the world for the glory of God.

Looking back, however, Brett and I have realized that while we’ve talked a lot about the pillars of Character and Collaboration, we haven’t focused as much on the pillar of Competence. That will be the purpose of this series.

We have stressed (and always will) the importance of character — and as each of us practice and grow in Christ-like character we will desire to reach out and show the love and beauty and excellence of Christ to a lost and hurting world.

Our hope is that our generation will not only build that kind of character by faithfully doing hard things, but will also have the vision and the competence to match it.

In the dictionary, the word ‘competence’ is defined as simply “the ability to do something successfully.” However, we use it to refer to more than just ability, but to results, because the life of the rebelutionary is a call to do and to act.

As rebelutionaries, neither character alone nor competence alone is our goal, but both together. To have character is to love God, His Word, and your fellow man. To have competence is to demonstrate that love for God and fellow man by your actions, and to take the truth of God’s Word and bring it to bear on His world.

To have character is to be grieved and angered by evil, corruption, and suffering in the world. To have competence is to do something about it in such a way that the world takes notice and gives glory to God.

Unfortunately, in a society increasingly devoid of character, the Christian church is increasingly found to be devoid of competence. As the need for Christian action rises, so must the level of competence. As rebelutionaries, that is our charge.

To be continued…

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Great idea for a series! You’re totally right, we need to emphasize competence along with character. I’m looking forward to the upcoming posts! 🙂

  • Excited to see where the Lord leads as He sharpens our understanding of this Rebelution-ary Message in regards to competency! It always has saddened me a bit to see Christians seeking to copy and imitate the world (Contemporary Christian Music, books, even our churches being corporate business models) rather than allowing the Gospel to distinguish itself and ourselves from the world… righteousness reflecting on the corruption of the world is not possible if we aren’t true to the Gospel (character) and the Church’s accountability (collaboration). If the Spirit be in us, imitation isn’t necessary– we ought to be setting the standard of excellece for others to follow!

    In other news, WOW!! 949 books pledged for the Amazon Bomb! That’s 1,898 in all! God is so glorious!

  • Wonderful post! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. You’re right, character is foundational, but we want to show the WORLD what Christ-empowered, Bible-believing, expectation-breaking teens can do! (Oh, and good math, Ryan. 🙂 That is amazing, isn’t it?)

  • I look forward to reading this series. One thing I’ve found is how a good night’s sleep is directly related to mental competence…in fact, I was just watching a news segment that said after several nights of only 4 hours of sleep, studies have shown that imparied functions are similar to the mental affects of the consumption of alcohol. Perhaps Rebelutionaries may be challanged to do the counter-cultural hard thing of getting enough sleep. 😀

  • Question,
    Does Competence mean that if we do not succeed in all we try, we fail to be worth anything in the kingdom? In example, if we witness to a friend for a long time, yet he/she still refuses to accept, are we worthless, incompetent?

  • Dear Alex & Brett,
    This really encouraged me:)…thanks so much! It’s so good to know that there are other boys and girls out there who have the same vision…
    By the way, you two are twins, right?:) Just asking because I’m a twin myself!

    Your sister in Christ

  • This post was really great, I can’t wait to hear more. It reminded me of a quote I once heard…
    “All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.”- anknown …

  • To answer your question Annie (in my opinion), God has told us to go out and share the Good News, and if that is what you are doing, than you are doing what God has told you to do. Also, we can’t save people. It happens through the Spirit, and we cannot control the Spirit. If God has chosen them to be one of his elect, than he will save them. All you need to do is plant the seeds. God will use you for his purposes.

  • I agree with Kole, Annie. If I’m not mistaken, Alex and Brett were not saying that competence is success in everything you try. They meant it in a “be doers of the word and not hearers only” type of sense. For example, we have been told to witness. We have been given all the tools we need in order to witness. Therefore, our competence is going out and witnessing and practicing and using those tools we have been given. Our competence does not hinge on whether that person gets saved. In fact, part of our competence may actually be whether or not we give up when we encounter failure in the things we are doing.

    That may not have been the best example…but am I right?

  • Ehat does a competent Christian look like? Do we look like a competent Christian in our own walk with God? This is a question we must all ask ourselves, and sadly I think i have failed thus far. I am looking forward to the rest of this series to help me in that respect.

    Annie, Competence is actively witnessing to them, not attempting to witness to them. If they accept, then that is good, if they do not, then it might not have been the right time. The key there though for the competence is the action of witnessing, not the results. You stepped out and shared. You did what you felt like God had put upon your heart. It does not seem like you need to worry, at least in that respect

  • I agree with you Josh. We can’t just try once and then say ‘Oh well, I tried.’ We must persue and be actively sharing. But we leave the results up to God.

    I must say I have failed horribly also.

  • Hannah: What state do you live in? My little sister was looking over my shoulder and she said, “Is that Hannah Williams?” I said, “duh… that’s what it says!” (Yeah… not very nice of me) Anyhow, she reminded me that we know a Hannah Williams that I had completely forgotten about. I don’t think that you’re the one we know, but I thought I’d better make sure. 😛

  • P.S. I know this is off-track, but I’m still wondering which of you guys are older…
    I’m 4 minutes older than my brother, which is GOOD thing because if he was older, I would be called “Little sister”. 🙂 ( I don’t call him ‘little brother’, though.):) May God bless you in all that you do!
    In Him Who is our Savior,

  • P.P.S(Sorry for commenting so much!) 🙂
    I was just wondering what you think about John Piper’s book,’Desiring God’.
    I ‘m just wondering because ‘You know who’ didn’t like it in one of the last blogs. My father read part of it to our family recently and I think that he liked it.
    Your sister in Christ,

  • Lanie: Alex and Brett seem to want to keep us in suspense, but Talitha Piper said that Alex was older. I’d assume that she knows. 😀

  • Dear Emily,
    Thanks for your reply! 🙂 I think that Alex is older ,too because his name is first…
    Your sister in Christ,

  • So true! Nailed it on the last paragraph. Christians talk about “Godly Character” but we have problems living it out. Thank you!

  • I certainly admire the action you have taken. Especially since so much of the youth in our country is looking for guidence, for a way to make a difference in what EVERYONE can see as failure in the generations preceeding to take action on issues that are relevant to our existence in Gods creation. I heard of your blog, book and intentions on the radio. As I stated the intention is admirable, but and I say this in all humility, it is Very important that we seek guidance from other more experienced believers, that we use the experience available to us, and hopefully avoid error. I site a relationship that sorta mirrors this situation, that being Paul and Timothy. Timothy accomplished alot, but was guided by Paul, until he was ready to take action. So to end this. I would submit that COMPETENCE without experience could be a recipe for disaster. Pray/Seek Gods guidance, and then be humble enough to accept the help provided. I’m not saying any of you who read this don’t already do this, but for those that don’t…

  • It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  • TY a ton for posting, it was very informative and helped tons.. This is probably one of the best mentions of this topic I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s obvious that your knowledge of the subject is deep and this made for a very interesting read. Amazing Added Added.

  • Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate it!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →