After a few visits to Angola Prison, I was stopped by an inmate on the yard who said, “Are you the guy they call ‘Doc’?”  “Yes,” I said, “that would be me.”  His reply was pretty straight forward: “They say you are for real … you got street ‘cred.’”

That is extremely important when you work in situations like this.  As I have learned, “you cannot con a con.”  And somehow I passed their test … simply by being who I am.  And by coming back!  Today when I stand in front of a group of guys down there, I can say, “How do you know I love you,” and they will say in return, “Because you keep coming back.”

Here are few random observations about credibility.

Credibility is earned over a long period of time.

Credibility is not about what you do or what you say.  It’s about who you are on the inside.

You cannot demand credibility.

You cannot fool the people closest to you forever.

Your ministry will have lasting impact in direct proportion to the integrity of your own life.

The great enemies of credibility are pride, arrogance, isolation, and excessive self-confidence.

Ironically the more gifted you are and the more successful you are, the easier it becomes to fake your way through life.

Credibility once lost is very difficult to regain.

What qualities mark a person credible / authentic?


Willing to admit your faults.


Kindness under pressure

Accountability in the small areas of life

Willing to answer hard questions

Quick to take blame, quick to praise others

Not taking yourself too seriously

Knowing your own limitations

Not blaming others for your own problems



Handling anger appropriately

Not offended when others get the credit you deserve

Keeping your word

There’s another word for living like this.  We call it INTEGRITY.  How are you doing on your “street cred”?