When You’re Sick of Saying It, They’ve Just Heard It

J.-D.-GreearToday’s guest blog comes to us from J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina and author of Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send.

I once heard a story about an old grandfather sitting lazily on the porch of his country home with his grandson, his six dogs lying underneath the porch. About a hundred yards across the field a rabbit darted out of a bush, stared back at the house for just a second, and then darted back into the undergrowth. One of the dogs perked up, let out a short bark, and took off across the field. Immediately, the other five dogs jumped to their feet, yapping excitedly, in hot pursuit of the first dog.

The grandfather said to his grandson, “Son, let me tell you what is about to happen. In about ten minutes, them other five dogs are going to come back, one by one, heads hung and tongues out. In about thirty minutes, that first dog will come back with the rabbit in his mouth.”

Sure enough, that’s what happened. The grandson asked, “How did you know?”

The grandfather replied, “’Cause that first dog, you see, is the only one who actually saw the rabbit. The others were just running and yapping because there was some excitement.”

Like those first five dogs, a lot of people in the church get swept up in the passion of a good sermon and start to yap and run … one by one, however, they come back, heads hung low, tongues out, clamoring for the way things used to be. Only those who have really “seen the rabbit” keep running until they catch him.

The only thing that enables members to push through the weariness of the constant inconvenience required for change—the only thing that sustains the motivation to sacrifice again and again—is glimpsing the vision of what could be.

Repetition of the vision, in multiple mouths and multiple levels, is crucial to effecting change. Among our staff, we often repeat this plumbline: “When you are sick of saying it, the leaders in your ministry have probably just heard it. When your leaders are sick of hearing it, then everyone else has heard it for the first time.”

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyMinistry, Preaching

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