The other day, a parent in our church pulled me aside and said, “I have to tell you this. Last night when we were reading our Bible stories with our son, he took the Bible from our hands and said really loud, “This is God’s Word for God’s people. Hear it, believe it, and live.” Then she patted my arm and walked off laughing.
Here’s the joke. On Sunday mornings, after I read the sermon passage, I hold up the Bible and say, “This is God’s Word for God’s People. Hear it, believe it, and live.” I’ve said that same phrase every Sunday for over twenty-three years.
There is always a lot of discussion among leaders about how often something has to be said before our congregations hear it. While we don’t have all the answers to this, here’s what we do know. Saying something once doesn’t work. The first reason is that on any given Sunday, there are several members of your church who, for whatever reason, aren’t there. The second reason is that of those who are there, half of them aren’t listening.
It just has to be said a lot. The experts disagree about how many times—some say six times, some say more—but we all agree it’s more than once. Here’s what I’ve learned. The number depends. What does it depend on? How important the message is.
If it’s an announcement, once or twice will do. But if it’s vision, as a leader you say it every time you speak—in one way or another.
In every sermon, in every address, you always find a way to talk about the vision and/or a significant strategy needed to accomplish the greater vision. How will you know when you’re successful in this?
You’ll know when your people start using your words to describe the vision.
And how long does that take? I don’t know about you, but it took me every Sunday for twenty-three years.
What about you? How do you work to communicate your vision? How long does it take you?