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Let's Hear It For Plodding Visionaries
by Tom Goodman
March 10, 2011

Hillcrest is a church of plodders.
Thank God.

Kevin DeYoung introduced the term "plodding visionaries" to the blogosphere:

It's sexy among young people -- my generation -- to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church....  [But] what we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries.  That's my dream for the church -- a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders.  The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God's glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.

Instead of falling for the mirage of overnight revolution, plodding visionaries know that the kind of change Christ brings comes through a long obedience in the same direction.  And that means joining a congregation and sticking with it even when you find her dull, predictable, and oh-so-imperfect.  "If we truly love the church, we will bear with her in her failings, endure her struggles, believe her to be the beloved bride of Christ, and hope for her final glorification," he says.  "The church is the hope of the world --  not because she gets it all right, but because she is a body with Christ for her Head."

To close out his "Next 2010" conference message on this subject, Kevin DeYoung gave a list of suggestions for how to be a plodding visionary:

  • Find a good local church.
  • Get involved.
  • Become a member.
  • Stay there as long as you can.
  • Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
  • Join the plodding visionaries.
  • Go to church this Sunday and worship in Spirit and truth.
  • Be patient with your leaders.
  • Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
  • Bear with those who hurt you.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Say "hi" to the teenager that no one notices.
  • Welcome the old ladies with the blue hair and the young men with tattoos.
  • Volunteer for the nursery.
  • Attend the congregational meeting.
  • Bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everybody else.
  • Invite a friend.
  • Take a new couple out for coffee.
  • Give to the Christmas offering.
  • Sing like you mean it.
  • Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
  • Enjoy the Sundays that "click."
  • Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don't.
  • And in all of this, do not despise the days and weeks and years of small things (Zechariah 4:8–10).

Here's to plodding visionaries.  May our tribe increase.


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