Since coming to St Stephen’s six months ago, I’ve been struck by many great things about this parish – including the number of people who’ve been attending church here for 20, 30, 40, 50 years (or more!). So my ears pricked up as I recently heard a talk by a pastor called Kevin de Young on the topic of ‘the church’. The talk introduced me to a wonderful phrase: the ‘plodding visionary’.
I hope quoting part of this talk at length will encourage you.
“It’s easy to blast the church for all her failures. It’s harder to live in the church day after day, year after year, with all of the ho-hum, hum-drum, and to slowly and consistently make a difference. What we need are fewer ‘revolutionaries’ and a few more ‘plodding visionaries’.
“Along with all the necessary pleas to be earnest and intense and radical, I also want to wave the banner from Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise the days of small things.” That is what I mean by being plodding visionaries.
“If you are a visionary, you don’t have your head in the sand. You’re going somewhere. You’re looking out. You’re moving in a direction. But you are a plodder – one foot in front of the other.
“Our generation in particular is prone to radicalism without follow-through. We want to change the world and we have never changed a diaper. You want to make a difference for Christ? We need plodding visionaries. Get on the right road and keep going.”
God will use all kinds of people and all kinds of gifts to build his church. But among those gifts, let’s be thankful for ‘plodding visionaries’ – people whose patience, perseverance and long-term commitment to gospel ministry so often forms the backbone of the church! Keep plodding!