The following is a modified excerpt from Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send. If you’d like more, be sure to pick up a copy of the book today!
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.