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September 16th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

25 comments (+ Add)

The Most Important Word

In many cases, the word “no” is more important than the word “yes.”

To say “yes” to the best things, you’ll have to say “no” to the good things.

In ministry, you will be overwhelmed with many good opportunities. But if you say “yes” to all of them, one day you won’t be able to say “yes” to the most important things.

Just because you could do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.

It may sound odd, but if you want to do more to make an impact, it often starts with the word “no.”

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  1. Sep 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Sounds a whole like the tyranny of the urgent vs. what is important. I find myself way too often doing the former and giving only a half-hearted effort to the latter. All because I couldn’t say “no.” Good thought Craig.

  2. Sep 16, 2010 at 6:24 am

    To rephrase an old comment I’ve heard: “the good is the enemy of the Godly.”

  3. Sep 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    It’s so hard when people have certain expectations of a pastor and you say no. I just had to explain this to someone last evening. I knew I would be somewhat misunderstood and I hated it.

  4. Sep 16, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I often teach this to my student leaders, but being in ministry leadership over the last year I’ve found myself not listening to my own words. I’ve pulled the “God wants this or He wouldn’t have presented it to me” card out so many times. Often times though, I’ve found I busy myself with the business of God and missing out on the will of God in things.

  5. Sep 16, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Don’t forget… this will tick people off. I say “no” to good things all the time. Even when it’s the best thing to do, it gets people upset. And sometimes gets you in trouble.

  6. 6Damo Stephenson
    Sep 16, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Saying “yes” can often be a case of the ‘Messiah Complex’ where webthinknwe need to save the world (or at least everybody in our world). But we are not called to do everything, be everything and save everyone; we are called to help people meet the Saviour in the area of influence God has given us. Sometimes, if we say “yes” to everything we rob others of chances to serve God.

  7. Sep 16, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Good thoughts. Just had a conversation yesterday with a friend who is professor and an author who told me he needed to start saying no to some of the offers to write books because his quality was be sacrificed as he tried to meet deadlines.
    It is ironic- he told me has to say no now to those things that are good so that he can give his best.

  8. Sep 16, 2010 at 8:26 am

    To say “Yes” to one thing means you might have to say “No” to many things

  9. 9Wes Traweek
    Sep 16, 2010 at 8:49 am

    This is so true. And sometimes the “good” can disguise itself as the “great”. You have to be very discerning to determine if it is His plan that we are contemplating.

  10. Sep 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

    As a leader, this is something I struggle with often. I want to be the go to guy, I want everyone to think I’m the one person they can always trust to fix their problems. This has often come back to bite me when I find myself dedicated to one person and I lose my effectiveness as a leader overall. I often forget that the person with the problem might gain a good deal of knowledge by trying to tackle it themselves. Or better yet there may be someone who is developing as a leader that could really grow from an opportunity to help. My sin here is vanity; No one can do it as good as me or they don’t have the skill to understand the problem completely. Despite my best efforts, I cannot protect everyone from everything and a little hurt goes a long way in growth.

  11. Sep 16, 2010 at 9:41 am

    There have been times when I have been asked to do something I felt was not within my sphere of competence and was surprised at the very fruitful results.

  12. Sep 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Craig, can you give some examples of this from your life.

  13. Sep 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Acts 6:2, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.”

    There is nothing wrong with waiting on tables but to the 12 the ministry of God’s word was more important.

    I agree that we have to know when to say no and also I would add that we should delegate when possible.

  14. Sep 17, 2010 at 1:07 am

    If people can’t tell us no then their yes is meaningless.
    Love to ask the question: What no have you been postponing in your life?

    You’re right. Our inability to say no, leads us to a coping mechanism to blame exterior circumstances for why we won’t do something outside the norm. Our inability to say no, leads us, and the people we lead, to ask the worst question we can ask ourselves. How? Because How? is what we ask, when we already know the answer.

  15. Sep 17, 2010 at 9:25 am

  16. Sep 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    [...] Craig Groeschel on The most important word in ministry leadership. [...]

  17. Sep 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    It has helped me immensely to say no to things like TV, talk radio, news, and other time-sucking distractions. I’ve been able to be way more focused at home and at work.

  18. Sep 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Forget the word NO. I am looking for some help from you all out there. I started pastoring my church about two years ago. The church was in termoil at that time but not much dealing with people. Financial/building issues dominated. We have settled most of those issues but I am having a hard time getting people to get involved. I have been praying for God to reveal some leaders. I conducted a 13 week training with some selected couples that showed potential in leading. (They said yes) All but one of those couples have left the church. and that couple has yet to get a small group going. I am even having a hard time recruiting leaders to form a greeter team. There is a lack of shared passion that I feel from God to serve in this community.Help!

  19. Sep 21, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Church planting on limited funds is a challenge and you have to learn to say “no” early and ofter. Lately I have been filtering every yes/no decision (for our culture, mission, and finances) through this set of questions. 1. Does it help us reach more people? 2. Is it beneficial for our current church family 3. Can it wait?
    If it’s a Yes/Yes/No then there is a good chance we are going to try to implement it, buy it, stop it, copy it, or work it.

  20. 20John Bryan
    Sep 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I’ve been kinda job hunting for some time, and said no a couple of times. Going to be something better, God says so. Nice offers, electrical engineering. Would have to go online to see LC! Ugh!

    BUT have an interview in Tulsa, next Monday! Yea! God is so good.
    Best, John

  21. Sep 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

  22. 22Jairus Roark
    Sep 23, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Emotions = Yes
    God’s guidance = No and Yes
    I believe giving something a lot of thought and prayer before making a decision is vital even if it seems like it is a good/God thing. I have caught myself multiple times saying “yes” to things based on emotions, not on His guidance/direction. I can imagine this is a lot harder for a pastor though because your faced with “It’s all God’s work”. I like the comment “if you want to do more to make an impact, it often starts with the word “no.”” True, True

    Nice words brother!

  23. Sep 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Great thought. I run into trouble feeling like too many no’s leads me to a state of inactivity. I am trying to learn to hear God better so that He provides the yes or no, and I hear clearly enough to know it’s Him, not my subconscious desires. Any suggestions?

  24. Sep 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

    [...] The Most Important Word is… [...]

  25. Sep 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    this is a simple truth!

    it’s not easy but it is simple!

    I first heard this in Craig’s “Margins” series.

    A great post Craig, thanks for being true to calling God placed in your heart and owning it in such a way that inspires other young leaders.