When I served alongside Rick Blackwood as executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami, I was honored to preach/teach a third of the time. Because we shared the teaching, we would regularly compare notes to ensure we knew where each person was going with a text or topic.
For a season, we worried about repetition. The conversation could easily become “Oh man, I was going to drive home that point…can you leave that for me to address?”
But we came to the conclusion that we were unnecessarily worrying about repetition, that repetition is good. God often uses repetition to drive His truth deeply into people. The Scripture is loaded with holy repetition (for example, the Gospels tell the same story from different vantage points, and Romans and Galatians both emphasize the inability of the law to transform). The reality is that the core doctrines of the Christian faith must be taught over and over again. The mission of the church must be articulated over and over again. From a practical vantage point, if you have listened to a sermon or read a book more than once, you always walk away the second time hearing/reading something you did not catch the first time.
Not only in sermons…
In leading teams, setting direction, and executing strategy, repetition is good. Max De Pree once compared leadership to teaching third grade. They are both about saying the significant things over and over and over again.
Repetition is good, but contradiction is terrible. Rick and I carefully guarded our unity because we knew nothing would divide quicker than contradictory messages.
Contradiction can disable a team or divide the energy of an organization into a plethora of directions. Contradiction dilutes who you are, violates your values, and leaves people confused.
Understand this: repetition and contradiction are both powerful forces. The former unites and reinforces. The latter destroys and erodes. Repetition is your friend. Contradiction, however, is one of the worst enemies you will face.