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Consistency is the name of the game

Planting Churches Is Hard Work

My college lacrosse coach loved to work over the officials during our games. He stayed on them from the first whistle to the last.

When it came to this “gift” of his, my teammates and I considered him a professional. He even coined phrases to get under the officials’ skin. My favorite one he used every game was, “Hey ref, you are consistent in that you are inconsistent!” I am convinced to this day that his badgering hurt our team more than it helped.

Even though the phrase was not directed toward me, I have often reflected on how inconsistency can define all of us — not just “bad” officials. Horace Smith says it this way: “Inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent.” Regardless of how consistent we intend to be about what really matters in life, all of us still fall short at times.

We’re already several months into 2022, and I’m going to guess that some of our hopes, goals and resolutions for this year have already crashed and burned. It’s time to go back to the basics — again. This year, let’s make consistency a hallmark of our lives. It can be difficult to execute, but without it, we won’t accomplish much of value.

Inconsistency leads to a breakdown of trust and a delay in growth. It sets a trap taking us one step forward, two steps back. But consistency leads to continuous forward progress. With consistency, we become steady, reliable and persistent. Consistency impacts every aspect of our lives:

  • A great athletic performance is built on consistent training.
  • A great marriage is built on the consistent expression of love and appreciation.
  • A great business is built on the consistent execution of solid principles and practices.
  • A great ministry is built on a consistent commitment to integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence.
  • A great life is built on a consistent pursuit of daily walking with Jesus.

A consistent life leads to both internal transformation and external influence. Consistency is one of the common ingredients of an uncommon life. When we believe the little things will become big things, we understand the power of consistency. When we do the little things right, we will see big life changes.

Little things always become big things!

When I joined FCA staff in 1990, a mentor gave me Dr. Richard Swenson’s book Margin, and it rocked my world. Several years later, he wrote the sequel Overload Syndrome, which had the same impact. In his sequel, he examines 16 kinds of overload and provides practical prescriptions to restore margin. In one of the chapters, he gives powerful advice to someone who is questioning God’s will when it comes to staying or leaving jobs, churches, neighborhoods and schools. His answer transformed me.

He tells readers to get a handful of apple seeds, plant them in the backyard, and stay put — don’t change jobs, switch churches, move or change schools until they can yield a bushel of apples from the tree that grew from their planted seeds. Once they can yield a bushel, if they feel God wasn’t working where He had planted them, then they had a green light to make a change. That will take 10 years!

Once I read that, God immediately revealed to me that consistency is the key to life and ministry. This word drives me to keep showing up every day. I put my hand to the plow, and I don’t look to the left, right or behind.

I define ministry in 10-year increments, so every 10 years I ask myself what bushels I’m yielding and if God is still working where He planted me. If the answer is yes (which it has been), I put my head back down and keep plowing the field.

This is why I have been with FCA for 31 years. The apple trees that have grown from seeds I planted in 1990 when I joined FCA continue to bear much fruit. Praise God! I want to be consistent by showing up for others and see God build a ministry from a strong foundation of faithfulness. That’s the power of consistency.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).

Paul always nails it when it comes to challenging followers of Christ to be consistent and fully committed to the Lord’s work. Throughout his letters to the Church, he writes about bone-crushing discipline, eye-popping faith, out-of-bounds generosity and walk-through-fire consistency. It is unnerving, heart-piercing and downright convicting. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, he encourages Christians to do four things: stand strong, be immovable, excel in Kingdom work and trust in God for the results.

Let’s pursue consistency and experience the staying power God wants for us this year. A consistent life always leads to an obedient life, and an obedient life always leads to an abundant life.

What is one thing you will do consistently each day that will lead to the biggest benefit and blessing? Consistency leads to a life of peace, purpose and power. Let’s give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because we know our labor is not in vain. Remember: fruit always comes from a consistent life, even when we can’t yet see it.

Dan Britton is the Chief Field Officer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has served FCA since 1990, and since 2013, has led FCA’s international efforts, traveling extensively around the world, as FCA works in 92 countries, training thousands of sports leaders, coaches and athletes.

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