by Shawn Lovejoy
What I am about to tell you may shock you—I was the fastest guy in my high school. Well, four knee surgeries ago! On my high school football team, I played wide receiver.
I was what they call a “fast twitch” guy. Fast twitch runners do better over short distances. Slow twitch runners do better over long distances. As a fast twitch guy, I could beat almost anybody in the 40 Yard Dash.
However, don’t ask me to run a 5K … or God forbid a marathon! Long distance running is just not natural. I don’t understand those people!
When it comes to running, all of us are either fast twitch or slow twitch runners. That’s a good thing for church leaders, because in ministry we’re always running and we’re always in a season. Think about it.
We just finished the holiday season. Next comes the New Year kickoff series. Our team is already prepping for Easter. Then it’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, followed by Fall Kick-Off, and then holiday season again! Are you tired yet?
You and I are always running in ministry. There are times when we must speed up and times we must slow down. But what if I told you that it’s not enough to run? What if I told you that not everyone who runs wins? What if I told you that it’s easy to run and still be disqualified?
I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to run in such a way as to get the prize that Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 9:24.
Running to win requires:
- Strict Training: Too often we want the fame of game day without the pain of training. In order to keep pace we must train when no one is watching. We must put in sweat equity every day, not just on the big days. There’s no silver bullet or easy way to do ministry, you can’t plant and harvest on the same day. We have to keep training and striving toward the prize even when we don’t see any fruit.
- Faithfulness: Training and self-discipline isn’t fun, but we can’t wait for the ideal conditions to train. If we are faithful where we are right now, we will win later. Training in every season and all conditions prepares us to run our race to win.
- The Right Race and the Right Pace: It’s easy to get sidetracked into someone else’s race or pace. The comparison trap on social media can easily take us off our course. Running too fast or too slow can also have a negative impact on our ministry. We believe the faster we accelerate the more impact we’ll have. But if we run too fast, we’re headed for a head-on collision with the wall. Run too slow (lacking clear vision or paralyzed by decisions), and we might never get to the wall. We must trust God to run our race at His pace—not someone else’s race or pace.
In order to win the race, we must take our eyes off everything but Jesus. God put us in this race, and He will help us finish the race He set before us.