Stay the Course
How do we keep ourselves motivated, year after year, to stay the course on a sustainable, long term discipleship plan?
For most of you, ministering to men is not what you do for a living. It is a mission you believe God has called you to. Life will unfold – circumstances will change – and you won’t always see the results you want. In those moments, it can take a lot of self discipline to stay the course on a sustainable, long term discipleship plan.
I’m a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I know – let the jokes begin. For most of my life the Leafs have been a bit of a joke. There would be an odd year when they would make the playoffs – and maybe even win a series. But sustained winning seemed like such a distant dream. Then, in 2014 Brendan Shanahan was hired to be the President of the team. With him, came what has been called the Shanaplan.
The Shanaplan was all about how to build a sustainable winning team. It started out painfully slow. The team had a lot of players who were not very good – by NHL standards. Losing was part of the plan. You have to understand, in Toronto, the media pressure on the Leafs is in a whole different stratosphere than any other NHL team – even Montreal. It takes incredible amounts of discipline to ignore the pressure of media and fans and stick to your plan.
Because they stuck to the plan – today, the Leafs have one of the best teams and systems in the league. They have an incredible farm team developing players and their NHL team is overflowing with some of the best talent in the league. I don’t know if they will win a Stanley Cup, but they will be a very competitive team for many years to come.
I share this with you because you need to know that discipleship requires the same kind of discipline and focus as building an NHL team does.
Trust The Process
You will have pressure to change course. You will be drawn by the tyranny of the urgent. But the leaders who have the greatest long-term impact are the ones who – to borrow a famous sports phrase – “trust the process.”
The Bible teaches us some other ways we keep ourselves motivated to stay the course on a sustainable, long term discipleship plan:
Remember – discipleship itself is a process
The Bible teaches us about planting a seed, watering the seed, and harvesting it. Every man you are trying to reach is in a different stage of this process. A farmer must stay the course if he is going to reap the harvest.
Remember – even Jesus had to stay the course with his disciples
The King of the Universe took three years for 12 guys to get it … even then, 1 of them sold him out for some money and another one denied he ever knew him. Jesus had times when he seemed frustrated and exasperated with his disciples. Remember when he would say, “I’ve been with you this long and you still don’t understand?” Yet, he stayed the course because he kept his eyes on his real goal.
Remember – your mission isn’t driven by what other people want … it’s driven by what Jesus wants
We are tempted to get off the process because other people will always have an agenda for us. Imagine if Jesus had given in to the agenda of the people around him. Their aim was to overthrow the Roman government. His aim was to overthrow the power of sin in the world. Stay focused on listening to Jesus.
Remember – when you are tired and frustrated … there is a calling and a promise in the Bible
Galatians 6:9 teaches us “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we WILL reap at the proper time IF we don’t give up. If you are tired today and you are tempted to give up or give in to other demands – remember God’s promises to you today … you WILL reap.
At Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada, we have a team of men who are available to help coach and support you throughout the year in your efforts to stay focused on a sustainable, long term discipleship plan. If you would like some info and assistance with this, please visit our coaching page.
You are not alone. There are other men like you all across the world who have a deep desire to see men walking with Jesus. Keep pressing forward – your faithfulness will be rewarded by God.
Simba Mai, CC BY-SA 2.0