The steadfast adherence to the same principles, or set course, staying the course day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.
I’m reminded of the movie Galaxy Quest. The captain who was usually in trouble stated, “Never surrender, never give up.”
For a decade a simple sign was on my desk which declared,”Never give up. It’s aways too soon to give up.”
Consistency doesn’t give up. It sets it’s course and stays true to it’s principles.
Consistency is the common thread woven into the life of those who are called to change their world for Jesus.
David Wilkerson living in NY was always there…going out into the community, talking with people, encouraging seekers, and taking risks.
Floyd McClung living in Amsterdam and Afghanistan was out day by day, having conversations with people along the Hippy Trail, breaking down barriers, building bridges and loving people into a relationship with Jesus.
Billy Graham really didn’t ever change… His message was simple, direct to the point month by month year by year. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
Loren Cunningham mobilized the youth of many generations into their world encouraging young people to pray, to go, to believe, to serve, and to care.
Steve Sjogren learned the art of serving his community by going, doing and serving. He lives out his values by serving others with small acts of kindness consistently.
Mike Pilivochi and Soul Survivor in the U.K. serve, worship and share the good news, impacting thousands in Manchester, and London with Soul in the City.
How do you know when serving is beginning to impact a community?
1. People you serve begin to define your church in a positive manner.
Hint: we are all already defined by our community, both positively and negatively.
The good news, we have a major part to play in creating a positive image.
If you want to know how your community defines your church go out into your community and ask.
A sample question: When you hear the name of our church (say name of church) what comes to your mind?
A few years ago living in Florida I went out into our community. I asked. I found out we were known as the church that no longer existed. We were the church that had a nasty in-house disagreement and had split and died.
Slowly, but surely the tide turned. The church is now know as a major caring force and is respected in the community with 6 satellite locations. How did they change? They began to identify who they were and who they were call to be. They also discovered their mission and began pursue their mission and to serve others.
Oh, you’re that pretty good church that serves the community!
A couple of years ago I lost my phone. I went to my phone provider with an old phone to activate. When I went to the desk I was asked, “What business name is your phone under?” I said, “the Dayton Vineyard.” The lady standing next to me exclaimed: “Oh you’re that pretty good church that serves the community! I’ve heard about what you guys do.” I asked, “What have your heard?’ she then related examples of the positive things she and others have heard and seen us do. Humbly, but joyfully I replied, “Yep that’s us, we’re just pretty good.” I walked away encouraged. I thought, it really does work. What you sow is you reap.
How does happen? It’s simple, hard work. Sixteen years of hard work sowing, caring, praying, going, being out there in season and out of season.
We are consistent. Our consistency has given us favor and redefined ‘church’ to much of our community. Often people come to see what a pretty good church looks and feels like. Many become Christ followers as they hear our message and and observe our lifestyle.
2. You will discover you have favor with your community.
We know we need God’s favor to be upon our lives and upon what we do. So we seek to humble ourselves and ask Jesus to place His favor upon us as a church. He is the one who builds His Church. He is the only one who can bring the increase. He is the only one who opens doors and gives us favor with the people in our community. He is the one who gives us favor with mayors, school systems, park departments, and people of influence.
God’s favor is what empowered Daniel, Esther, Joseph and Jesus to impact the people within their sphere of influence. In fact the early church‘had the favor of all the people’ and Jesus ‘grew in favor with God and man.’
How do you gain favor with God and man?
You ask Jesus for His un-merited favor to increase upon you and your church.
You serve where you are, with what you have, while you can.
God honors faithfulness. As you faithfully serve others your heart will most probably lean toward loving what God loves. Having his heart for your community will also increase His favor upon your actions bringing you favor with the people you serve.
You learn to serve others with the attitude of Christ. (see Philippians Chapter 2.) The chapter defines true humility, embracing genuine love, developing a serving attitude, and serving others with a servant heart.
How do you learn to love like Jesus loves? By serving others.
In season and out of season…consistency is the key.
It’s consistently showering your community with good deeds done with the love Jesus gives. It’s living consistently with the favor and grace that God provides. It’s being out in the community in which we live, day in, day out. It’s being wise. It’s how you act toward every person who talks to you about the hope you have within you.
Paul sums it up this way…
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV
No great secret why serving churches are energized, thriving, and growing. It’s simple: Someone is praying. Someone is serving. Someone is loving. Someone is caring. Someone is going out into the community and sharing Gods love… consistently.