Part of who I am is a competitive person. I think this can be an incredibly healthy thing, but it can also be very difficult as well. Yesterday, I wrote to the idea of being competitive as a negative, and today I will share more thoughts on how competition is beneficial for the church.
Competition has pushed me to be a better man, person, and leader. I like to be the best at something, but recognize I hardly ever am. This pushes me to try harder at my job and at life in general. Competition helps motivate us to be better for other people to. Competition is what drives us to realize we should never stop growing. Competition is what keeps us uncomfortable with the status quo. No one likes losing the race, but we have to be able to compete to win. Now at this point in life for me there isn’t a so called win to really strive for, except to keep getting better and more like Jesus. I’m guessing this is the same for you.
I went to watch one of my students run at his track meet the other night, and he did an incredible job competing. At the meet I could sit in the stands, and anticipate the gun for the start. Just the anticipation of the gun from the stands could get my heart beat running. The memories of competing in such races is forever ingrained in me. I love the anticipation of something new, and of pushing forward into new territory. Sometimes this can only come when outside factors cause us to push ourselves. In a race the runners with the fastest times are not usually way out ahead of everyone else. They usually run faster when there are two or three of them that push each other and feed off of the competition. It pushes them to go further faster.
We should adopt this principle in life, and even the church world more. I’m not saying each church or ministry should push to be better than someone else, because in reality they serve different people, different purposes, and different demographics. I am saying the church could use a little more healthy competition to become better at reaching people. I don’t know what that looks like, but I do know if we do not ‘play’ nicer together this will never happen. One thing I love about my job is that I get to meet with other ministry leaders all the time. We challenge and encourage each other, and it feels like a small dose of healthy competition.
If you are in ministry, or serve at a church I would challenge you to step out side of your own ministry and see what God is doing in other churches of your community. Build relationships with them, and just be friends. Don’t be competitive in a way that causes jealousy or pride, but be competitive in a way that challenges, pushes, and encourages each other to do better, and be better.