Twenty years ago, the British Rowing Team was preparing for the 2000 Olympic Games to be held in Sydney. They hadn’t won a gold in that competition since 1912; no one considered them to be contenders, and they knew it. To step-up, their standards would require a new team strategy…
Come Summer 2000, their strategy was tested. When the Games concluded, the British Rowing Team had heavier carry-ons than when they came down-under: each member of the team had a gold medal in their possession. Their approach to the Olympic Games proved to be effective.
The team realized that they didn’t have coaches and trainers with them, 24/7. If they were to become world-class champions, some new disciplines would have to be adopted by all and practiced by each.
They developed a one-question consideration to every decision they made. This allowed them to measure every situation, decision, and obstacle without getting derailed as most people do. With every decision or opportunity, they would ask themselves, “will it make the boat go faster?”
Opportunity: go to a late-night party the night before a major training event. Ask the question: “Will it make the boat go faster?” Opportunity: eat a high-carb/high-calorie donut. Ask the question: “Will it make the boat go faster?” Opportunity: head for the coffee house or gym before sun-up. “Will it make the boat go faster?”
Those personal evaluations were conducted constantly as Team UK prepped for their upcoming battle in Australia. What they did for the United Kingdom was all-consuming; success or failure would be announced for all the world to see and hear when the awards ceremony would declare victories and pass out the medals. Every decision made on the way to that final determination would be proven valuable when/if the results bode well. “Will it make the boat go faster?”
It’s easy to applaud that process – visualize the awards ceremony; create a strategy for achievement; develop disciplines to implement the strategy; compete against significant opposition; win the prize – when it comes to the Olympics. It’s interesting: that was the metaphor used by Paul to depict what it means to strive and succeed on behalf of the Kingdom.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
Every opportunity, all the time, warrants a check before the decision: will it make my life and service more productive, for Eternity?
Olympic gold has no value comparability to Kingdom crowns. Forever makes any decision made today far more worthy of disciplined self-denial, if it leads to redemptive results…
The Master’s Program exists to help the Kingdom’s Best get Better. Already all-stars on their local “club teams” (i.e., their church), our community has the potential to compete on the Olympic Stage (the broad footprint of God’s world-wide Kingdom). That requires a new vision; new strategies; new disciplines: we coach leaders like you “to run in such a way as to win the prize…”
Will you win the prize?