This weekend I had the privilege of speaking at four workshops during the Pursue Christian Teen Conference in Harrisburg, PA. Carrie and our two girls came along and it was a blast. After each of the workshops, there were those people who came up and said, “You did awesome” or “I really enjoyed that.” A few people even told me, “I was blown away” and “You WOWed us with that! Thank you.” I don’t share that to puff myself up or make myself look good. I share that because there was something about it that made me feel uncomfortable. I wondered, “Would I have to keep batting 1,000 for you to be WOWed?”

It’s understandable that we celebrate when things are amazing and WOW us. Top plays of the week, exotic vacations, superb talent, over the top performances. We have embraced being WOWed. I love to be WOWed. I go nuts when an episode of The Walking Dead beats the previous week or the New York Football Giants crush another team week after week (2014-2015 Baby!!). Next time it will take more. A bigger vacation, a closer game-winning buzzer shot, the band’s pyrotechnics almost burning your face off, the next great talent, etc.

Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment in life when we adopt this mindset? Will we set a standard that bigger, better, and more is always the next step? That anything less is unacceptable? As a parent, I pray I don’t teach my girls this. If they start thinking the only way we love them is if things are bigger, better and more, they’ll be crushed under the weight of expectations. For the context of God and the church- here are some of the phrases I’ve heard from people at Forefront and/or friends at other churches:

Man, the band KILLED that song today! Wow!
Pastor, that message was sooooo good! You knocked it out of the park.
The children’s ministry is the best I’ve ever seen!
Our church has the BEST small groups. You should totally come!
This new Series/Sunday/Project/Endeavor is going to be AH-MAZING! The Best Yet!!

Now let me be first to step up to the mirror, gaze into it and say, “Guilty as charged.” I’ve said some of these things as a leader and church member throughout my 17 year journey with God. Also, I don’t think these things or the heart behind them are bad. It’s exciting. New things are taking place! Life change is happening! There is reason to celebrate! For crying out loud, Forefront Church will celebrate 16 years of ministry this month. We’ve watched God lead over 1,000 people to be baptized through the ministry here. We continue to help plant churches each year through the VEF. Sunday mornings are consistently a place of healing, learning, and taking steps toward God. I love what God has done and will continue to do through His church at Forefront.

But, here is the reality:

If everything has to be bigger, better, and more- you create a culture that will destroy you.

Preachers don’t always preach “A” sermons.
Bands don’t always KILL songs.
Children’s ministry will be less than stellar sometimes.
A small group week where it’s just “Eh.”
Projects that will not meet the goal.

Cue the disappointment. When this happens in life, we react. Sports team doesn’t perform that year- contemplate jumping teams. Marriage isn’t over the top awesome for a moment- look for it elsewhere. Band releases a less than stellar album- look for latest chart topper. Church doesn’t have a good production week- on to the next. Let’s face it- You will fail. You will not put on the best show. You will have someone better than you at something. You will let people down sometimes.

Here’s a truth you need to hear about God’s heart for you and your life,

I love you and your consistency.

You will have bad days, but consistently your days are filled with striving to love others. You will have bad moments in your marriage, but consistently you are faithful and stay the course. You will have bad days at work, but consistently you are faithful to the task and working hard. Your church and the leaders will at some point let you down, but consistently they are there for you in your joy and sorrow.

When we honor consistency, we don’t have to put on a show. Transparency and openness get lifted up. You don’t have to wow someone for them to love and accept you. You can be present and consistent in someone’s life and they won’t abandon you when you slip up or fail them. You don’t have to live up to your own destructive bar you’ve set. Because, one day you won’t be bigger, better, or more.

Then what?

When I married my wife Carrie, we decided that we would be consistent in our faithfulness to God and each other. We knew that there would be days where we’d fail. If everything had to be bigger, better and more, our marriage would eventually dissolve if it wasn’t a fairytale or dream land. 6 years ago when I started leading Forefront Church, I promised one thing, “I will be consistent in my love for God and the local church.” The truth is I fail people sometimes. I hurt people sometimes. Let people down sometimes. I’m not happy about that, but it is a reality I have to acknowledge. God’s still working on me too. But that means I won’t quit over those things. Because consistency matters. Showing up and serving others, despite our flaws- matters.

Living out love consistently- matters.

When bigger, better and more is the goal, it leads people to believe- “If I fail or under perform from last time, I’m not good enough.” That’s a lie. That’s what the devil would want you and I to think. “If I’m not bigger, better, or more awesome- something is wrong with me.”

Do you have someone who you’d consider a best friend? The one that has been there through it all? We don’t put that type of expectation on them. We love them because of their… consistency. They’re like a deeply rooted tree. They aren’t going anywhere. We don’t prop them up to perform a song and dance for us. It’s based out of a mutual love for each other and the journey together.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to give our best to God. But that is a far cry from being “bigger, better, more” every following week in our messages, groups, events, teaching, worship, volunteering, etc. You cannot live up to that. You will burn yourself out trying. You will breed a consumeristic mentality. You will teach other Christians around you that if something isn’t stellar and over the top, it’s time to move on to the next church, or podcast, or worship music, etc.

Be consistent.
Be available.
Be loving.
Be forgiving.
Be sorry.
Be honest.
Be willing to say,
“I can’t live up to always being bigger, better, or more than yesterday. I won’t put on a show for you. But I’m not going anywhere. You can count on me.”

There will always be the existence of people trying to do things bigger, better, and more.
We have enough of that.  After awhile people will move on. Now more than ever, people crave consistency.
Be consistent.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9