By on November 26, 2014   /   3 Comments


On Jan. 25, 2006, a giant pile of dirt was stacked up next to Razorback Road by the University of Arkansas. The local paper reported they were about to start building the largest outdoor track facility anywhere in the country. The athletic director at the time, the legendary Frank Broyles, promised it would be complete for the conference outdoor track championships that had already been scheduled for May 11—by faith! Broyles was boldly quoted: “It will be ready—period. There is no doubt about that.” Reading that, I laughed out loud and spouted, “You gotta’ be kidding. Absolutely NO WAY!”

Broyles set that date, not because he was impulsive, unrealistic, or a procrastinator. No, he knew exactly what he was doing. In fact, he had counted the exact number of days between Jan. 25 and May 11 (106) and multiplied it by 24 (the number of hours in each day). His goal was to work around the clock to maximize every single minute of those 2,544 available hours to construct his magnificent 10,000 seat, bowl-shaped, canopy-covered, state-of-the-art track and field “palace”!

What I observed over those next 106 days was nothing short of miraculous. It didn’t matter whether I was driving by at three in the afternoon or three in the morning, there was a constant and dedicated army of construction workers utilizing every imaginable piece of equipment, frantically transforming that pile of dirt from dream to reality. Yes, Broyles had raised $8 million for the project, but it was obvious he was prepared to expend any amount of money or men, knock down any real or perceived obstacles, and unwilling to accept any excuse for not opening the doors in grand style come May 11.

Seeing hundreds of athletes and thousands of fans pour into our brand new stadium that glorious Saturday morning in May caused me to reflect on the wisdom and value of setting deadlines, especially as it relates to reaching our support raising goals.  The result: five reasons why deadlines should become our new best friends:

1.       A Deadline Involves Verbalizing a Specific Commitment

King Artaxerxes knew that Nehemiah wanted to start on his Jerusalem restoration project ASAP, but he was most interested in what his servant’s completion date was. “How long will it take?” Artaxerxes asked his highly motivated and well-planned assistant. Nehemiah was wise to provide the King a “definite time”, as the text says. Both men knew declaring a very specific deadline would inject healthy accountability and motivation into the process. How long did it take Nehemiah to complete the whole venture? A mere 52 days!

2.       A Deadline Helps Motivate Us

I’m sure your “to do” list is as long and endless as mine. Consequently, when someone asks me to do something, I always ask them when they want it completed. I must have a deadline, or it usually will not get done. When I am raising support, I especially need a start and finish, and strongly communicate those dates to my wife, co-workers, supervisor, and accountability partner. And if I think I can accomplish it in secret, I am fooling myself. I either procrastinate or allow the tyranny of the urgent of other “to do’s” steal all my time. I’m able to concentrate on one thing at a time, but this can be a plus when raising support. It allows me to focus every day, every hour, like a laser, getting to 100% by the date I so boldly proclaimed!

3.       A Deadline Helps Motivate Those Around Us

Most construction sites I pass, six guys appear to be standing around watching just one guy dig! But on that track field project, Broyles had every worker in an all-out sprint, using every precious minute to make good by the date pledged. Working the night shift under huge bright lights, these laborers felt maximum ownership because they all had been entrusted with an important deadline. As you determine what your support raising start and finish dates should be, why not involve your spouse, assistant, accountability partner, and friends who have agreed to aid you, in that process? A team approach to getting to 100% not only keeps you encouraged, it becomes a bonding experience for all involved. Promise everyone a big dinner celebration as you cross the goal line on the agreed upon date. That will motivate them!

4.       A Deadline Causes Us to Pray Fervently

Going before the Lord to get your marching orders from Him and then going out in dependence to fulfill them can be both a terrifying and exhilarating experience. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor in vain.” Psalm 127 teaches us. When we, by faith, set and pursue a particular support raising goal and date, it drives us to God. He is the One who accomplishes this task, but in His divine sovereignty, He somehow uses us to do it. Author S.D. Gordon wrote: “Prayer is the real work of the ministry. Service is just gathering in the results of prayer.” Want to spruce up your prayer life? Commit every fiber of your being to raising your full support and getting to your ministry assignment in the next 30, 60, 90, or 120 days. In between your daily waves of calls and appointments, you will be on your knees!

5.       A Deadline Can Give Great Glory to God

Christian workers don’t always have the best reputation for hard work and follow through. What if we were to reverse that trend and restore some of our credibility to the watching world? I know to set seemingly unreasonable goals seems foolish to some, but my Bible says “Nothing is impossible to God.” Yes, sometimes we are motivated to work hard out of sheer pride, so as not to bring embarrassment to our name. But, what if we were more concerned about the name of Christ, and bringing Him honor and glory through this process? And when our final day comes, and we have finally met our “hallelujah goal” of 100% funding, we can pause, stand back, and simply say, “Look what God has done!”


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