Elliff Challenges Students to be Effective

October 4, 2001

"When I was in school, I learned you can do a whole lot more then you think you can," Dr. Tom Elliff said in his Oct. 3 chapel address at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Elliff, who is pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, spoke on the difference between being effective and being successful. He used dynamite as an illustration of this difference. By simply lighting the end of the dynamite stick, it will blow up, he said, and that is successful. Placing the dynamite in a rock face and bringing down an entire cliff would be effective.

A person who is interested in serving, who wants to be thourough, who looks to God and not man, and generally influences more people then they think they do is an effective person, he said.

He used the first part of Romans 1:1 to discuss three key principles needed to be an effective person.

First, he said, Christians must be confident in the controller of their lives. Like an indentured servant who begins to identify so much with his master that when his years of service are complete he does not want to leave, Elliff said that in order to be effective we must have faith in who is running our lives.

Because the servant knew his life was better with the master, he became a bond servant and lived with the master forever, he said.

"There will be marks on your life," he said. "There will be scars, but they will be evidence that he is your master."

Secondly, Elliff said that Christians must be conscious of God's call on their lives in order to be effective.

"It comes down to raw obedience," he said. "You'll never count like you could if you don't follow God's plan."

Elliff said that Christians must become content within the circumference of their lives. He spoke of Paul and how he made peace with where he was in his life.

"I am not speaking of apathy, but you have to get content with the circumstances of your life and quit wishing for someone else's perimeters," Elliff said.

Elliff concluded that once we reach these three conditions in our life then we can truly understand what it means to not merely be successful, but to be effective.

Elliff has served as pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Del City for more than 15 years. He and his wife Jeannie have four grown children and 14 grandchildren.