Friday, March 27, 2015

Focus is critical in a smaller church

One of the things I often stress when doing conferences for small church leaders is that many smaller churches are trying to do too many things. These churches are often trying to compete with a larger church in the area that offers more ministries or they may still be structured as they were when they were a larger church themselves. In either case, with limited resources it is a mistake to attempt to do too many things at the same time. Most smaller churches would accomplish much more by doing less, and then what they do offer could be done with excellence.

For some time multitasking was considered the way to get more done in an hectic environment. Recent studies have found that is not the case. One can actually accomplish more by focusing on one task at a time, and there are often fewer mistakes.

I had bought into the idea of multitasking and thought I was pretty good at it. That view began to change some time ago when I was on the phone with an individual. Quite frankly, it wasn't the most interesting conversation and one that I had with this individual and others before. I was only half listening when I noticed that I had several new e-mails. I thought I would scan those to see if any of them were important. While scanning them the caller said something that caught my attention. I knew it was important, but I had missed the background information he had given to put it in context. I had to ask him to repeat himself as I turned off my e-mail. Since that experience I have reduced my efforts to multitask by quite a bit.

When smaller churches attempt to do too many things it is a form of multitasking. Just as multitasking doesn't enable an individual to give his or her best effort to a task, it doesn't allow a church to do so either. This is when mistakes are made and when critical opportunities to do something really worthwhile are missed. When a smaller church focuses on doing one or two things with excellence it can accomplish much more and have a much greater impact for the Kingdom of God.

If you feel you have been trying to do too many things as a church the first thing to do is to evaluate everything you are doing. What has been the return on all the time and other resources you have given to each task? Which activities are making a real difference in the life of your church and community and which ones are being done out of a sense of tradition? Businesses talk about return-on-investment (ROI). If something doesn't have a good ROI they stop doing it. Churches may want to follow that model.

As you consider the mission and vision of your church, which of the things you do contribute to fulfilling that mission and vision? If your church is doing something, even if it's good, that isn't having an impact on your mission and vision then that's a sign it's time to stop that activity.

When smaller churches focus on doing one or two things with excellence they find their ministries grow and more lives are impacted. God doesn't call you to compete with other churches. He calls you to be the best you that you can be, and that will occur when you focus on the few things that enable you to achieve the purposes God has for your church.

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