In thinking about the New Year, I have come to the conclusion that I need to sharpen my focus. I find myself “majoring on the minors, and minoring on the majors”. The result of such behavior often leaves me with a feeling of dissatisfaction…overworked and nothing really being accomplished. So in my personal life, I have really had to determine what is important and necessary. Here is how I have prioritized what’s important. #1 my relationship with Jesus Christ. #2 my relationship with my wife and children. #3 taking care of this “temple” God has given me. Real surprise right? But when you think about the 24 hours a day that I have, what are those 24 hours spent doing? When I get home from the office, I can find 10,000 things to do, but because I have set in my heart to sharpen my focus, I am going to spend that time playing with my children who have not seen me all day. I am going to have a real conversation with my wife. Instead of kicking my feet up and relaxing, I am going to spend time exercising. It is one thing to set a goal and sharpen your focus, it is entirely something different to change my mindset and behavior to accomplish those goals.
So how about in your ministry…..??? Whether a Sunday School teacher, or a minister or other laymen in the church, how can you sharpen your focus. What is really important and what can be done away with. As a teacher, preparing a lesson and delivering it to the best of your ability is important. Always keeping your attention on those who outside the walls of your church…very important. I ran across this quote from Bill Taylor and Louis B. Hanks wrote in their book, Sunday School for a New Century,
” While teaching-learning and caring-fellowship both are essential, they often are focused toward people who have already been reached. Sunday School that focuses only on those who have been reached has lost sight of the church’s primary responsibility– fulfilling the Great Commission……They (Sunday Schools) must be organized for service, equipped for every good work, and mobilized for ministry. “
When is the last time that you, Sunday School teacher, have challenged your class to evangelize? When is the last time that you had a class social with sole intent of bringing people who are not in Sunday School. It may be time to sharpen your focus. Bible study, prayer, and fellowship are all very important, but if we neglect the outreach aspect, then we have become a good christian social club. I pray that this year will be a year that my focus becomes God’s focus. My heart becomes God’s heart.
There is a time and place for acronyms. This IS that time and the place. I began thinking about ways we can encourage the average church member to move from pew sitting to serving. I will tell you that I am operating under a couple of assumptions. 1. 80/20. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 2. There are many churches who have not seen any form of growth because there are members who see church as a spectator sport. With that being said, here are my G.R.O.W. principles and words of encouragement to the above mentioned spectators.
G. Get out of the stands. As a child, I can remember attending sporting events of all kinds. Whether it was a High School basketball game or a professional baseball game. I always had that dream that one day the coach would point me out of the stands and ask me to help his team. There are also those rivalry games in which the game comes down to the wire and once the winning team is crowned the crowds rush the field in celebration. Can you imagine with me if our churches were like that? Do you have church members attending church wondering if they are going to get called out of the pew to help in any way? Is there so much excitement over someone’s soul that the church rushes to the front when a person accepts Jesus Christ? As a church leader, you are responsible for many things, but an important aspect we fail to recognize is that you pave the way for church members. You set the tone. You set the excitement level. You set the overall atmosphere of your church. I firmly believe there are many sitting in your pews that have a desire to get excited about something! Many of them find it difficult to get excited about their job, many find it difficult to get excited about their team that just lost a play-off game. We can provide that avenue in which people can truly get excited about church.
R. Recalculate your plans. I don’t know about you, but one of the more annoying voices I hear is my GPS yelling, ” RECALCULATING, RECALCULATING!” I was glad when I discovered the mute button! However, according the GPS, you entered a destination that you desired to arrive to. The GPS derived a plan to get you there and due to a wrong turn or missed exit, that GPS has to recalculate in order to find an alternative route to get you to the desired location. I am a planner and I always want to know where I am going and when I will be arriving and what I am going to be doing when I arrive. I like to plan. But there are times when our plans don’t quite match God’s plan. There is nothing wrong with having a plan, but if we are unwilling to alter our plans to God’s plan then we are going to miss out on some amazing experiences. There are times that your church members are going to have to re-prioritize their lives. Little Johnny’s soccer tournament may not be as important as teaching a Sunday School class. The church’s outreach event may be more important than Suzie’s gymnastics meet. Our plans must align with God’s plans.
O. Own your faith. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though there are many people who see their faith as an attribute, something they check off a list of qualities about themselves. We should be leading/teaching/expressing our church members that faith in Jesus Christ is not an attribute like blond hair or blue eyes. Faith in Jesus Christ is life transforming. It becomes our life. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to “pick up our cross daily and follow Him”. We must live it, we must own it, we must make our lives all about it.
W. Worry for the lost. I think I can say this with absolute certainty, ” God wants us to evangelize others.” Not to get more people to come to your church, while that would be a good thing. Not to check it off of your to-do list for the week, that would be good thing too. But we are to evangelize others because there are people who are spiritually dead and heading for eternal damnation in hell. We must be serious about reaching lost people and sharing with them about the salvation that comes when they place their faith in Jesus Christ.
If we want to see people move from the pew to the few, then we must G.R.O.W. ourselves and encourage our members to G.R.O.W.
I look forward to this endeavor. I pray that you will find this site helpful in your ministry context.
In His Grip,