1) ZOOM OUT, 2) ZOOM IN, 3) Take Picture.
The email was referring to the focus of the families and individuals who attend our church. Are we focused on the right priorities? The right mission? The right vision for life?
Are we arranging our lives in such a way as to maximize our kingdom impact? Are they giving, loving, sharing, praying, and going out with intentionality, with relevance, with fruitfulness? Are we absolutely clear on how to accomplish their mission in life (and is the church helping us find that clarity)?
He compares the focus of a local congregation to that of focusing a camera, arriving at perfect clarity is a delicate matter—if you change positions, or if the subject of the photo changes, or if the lighting changes, refocusing is probably necessary. The same is true for church leadership; in a fast-paced culture where things keep changing (and we keep changing as well), the process of refocusing is critical, and it’s continual.
If we have not refocused lately, we may well be out of focus.
He speaks of three steps to getting focused back to mission clarity, both organizationally and personally. These three steps are 1) ZOOM OUT, 2) ZOOM IN, and then 3) Take Picture.
Zoom Out: Consider the mission God has you and your church on earth to accomplish (the Great Commission, in the spirit of the Great Commandment).
- Is our church providing clear, up-to-date evangelistic training?
- Does our church have an intentional disciple-making strategy that engages a majority of the congregation?
- Do we have any measurable goals to reach our community, nation, other people groups, etc.?
- Are the families in our church valuing outreach and missions above earthly things?
- Is our church providing proactive opportunities for people to engage in outreach?
- Is our collective engagement in global missions growing, and is our strategy up to date?
- When was the last time we had a comprehensive review of our mission effectiveness as a congregation?
Zoom In: Consider your spiritual heart condition, and that of your fellow leaders and church members.
- Are we enjoying our first-love relationship with God?
- In our church, is sin confessed and humbly repented of?
- Do we have a culture of holy living?
- Do I and my leadership team members have strong, dynamic, growing relationships with God?
- How are we evaluating the spiritual growth of our people, and what pathways do we provide for them to intentionally grow up in their faith?
- Is there anything organizationally, culturally, or relationally that may be hindering the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst?
- When was the last time we evaluated the spiritual health of our leadership teams, and measured them against biblical priorities and qualifications?
Take a Picture: Utilize the answers to all these questions to get a clear picture of where we are today, and compare that with God’s vision and mission for churches and believers. From there, we can ask God to bring our future into focus.
- What next steps should we take, individually or together?
- What should we stop, and what should we start?
- How could we more clearly communicate this to our congregation?
- What are our areas of great spiritual need?
- What specific ministry activities need to be refocused due to changing conditions?
- What is our picture of the future (vision), and are we on track to get there?
He states that he is pretty sure we’ll always be needing some amount of refocus in our ministry work, as I’ve been at it for many years and still find myself clarifying, simplifying, adjusting, starting and stopping.
He closes with the thought that he is sure our experience is the same. Let’s pray that, above all, the Lord would give us focus on the things that are most important to Him.
The above is another way to examine the health of our local church body!