Mick and Tricia politely shook hands with the friendly greeters as they walked into the sanctuary to find a seat for worship. After a few minutes of gathering their thoughts, these first-time visitors began to look through the wad of papers that were a part of the worship bulletin, handed to them at the door. Mick pulled out what was identified as “this month’s calendar of activities.” As he looked at the fine print in every box across the page, he was amazed to see such a busy church. He noticed activities that ranged from Bible study to Judo classes. As a person investigating the claims of Christianity for the first time, it left him with a challenging question: “What does this church feel is really important?” Noticing that the calendar shows activities all over the map, he wondered, “As a Christian church, what is it you do? What might be most important?”
Most churches do too much. They lack focus and therefore have no ministry alignment. They are like an army marching in different directions or a basketball team running in different directions. Not very powerful. Not very effective.
Focus on these issues:
- A clear Mission Statement describes what you do.
- When you describe what you do, it immediately articulates what it is you don’t do. This provides focus and helps your church from becoming a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”
- Focus is important for people who Jesus calls “the light of the world.” Unfocused light is nice, warm, and helps you see. Focused light, called a laser beam, has power to penetrate. This is missional alignment. It is missing in many churches.
- Focused ministry (ministry alignment) provides power for a church to be missional and penetrate the culture around it.
- When you know your purpose, and it has become part of the culture of your church, you know when to say “no.” This keeps your church from spending energy and resources on those areas that are not part of God’s mission (or your church’s unique mission), but are just nice things to do.
- Whose job is it to guard the boundaries of the mission? It is a key responsibility for the leader—the pastor.
Mick and Tricia are more likely to be attracted to a church that is clear about its mission. The information overload they got from the monthly calendar represents a church whose activities are an inch deep and a mile wide. Growing churches are churches that do a few things well. Most of all, what they do, they do on purpose. That purpose is related to their clear mission. All their ministries are tied together toward a clarity of direction. Those churches are making an impact in their communities.
How does your church communicate and guard its mission? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.