Ministry can be a place where we find distractions. Some of these distractions can come by good intentions that become fixations which leave you enslaved to a method that is no longer effective. Other times it can be the allure of something new and cutting edge that leads you away from your purpose. Or it can simply be the grind and plodding of every day life that unintentionally leads you away from doing what God has called you to do.
And every church has a mission statement that is usually hanging on a banner somewhere outside their sanctuary. Every non-profit has their slogan of why they exist plastered in their lobby or on their pamphlets. But what would happen if you stopped a regular church attender and asked them to recite what is said on that banner, how would they do? How would you do?
It is all too easy to have your purpose statement hanging on the wall where you walk by it all the time and not be intimately aware of what it says. Even if you were a part of the team that landed on that statement it can be easy to let the noise and the urgent get in the way following what it actually says.
And when we return to the mission statement, we must remember that it is not merely being able to recite those words. The challenge we face is to assess our actions, motivations, and activities to the accuracy of how well it promotes the purpose. There are a plethora of programs or options that sound good and could even be good to do, but we are entrusted to stay accurate to what God has purposed for your organization to be doing.
Here are three things we can do to stay focused:
Know what your purpose is. This seems self-explanatory but it must be said. You need to know what you are supposed to be doing to be able to judge whether or not you are staying in tune with that direction.
Be willing to ask “Is this the most effective way for us to use our time and gifts to accomplish our purpose”? Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do. We get comfortable in our routine that we fail to see that our world and culture around us has changed from how we have been doing things. We unintentionally drift from accomplishing what we set out to do because we kept doing what we always did.
Spend time in prayer. One of the most important forms of communication Jesus had with God was regular times of prayer. He spent time with God to stay focused on what he was sent to accomplish. In Mark chapters 1 and 2 we see Jesus spending a weekend calling disciples, teaching in a synagogue, healing the sick. And the next day we find Jesus getting up before anyone else and spending time with God in prayer. When his disciples finally find him, they say that everyone wants Jesus to keep doing what he did the day before. However, Jesus tells them they need to move on because that is the reason God has sent him. Prayer helps us remember and focus on God’s direction for our lives.
Distractions are a normal part of life. But our lives and ministries do not need to be ruled by the distractions that come our way. Through God’s strength, we can stay committed to what God has called us to be doing.