starting to focus

blurred picture of andrew and allieI’m working on focus. I working on the questions that I need to ask myself about what I am doing, about whether, in fact, I am doing what I should be doing.

You know the feeling.

This is not asking about whether this is the right job or career or direction. Instead, this is about how to be more on target, more on task.

I’ve been reading two three books that are helping me this week to move toward focus. [Side note: between the time I started this post and the time I am finishing, a week later, I have forgotten what other book I was reading that was helping me focus.]

1.  Steve Farber tells a wonderful story, a leadership fable. And then, in the appendix, I found this sentence: “Love is your retention strategy.”  The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership.

Farber is talking about a variety of kinds of love, love of people, of an idea, of a vision. I need to focus it to people. But I realized when I read that sentence that for church, which is where I spend my time, love has to be the retention strategy. It’s core, it’s basic, it’s foundational.

2. Sometime before I read The Radical Leap, I was reading Sticky Church by Larry Osborne. Osborne is talking about how to close the back door for churches, to make them, as he says, sticky.

Basically, what we have done is to take most of the energy and resources we would have spent on special programming and front-door events and instead poured it into making our church more welcoming and sticky.

Once I gave up the dream of reaching everyone outside the church, I was suddenly free to focus on taking care of those who were already inside the church.

It sounds like Osborne is wanting to turn church into a club. That’s not the case. What he is wanting is to make them so loving that the word of mouth brings people in rather than huge marketing efforts.

Obviously, if I were writing reviews of these books, I would need to summarize more of their arguments and examples and systems. I’m not. I’m talking about focus. And from these two books come one focusing question to ask myself everyday:

“How did I close the back door by loving today?”

That is a focus that will actually make a difference. A quantifiable, justifiable, verifiable, life-changing difference.



3 responses to “starting to focus

  1. I found all the folks in church were already singing in the choir and knew where to be….I like my faith to be riskier….out walking the lake, the woman and children sleeping on the streets, the students who think the church is only about money with their hands out.
    Just took a great class from the FaithTrustInstitute dot org., when church and clergy have transgressed – fear of love and no trust left…
    my thoughts are I would never enter a church again…love and trust are not there…

  2. Patricia – thanks for being willing to comment.

    I know better than to say, “i understand” except that i’ve been around
    church for my whole life. Several brands, several local outlets. Lots of
    examples of distrust and unloving…but several example of trust and love as

    Perhaps the better response than “I understand” is “i have heard words like
    yours before, at times from my own mouth.”

    You point to the fundamental challenge to and for the church. If we aren’t
    doing what we were told to do, why bother. It’s why you are in your
    ministry. And I am in mine.


  3. Finding it absolutely hilarious that you were reading THREE books on focus. Perfect contradiction.