During Covid-19 renewal leaders are attempting to increase ministry impact for every Kingdom investment being made. During these times, as in all times, a helpful guiding principle is “the sharper the focus the greater the impact.” This idea comes from the world of physics which distinguishes thrust (the amount of push) from pressure (the amount of impact from that push). Think of a woodsman with an axe. The woodsman has roughly the same amount of thrust for every swing but the outcome of the swing is determined by the sharpness of the axe (i.e. the pressure). Lumberjacks know they must regularly sharpen their axe to maximize the outcome of their swing. In ministry a congregation has roughly the same level of thrust given their particular size and resources. The difference between high and low impact ministry, given a church’s capacity, is the sharpness of their focus.
Here are 7 commitments that sharpen a ministry’s focus:
Commitment 1: EMBRACE THE “LESS IS MORE” PRINCIPLE
Many ministry leaders pride themselves in creating a broad spectrum of Kingdom investments. The net result is often a lot of doing without much being done. Invest in a few things and do them well.
Commitment 2: DISCOVER YOUR UNIQUENESS
Every church does certain things well. Those things are determined by the unique gifts and passions of a congregation. A ministry’s focus should flow from their strengths.
Commitment 3: RAISE YOUR CONTEXTUAL INTELLIGENCE
Contextual Intelligence is the ability to know the place and time in which you live so you can accurately discern what must be done in this particular place and at this particular time (see I Chr. 12:32).
Commitment 4: HARNESS THE POWER OF MOMENTUM
A ministry axe is easier to sharpen when there’s momentum behind a goal or project. Covid-19 has created new momentum for specific ministries. Follow this momentum. It is, typically, of the Spirit.
Commitment 5: FOCUS THE WORK OF MINISTRY LEADERS ON A SINGULAR GOAL
Congregations often create ministry departments and ask leaders to work exclusively within those departments. Sharpening the focus demands destroying silos and working collectively on shared goals.
Commitment 6: REMEMBER YOUR BIG THREE
Ministries do well to remember their big three. First is quality preaching. Second is transformational worship. The third is a ministry investment of your choosing. What is your third?
Commitment 7: TAKE TIME TO THINK
Lumberjacks know that sharpening their axe demands breaking from their work. That time away is essential to increase the outcome of their efforts. Churches, too, must take time away to think themselves clear about what they are uniquely being called to do.
The Church Renewal Lab of the Center for Church Renewal is committed to helping congregations sharpen their axe.