I recently made the annual pilgrimage for my check up with my ophthalmologist. The eye exam begins like any other: Read the chart and tell us what you see. I must admit: I don’t like that part of the eye exam because I have such poor vision. I have been wearing contact lens for forty years, and when I take those slivers of optic salvation out, I can hardly see a thing.
“Read the chart,” the nurse requests. “What chart?” I respond only part joking. The nurse sighs. She’s heard all the corny lines. She then begins to change lens strength on the contraption through which I am attempting to see the chart. Soon the letters come into focus. I can see again.
Focus and the Church
When I served as a pastor, my ministry was at its God-given best when I was focused. And I had more lousy days than I like to admit when I was unfocused. Such a statement begs the question then, "Where should I focus?"
The early church at Jerusalem was in danger of losing focus. There were so many people in the fast-growing church with so many needs that some were being neglected. But the leaders refused to lose focus. They said without hesitation, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry” (Acts 6:4, HCSB). The leaders focused on prayer and the Word, but they made certain that other needs were met by equipping people in the church.
So for the leader of a church, focus means that much time is spent in prayer and the study of God’s Word. A ministry without a praying leader is unfocused. A ministry without a leader in the Word is unfocused. The demands of local church ministry are unending. If you are a layperson in a church, are you helping your pastor keep his focus? Or perhaps, are you part of the problem? Do you have so many expectations of your pastor that he can’t fulfill his primary calling?
Focus and Evangelism
In our research of interviewing hundreds of people who are self-described non-Christians, we found that almost four out of ten of these non-believers are receptive to hearing about Jesus from a Christian. Because a pastor or church staff member is pulled in so many ways, he or she often does not have time to develop relationships with unchurched persons. The gospel is thus rarely shared. It is a ministry out of focus.
When Peter and John were faced with further imprisonment and possible death, they refused to be distracted. They were focused on sharing the gospel. They thus told their antagonists, “We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, HCSB). Do you make certain that your pastor and those who serve on the church staff have time and focus to tell the good news of Christ?
Focus and the Family
My writing of this article was interrupted by a phone call from my youngest son, Jess. He was in an auto accident. He was okay though the car was damaged.
You see, in the few seconds that it took me to hear my son’s words, nothing else mattered. My only concern was for his welfare and safety. I praised God. My son was okay.
We are keeping so many pastors and staff so busy and distracted that many of them have lost focus on caring for their own families. The words of Paul to the young pastor Timothy are words for our church leaders today: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5).
A Revolution of Focus
A week ago, I wrote about praying for pastors. Many of you wrote me with enthusiasm that you would do just that. Let’s continue the revolution. Let’s make sure that we are allowing our pastors and staff the time to focus on that which really matters: prayer; time in the Word; sharing the gospel; and commitment to their families.
It’s all about focus.
It’s all about that which really matters.