Complexity and Focus

We're talking a lot about complexity and focus as a church staff. The more focused things are, in general, the more power they have. Light, for example, is useful when it's diffused but when it is focused a person can use light to cut diamonds. Water, to use another example, is useful in your swimming pool but if that same water is highly focused, it can cut steel.

As churches, we often fall into the trap of believing power is in acquisition. The more ministries and opportunities we acquire, the more power we will see.

But that's not the way it works. In my observation, power (obviously, from a human standpoint here) is not in acquisition; it's in concentration.

The deception of acquisition is that the busier we are, the better we feel like things are going. Unfortunately, my experience is that the busier things are... the busier things are. Busyness is not an accurate metric for success.

If you're a part of a busy church, you might ask yourself some questions before you acquire anything else:

  • Will it actually serve more people, or will it simply serve the same people another time?
  • Could an existing ministry do this effectively with just a little bit of repositioning?
  • Will this opportunity duplicate the purpose of another ministry and take resources (finances, leaders, physical space) away from both?
  • What used to accomplish this purpose? Do we need to gracefully close something down before something new can be successful?
  • Is this something someone else is already doing effectively? Why not simply let them do it and support them?
  • Does this help move people toward who they ought to be in Christ or does it simply provide an environment for them to stay the same longer.

The last question is a much harder question than it looks like on the front-end.

Power is in focus and concentration, not in acquisition. If you acquire new ministries and opportunities without a great deal of care, you'll end up top-heavy and spend so much time chasing your institutional tail that you'll have a hard time realizing what you're hoping to see.