7 principlesPractice #3 – Narrow the Focus

Focus is the key to achieving excellence and making an impact. Each ministry should be designed to do one or two things well. Don’t try to do everything; do a few things well. This applies to the number of things you do and also the way you do the things you do. Keep each of your steps focused and make sure it does only what it was created to do. You can sometimes ruin something by trying to get it to do something else.

Narrowing your focus may seem limiting but when you think about it, it really frees you up to do more. You just do one thing really well. Be on guard for competing visions or cross-purposes. Keep a refreshing simplicity and efficiency in your church and its ministries. If you try to do everything you’ll end up with nothing.

Key concepts and thoughts: 

  • Jesus knew his mission and kept focused even though many other needs were NOT met.
  • Everything naturally drifts away from simplicity to complexity.
  • We tend to add but we rarely subtract. As a result, we have to be committed to continually "narrow the focus"
  • A narrow river has great power and depth. A shallow river has width but not depth and is reduced power (in fact it can stop and become a lake or a swamp).
  • Complexity makes organisations "dumber".
  • Narrow the Focus is to do LESS. Create a NOT To Do List
  • What are we doing that is working but are getting in the way of even more productive activities?
  • Be prepared to say "we don't do that" … either "ever" or "now".
  • What you don't do informs the things that you do do.
  • We could do that, but we've chosen not to.
  • Be prepared to say "no" a lot and to say "not now" more often.
  • Be prepared to do fewer things much better.
  • Don't ADD without taking AWAY something.
  • Complexity tends kills the spirit of evangelism in a church – resources are consumed by providing for the insiders and there is nothing left for the outsiders.
  • Make the hard choices on what works best over what is presently working.
  • Be prepared to cut off excess programs and prune core programs to make them work better.
  • The more you narrow the focus, the more relevant is the program to the audience. It provides better specific personal connection. Do less, do it better.
  • Identity gets built around programs – killing programs can be messy and personally painful.
  • Big change is less painful than small change – at least in big change you see the benefits, whereas in small change you only feel the pain.
  • Know the ONE thing that a ministry or program is there to achieve. Define the focus. 

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