Summary: To really succeed as a church, we must focus on God’s standards. First, we focus on one message. Second, we must focus on one ministry. Finally, we must focus on one mission.
I read about a guy who saw a building with a signboard “Church on a grill.” He got so curious that entered the building and, lo and behold, it was a steakhouse. He ordered premium steak and, in fairness, it was delicious. But he could not help but ask the waiter why the place is called “Church on the grill.” The waiter said, “Oh, we used to be a church. I was the pastor back then. One time, to raise funds, we decided to sell steaks. It was so successful that we decided to close the church and continue with the steakhouse.” There’s nothing wrong with fundraising or selling steaks. But there’s something wrong when a church loses her focus.
This morning, as I preach for the first time on this pulpit officially as your pastor, allow me to focus our attention to “The Focus of a Successful Church.” Let us pray…
How do we really measure success as a church? I heard about the ABCs of success in a church. “A” stands for “Attendance.” The bigger the church, the more successful it seems to be in the eyes of both the believers and the world. “B” stands for “Building.” The bigger the building, the wider the parking, and the more comfortable its facilities are, the more successful that church seems to be. I have been in a church in Texas where they have their own coffee shop much like Starbucks in their lobby. “C” of course stands for cash. The bigger the offering… the bigger the budget… the better for the church.
Those things are not really wrong. But they can become wrong if and when they become our focus. If we do so, we will lose our focus on what is really important.
One of the books I read lately was “The 4 Disciplines of Execution.” Its main idea was that organizations don’t have a lack of strategies. What they lack is implementation. Follow through. One of the disciplines the book talked about is “Act on Lead Measures.” We have to focus on lead measures instead of lag measures. What are lead and lag measures? Lag measures are the results while lead measures are the activities that lead to the results.
For example, let’s say you made a New Year’s resolution last January 2013 that you would try to lose weight. Your target was to lose 100 pounds. That was your lag measure. The only problem is that, let’s say at the end of the year, you weighed yourself and saw that you only lost 50 pounds. Not only that you did not achieve the result you were aiming for but also that you cannot do anything about it anymore. On the other hand, when you focus on your lead measure, such as you make sure you exercise daily as in you walk 5KM a day, you eat healthy food as in more fish and veggies than read meat, you can actually predict that you would lose weight. Your lead measure can influence your lag measure. You can still have your lag measure but you focus on your lead measure. In other words, don’t focus on the results but on the activities that lead to the results.
It’s the same thing in the church. To really succeed as a church, we must focus on God’s standards. We must focus on being faithful and God will take care of our fruitfulness.
Again and again, the Bible revealed God’s standard for His church. One of those passages is Colossians 1:28-29. “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Look at the clause: “Him we proclaim”. Circle the pronoun “Him.” Who was the “Him”? In verse 27, we read, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” So, it’s Christ we proclaim. To really succeed as a church, we must focus on God’s standards. We must focus on one MESSAGE.
In 1st Corinthians 2:2, the apostle Paul wrote, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That means that in every message we preach here whether in the pulpit or in the classrooms or in our small groups, we should draw people at least a step closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. That people would get to know Him more. The gospel is not about us feeling good. The good news is about knowing God.
When he met with the elders of the church in Ephesus, Paul reminded them in Acts 20:20, “I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.” In verse 27, Paul declared, “…for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.” The Bible tells us everything we need to know, not everything we want to know. And everything we need to hear is what God wants us to know. God gave us His Word not to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. So, we will focus on one message.