Tag Archive: focus

When Success = Lost Focus

Out of the blue, Mary had agreed to go on a date with me.  Not just any Mary, but Mary Hallums, who was arguably the “hottest girl” in the 10th grade (language I used in high school).

Internally, I was still waiting to appear on an MTV episode of “Punked,” but decided externally to act like I was a worthy recipient of Mary’s attention.

It was just a few years (or more) before things started going viral online, but I still somehow created a viral-like buzz at Sahuaro High School.

Short of printing t-shirts to pass out, I let everyone know about our scheduled date. But three days before the date, my cockiness caught up to me.

In a packed library, with an open staircase, I made my way down the stairs and noticed a serendipitous moment approaching. My ex-girlfriend (my choice, of course) and my soon-to-be date, Mary, stood together at the card catalog (those sub-35 years of age—just Google it) at the base of the stairs.

While preparing to unveil my cocky smirk to declare my date-dominance, I cleared my throat to gain their attention, but then it happened. My focus on the girls caused me to miss a stair. Actually, I missed one stair, and rolled down the other fifteen.

When success happens in churches, misguided focus is a real threat. And like me, a church can stumble.

It looks like this:

• A church has God’s spirit on it and people begin getting saved in records numbers. All the staff become focal points of how’d-you-do-it questions from others and they lose sight of God and their kingdom goals.

• A pastor uses his God-given gift of preaching effectively and gains national attention—book deals, interviews, and subsequently, sub-par sermons not infused with the Spirit.

• Your church figures out how to care for the community effectively. People notice and you create a conference to tell people how to do it. But the conference uses all your resources and you no longer pass the church’s resources to the community.

There would‘ve been nothing wrong with a date with Mary. But a date with the “hottest girl” shouldn’t have taken my attention from the important thing in that moment—in my case, the next stair.

There’s nothing wrong with passing along best practices, hosting conferences, great preaching, or even God-given success. But don’t allow your ministry successes to take away from what God has called you to focus on.

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