The power of identity and focus in ministry

SporkLast week while driving home from vacation my family and I stopped for lunch. I tried using the spork they gave me to eat some yogurt my wife packed in our cooler, but that didn’t really work. Then I tried using it to stab some cut peaches, which was even more frustrating because the tiny little prongs hardly penetrated the peach far enough to hold on to it.

Then I had this thought:

My spork is a lot like ministry. If you try to be too many things, you end up doing them all poorly.

Know what your ministry is about, focus on that, do it well, and refuse to be distracted by trying to do too many other things. That’s when your ministry will become diluted and mediocre.

Remember the power of focus and identity.

[originally posted at]

Posted on July 5, 2010

  • A question that you can ask to help avoid being "the spork" is this: What will this event/activity/study/resource do to give God glory and expand HIS kingdom (not mine)?

    • I agree with that mostly. The problem with that question, though, is that it doesn't help you focus very much. I'm sure every youth ministry thinks they are doing things that bring glory to God, and they're probably right, but there such a vast number of things you can do that bring glory to God.

      I think the power of focus goes along with what I pointed out about Jesus' ministry in my post, "Warning: ministry can hinder your ministry." Read that post.

      • I also use our ministry statement as a filter that all events/activities/studies/resources must pass through before they are planned (it blatantly uses Matt. 28:18-20 as a foundation):

        The Youth Ministry at Rockville First Baptist Church exists to:
        – Point Students toward an ENCOUNTER with Jesus Christ
        – EQUIP Students to share their faith with others
        – ENCOURAGE Students as they grow into mature believers
        – Show students how to ENGAGE whatever culture God leads them into with the truth of God’s word.
        All activities of the ministry will be targeted to one or more of the above statements.

        This has helped our ministry not to do things "just because" or "because the church across town is doing it". At its most basic level, we do youth ministry as a means to an end. Your ministry must decide what the end is. Then you can focus. For us it is the ENGAGE statement…

  • Jamie Stolp

    It took about 5 years to really get to that point. Where I understood what the youth ministry here is about. It has helped me say 'yes' to the right things and 'no' to everything else. I find myself saying no to a lot for the last couple year. Many years when I did say no I felt like we didn't do enough and almost feelings of guilt and inadequacy about myself. I discovered the truth behind my senior pastors words "saying yes to the right things makes 'no' easy…obvious"

    Great Post Tim!

  • Simply, pithy, profound. Well said, Tim.

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