When I say, “Hello, my name is George, and I am a Facebook addict,” the proper response from a 12-step group is, “Hello, George.”
I love posting on Facebook and sharing with folks what is going on, and particularly sharing resources and ideas. It is also a great place for keeping learning communities with which I am connected informed of the latest resources and opportunities.
It goes through my mind to post more things than I do. Fortunately for my 5,000 friends on Facebook — and for me — I do not post more than I do, as additional posts would drive people away due to the voluminous numbers of them. I also post daily on a blog at www.BullardJournal.org, and on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — among others. Most posts outside of Facebook and my blog are automatic posts set up to share of what I post on Facebook and my blog.
A key word that explains why I do not post more on Facebook is the word “focus.” I have two foci on Facebook. One is to share meaningful experiences about personal and family activities, and a few helpful positive observations about life and society along the way. The other is to share information about my ministry and resources I make available to my network of colleagues and the through their networks to the world.
During the 2016 presidential election, many Facebook friends posted nice and not so nice things about various candidates, Including the new president-elect. I have a lot of opinions both about the election process and our new president. However, I do not post them because they did not fit my focus for being on Facebook.
Focus is very important. Unfocused comments distract from any primary messages and personal branding I want to communicate.
Another area of my life where I seek to focus is in my churchmanship. For example, I love music. I grew up in the home of a church pastor who also served during various seasons of his life as a denominational staff leader. Both of my parents loved music. They felt it was important for all three of their children to be active in church music.
My two sisters and I sang in about every musical group that came along in church life, learned to play the piano, learned to play the organ, and developed skills in choral directing. Out of this experience all three of us directed church music programs at various times during our lives.
However, for the past 35 years I have neither directed church music nor sung regularly in choirs and other musical groups in churches. It is not out of disinterest. It is because I cannot do everything, and I choose to focus. I focus my gifts and skills where needed in other areas of church life rather than participating in music ministry.
Focus is a very important concept when working with congregations on living into God’s empowering vision for them. Many congregations lack intentionality, are distracted by the endless opportunities around them, or are blinded by the cultural baggage they keep dragging along behind them. They are unfocused without a clear sense of mission, vision, and direction.
Congregations who lack intentionality may be clear in their minds about mission, vision, and direction, but unfocused in their actions. They think it is sufficient to believe in a certain future, but act the same way they have in the past. They forget that vison without action is a fantasy.
Many congregations are distracted by numerous great opportunities around them. They march off in multiple direction without a focus. They embrace everyone’s ideas for action rather than prioritizing what they do in a manner that fulfills God’s empowering vision for them. They are hesitant to offend other church members by rejecting their ideas. They cannot learn how to nicely say “No.”
The heaviest weight congregations insist on carrying is the baggage from their past. Over decades of existence their cultural habits and patterns get increasingly heavy to where they cannot both carry their baggage and step forward at the same time. Instead they sit down and wait for someone to carry their baggage for them. When they do so, opportunity passes by them.
The most unfortunate aspect of the lack of focus in congregations is that their name becomes Legion, for there are many of them. Way too many congregations have kicked to the side of their journey God’s call upon them as a community of followers of Jesus, and as congregations seeking to engage in the mission of our Triune God. Is this your congregation?
Even so, the enemy of focus is not evil, sin, sloth, ignorance, incompetence, or even a nominal commitment to a Christ-centered, faith-based journey. It is a deep commitment to unfocused mediocrity.
Tell me about the positive focus of your congregation. It is time to hear these stories.