“What we focus on becomes our reality. When an organization gives its attention to some aspects of the corporate life, those aspects tend to define the whole. For example, if a church focuses on money (or declines or particular debates) then everything is seen through that lens. So, the reality of an organization is defined by whatever participants think about, talk about, work on, dream about or plan.” (Mark Lau Branson)
I’ve been reading Mark Lau Branson’s Book “Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry, Missional Engagement, and Congregational Change.” I came across this quote that stood out to me, makes a ton of sense, and should shape how we approach everything we do in churches.
I thought about this in the context of our personal lives – what we focus on is what comes to define us. The things I think about the most: work, family, and my hobbies are what defines me. Pastor (of sorts), Father/Husband, Business Owner, Runner (kind of). We know this intuitively as well. We say things like “I just need stop thinking about it” or “I just need to stop obsessing about it.” And we all know people who trap themselves into their current circumstances because they’re fixated on some aspect of their life.
There’s no doubt in my mind that as church leaders, we need (and I fully include myself here) to be strategic in what we’re focused on. If we focus on the negatives of the life of our church, such as the “our church is dying” narrative, that’s exactly what will happen. On the other hand, if we choose to place the focus and thereby the priority on what is good in the life of our church, I suspect it could have a positive impact on the church as a whole.
Think about it this way – do you like talking to the resident sad sack who is always upset and complaining? No? Then let’s not let our churches become sad sacks where all we do is focus on the negatives.