Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What is our purpose?

We are currently taking time to revisit and reassess our church’s purpose statement and vision in order to be the foundation to any direction we take in regards to expanding our facility. Some of the best information I have come across on this comes from Rick Warren’s, Purpose Driven Church. Over the next couple of blog entries I will be giving an overview of two of these chapters. Chapter 4 begins by stating that there is incredible power in having a clearly defined purpose statement. If it is short enough for everyone to remember, the purpose statement of our church will yield five wonderful benefits.

1. A clear purpose builds morale - First Corinthians 1:10 (LB) says, “Let there be real harmony so that there won’t be splits in the church…Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” The key to harmony in our church is for us to be united in our purpose. If our mission is unclear, then our morale will be low. People who are working together for a great purpose don’t have time to argue over trivial issues. In other words, when you are helping row the boat, you don’t have time to rock it. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Rick Warren adds that where there is no vision, people leave for another parish.

2. A clear purpose reduces frustration - A clear purpose statement reduces frustration because it allows us to forget about things that don’t really matter. A clear purpose not only defines what we do, it defines what we do not do. The secret of effectiveness is to know what really counts, than do what really counts, and not worry about all the rest. In deciding what the church should be involved in the filter must always be, “Does this activity fulfill one of the purposes for which God established our church?” Isaiah 49:4 says, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.” Trying to lead a church without a clearly defined purpose is like trying to drive a car in the fog. In a purpose driven church, once your course is set, decision making becomes far easier and much less frustrating.

3. A clear purpose allows concentration - A focused life and a focused church will have far greater impact than unfocused ones. Paul says in Philippians 3:13 (LB), “I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing, forgetting what is behind and looking forward to what lies ahead.” A common trap for the church today is majoring in the minors. Most churches try to do too much. The older a church gets, the truer this becomes. Programs and events continue to be added without ever cutting anything. No program is meant to last forever. It is essential to the health of our church that we periodically “clean house” and abandon programs that have outlived their purpose. Being efficient is not the same as being effective. There is a difference. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. A church must not just be well organized but well organized to do the right things.

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