Are You Focused or Focusing on Distractions?
The demands of ministry are ever-changing.
During a global pandemic and deep polarization in our country, it can feel like the demands are multiplying in front of you. At the very same time, you’re continuing to learn new ways of being in ministry and you’re caring for the health and safety of one another.
And that’s where remembering your purpose comes in. It’s also where you might feel like the only thing you need and the last thing you have is focus.
In our conversation today, we talk with Ken Ramsey, Lead Pastor of Bridgeport UMC in Bridgeport, WV, about remaining focused on your purpose as a leader…even in the midst of a pandemic.
If you feel like Doug from the Disney movie, Up, take heart. And if you’re not sure what Doug has to do with focus or lack thereof, do yourself a favor and take 20 seconds to have a little laugh.
Now that we’ve contributed to your lack of focus, “Squirrel!” here’s how we’ll help you get focused. As you listen to this episode, Ken defines his purpose as “following Jesus faithfully.” What a great place to pause and give thanks for faithfulness – both yours and the people you’re leading.
New Ministries and Hard Questions
Additionally, you’ll hear Ken share his experience of guiding the church into new ministries and the planting, cultivating, nurturing, and tending that accompanies that journey. But, you’ll also hear the hard questions that come to leaders and how he is responding to those questions.
What Factors Contribute to Your Decisions?
Before you listen, consider how you make decisions because your decisions are determining your focus. What are the most important factors for decision-making and how often do you tend to those factors? Ken mentions three aspects he considers in decision making: spiritual, practical, and emotional.
When it comes to spiritual decision-making, talking with God in prayer serves as the guide. On the practical side, is it realistic? Here’s where it’s essential to recognize just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, or have to do something.
Explore the competing demands. Look at the importance of the event in the midst of what else is being asked of you. Finally, consider the emotional aspects. You have a finite amount of your best energy to offer to the world. Together, when you make decisions based on spiritual, practical, and emotional factors, you’ll be taking a step toward maintaining your focus.
Focus During Constant Adaptation
You only have to look at the last 7-10 days to identify something that you’ve done to adapt during the pandemic. Whether it’s putting on a mask to enter a store, how you grocery shop, or the ways your offering worship, you’re adapting.
But Ken reminds us there are two additional considerations for leaders: adopting new practices and becoming adept at the new practices. You’ll see we’ve included a question below to help you consider how you’re adapting, adopting, and becoming more adept.
The Future Church
Ken poignantly reminds you that God is with us while helping you to face the reality that the church will not return to pre-March, 2020 status. In-person participation, online participation, new models of discipleship, and a networked local church that cares, equips, and leads one another will take focused leaders who are willing to rebuild the church.
Questions to Consider
In your leadership, where is God’s saying to you, “Let’s go over here and see what that is.”?
What is one step you’ll take towards rebuilding the church? Notice, I didn’t say restarting or resetting. I said rebuilding.
Where do you need to adapt? What new practices do you need to adopt? And what part of your leadership do you need to become more adept in?
Now identify one action that you’ll take this week to act on either adapting, adopting or becoming more adept. And remember, baby steps are steps.