Do our ministry or business endeavors have a “mantra” like focus? I was challenged to think about this today as I was reading this post. Guy Kawasaki mentioned that it was pointless to have a mission statement and advocated a “mantra” that could be broken down into one sentence and constantly repeated. Something that could be put on your computer’s screen saver. Something to write on an index card and keep with you to remind you of your goal. For me in the ministry context that would mean to summarize our church’s main goal into one line. Repeat it over and over again and focus with laser like precision to get the job done. After writing Monday about my new disdain for the repetitive church growth books that line my personal library shelves, I felt I needed to clarify that I’m not against having a purpose per se. I think it’s obvious that any organization needs direction and a goal to do what it was designed to do. That culture is created from the leadership and washes down to each person who invests in that venture. For a church, those people invest sacrificially, giving their money, time, and their talent to help grow that ministry. What I’ve been challenged in of late is what that looks like to MY church specifically. That’s a difficult question in some respects because there is no book written about my church and its special ministry context. The chapters of that guide are being written as we speak. God knows what they say but we as leaders must give ourselves to Him to put it together. Which gets me back to Kawasaki’s “mantra” comment. Do you have one? Do you think the idea has merit? Would it guide you in your work?
When I worked in the broadcasting business, our “mantra” was easy to remember. I still have it memorized: “Advertising is our ONLY business!” In short, we weren’t knocking the hard work of the on-air staff that put together a superior product. The engineering crew wasn’t being downgraded for their outstanding effort to make our signal as strong and clear as possible. BUT our company focus was that all of that work led to advertisers purchasing commercials and providing us with income. If that didn’t happen, we did not get paid. Every time I received a check from the station, It proudly stated on the front: “Radio advertising makes this check good”. We never forgot what the main purpose of all this good work was; to increase commercial sales and the money we were paid for doing so.
I like the idea of a “mantra”. It’s a concept I think I’ll take to my church leaders and see what they say. What should our mantra be? What is yours? Are you in business, a church pastor, or lay leader? What is your main goal? Can you state it in “mantra” form? “To win the lost at all cost” sounds too contrived to me. “To love the hurting and bring them home.” That has a good sound to it. What are some others? In an era where media screams at us at every turn. When our cellphones keep us connected every minute of every day. When pastors are being asked to be more and more of a CEO every day perhaps it’s time to consider the “mantra” concept. If your business is struggling in the sluggish economy, perhaps your sales numbers are lagging for the third quarter in a row and you need to regain focus. Maybe now is a good time to consider the “mantra”.
I will spend some time discussing this with our folks as we prepare to move into a new location later this year. Like my broadcasting companions, all areas of our church are important and all should focus on our “mantra” so that we never lose focus of why we’re meeting each week in the first place!