How to Focus on the Mission Instead of Fiddling with the Machinery

Recently we had a leak in our basement. Blockage in a drain resulted in water saturated carpets, carpet pad, sheetrock, and baseboards. What an undesirable mess!  We’re still cleaning and fixing. The old principle is still true: “water always takes the path of least resistance.”


Sometimes, perhaps too often, leaders also take the path of least resistance. When something blocks their way, rather than removing the blockage they take the path of least resistance.


In ministry consulting, Christian leadership coaching, and conducting church profiles with hundreds of churches, pastors, and church leaders, I’ve seen many choose to take the path of least resistance. I describe it as “fiddling with the machinery instead of focusing on the mission.”


“What do you mean by that?”  you ask. Often it means tweaking a few things in how we “do church” with hopes that it will result in easy growth—bigger better church. Most church health profiles prioritize the machinery and ministries inside the church instead of the mission field outside the church. It often means taking the path of least resistance, which can lead to more damage that growth. 


However, focusing on the mission of Jesus—making disciples who love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength who in turn make disciples who make disciples—can’t be accomplished just fiddling with the dials. It requires passionate, prioritized, purposeful Spirit-empowered leadership! The results are supernatural and eternal.


Few leaders I know want to just fiddle with machinery. They want to be on co-mission with Jesus! Here’s how to focus on the mission…

1. Let Our Father’s Passion for People Far from Him Overcome Pleasing People Close to You: Jesus declared that He came for the spiritually sick, not those already sure they are well. What will it take to have His heart? Find out.


2. Learn about the People in Your Mission Field: Don’t just settle for the number of statistics. Do your homework, heartwork, and kneework until numbers become names with needs you yearn to know Jesus.


3. Link What They Need to Who You Are: As the Holy Spirit guides you the needs of the people around you, you will find that He’s already been working among you in similar ways!  Equip your people to be the unique missionaries God has designed them to be — personality, spiritual gifts, skills, life experiences, passion…everyone has a place in His mission.


4. Love Will Fuel You When All Else is Up for Grabs:  What gets you in the mission—a life saturated by holy love—will keep you on mission. Pray, share, listen for the Spirit’s nudges…walk with Jesus…and watch Him work in and through you!


Fiddle with the machinery…focus on the mission.  Your choice.  Choose mission!



If your heart rises to the call of Jesus but you need some practical resources to help you, check out Game Plan: Developing Intentional Missional Ministry. You can get the book from our website in larger quantities to share with your team or buy individual copies on Amazon.  Additionally, you can access some select resources from the book using the Resources tab of our website under Worksheets and Videos.  




Coach Yourself Forward

1. What’s your response to the statement that too many leaders take the path of least resistance? What has that looked like for you? 


2. As you look at your church’s ministry, what percentage of your time and energy are you focusing on mission?  On fiddling with dials?  How will focus more on mission?


3. Of the four keys to focus on mission, what needs your attention right now?

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash