Kids are easy to distract. When my children were young they’d start crying. Maybe they were angry about not getting a piece of candy they craved. I’d point out the window. “Look! See the birds?” Suddenly, their attention shifted. We can be like kids too- easily distracted from our goals. Staying focused as we pursue Disciple Making Movements is a major challenge!
Not Focusing Is Serious
Failure to focus is serious. The eternal destiny of thousands of unreached people is at stake. Their future depends on our actions and decisions. Can we keep from being pulled in a million different directions? If not, they may never hear the gospel and believe. Thankfully, there are simple keys to keeping our concentration on DMM goals.
I Never Planned to Do That!
Do you ever go through the day and think, “How did it get to be 3 pm?” You glance at your watch and say, “I haven’t done anything I planned to do today!” That happened to me a few days ago. I had decided I would write for an hour, exercise, go visit my neighbor to share a testimony, and study language. At 3 pm, I hadn’t done any of those things! Instead, I’d read emails, followed some social media feeds, chatted with my husband about an upcoming trip and watched a video link or two. Oh yeah. I also made coffee and suddenly cleaned out the refrigerator which I’d noticed was dirty.
It is so easy to get off track and forget about what is important! Steven Covey describes this in his book “First Things First”. We easily do “the urgent” and fail to do “the important.” Or, we end up doing what is easiest, rather than things that take a more determined effort.
3 Keys To Staying Focused On Your Disciple Making Movement (DMM) Goals
1. Decide Ahead Of Time What Is Important.
As humans, we follow patterns and typical behaviors. Most of us are in the habit of letting ourselves be easily distracted from our most important goals. We quickly postpone work on our real vision- starting a Disciple Making Movement! To change habits and become more focused, clearly determine what is most important to you. When distractions come your way, you have already made decisions. You know how you will handle those things.
Ask yourself these questions:
1) What are my 3 most important Disciple Making Movement (DMM) related goals?
2) What activities will significantly help me get those things done?
3) What activities prevent me from having time to work on those goals?
Here is an example to make it more clear.
John’s 3 most important DMM related goals are:
A. Abundant seed sowing- 5000 gospel presentations this year.
B. Start 4 new 2nd generation churches.
C. Train 30 people in the first six T4T Lessons until they can train others.
Activities that will help him make progress are:
– Training local believers to share their testimony and the Jesus story. Several 2-day trainings are planned already.
– Running a weekly training for the blue and green people from the 1st generation churches.
– Visiting these faithful and fruitful people for one on one discipleship at least weekly.
Some activities that might prevent John from doing those things:
– Serving on an organization’s board that doesn’t have to do with his DMM goals.
– Preaching on topics not related to DMMs, even though he will get a good honorarium for doing that.
– Wasting time on Facebook and other social media when he could be visiting the leaders he is developing.
Make sense as this relates to John?
Now Do It For Yourself
Now think about those 3 questions for yourself.
1) What are my 3 most important DMM related goals?
2) What activities will significantly help me get these things done?
3) What activities prevent me from having time to work on these goals?
Write down your answers.
Take a few minutes to think through specific examples or scenarios. Think about the times when you will have to make choices to stay focused on your most important goals.
Using John’s example, he might think about this scenario.
John’s best friend Peter is the president of a Christian organization. It does wonderful mercy ministry in his area. They have been friends for a long time. Peter requests John to serve on his organization’s board of elders. It is an honor to be asked to do this. It will also mean an all-expense paid trip to Singapore each year. That is a place John has always wanted to visit. What will he do?
By thinking about these kinds of scenarios ahead of time, John can see that he would need to say “no” to this. It is a kind offer and a good ministry. If he says,“yes”, though, he will not have time to train the local believers and disciple his blue and green people. “If I am offered those kinds of opportunities this year, I will say ‘no’. I want to stay focused so I can accomplish my most important goals. I want to see a DMM take off in my region!” he thinks.
2. Review And Check Yourself Regularly.
Once you have done the above, take the next step. Schedule a time to regularly evaluate yourself. Are you staying focused?
I do this through quarterly retreats. During that retreat, I review my goals and activities. I invite the Holy Spirit to refocus me on His priorities for my life. I make adjustments.
It is important to evaluate more frequently too. It can be done every Monday morning before you start your work week. Team meetings are another good weekly evaluation point you can use. Keep your top 3 goals in front of you. Check yourself often. Are these the 3 areas you are spending most of your time on? If not, make adjustments to your activities.
3. Say “No” Often.
Only say “Yes” to opportunities that contribute toward your top 3 goals.
This is difficult! It is especially hard to say “no” to friends, family members and leaders we respect. Remember, when you say “Yes” to things not related to your goals, you are saying “No” to more important things. When you say “Yes” to helping someone plan a conference in your area, you are actually saying “No” to having time to share Christ with your neighbors. If the conference planning takes your time away from the new believers, you are in reality saying “No” to them.
Who does God want to say “Yes” to? Be courageous and say “No” often!
Focus Is Possible!
Staying focused is challenging, but it’s possible. The main thing is to change our regular behavior. As we develop new habits by saying “no” and regularly evaluating, we will make progress. Changing in this area is worth the effort. The unreached around you wait to hear the good news. Jesus died for their salvation. Your great calling is worth giving a focused effort to!