While there’s been a lot of criticism about this country’s financial markets, politics, and morality over the last decade, I’d like to suggest an even bigger reason for the stumbles of the last 10 years. We’ve lost focus on our mission. In the institutional world, Wall Street lost its focus and started only looking out for #1. Congress lost it’s focus and became more partisan (and pork happy) than ever.
The Catholic Church lost it’s focus (which had been simmering for decades) when it was revealed how their priests started focusing on their needs and abusing those they should be serving.
But I would also say that in the church and ministry community generally, we’ve lost our focus as well.
As the decade closed, I saw a record number of major churches and ministries realize the mistake of expanding too far. In a well intentioned effort, they started programs or ministry outreaches that were unsustainable or they weren’t really qualified to handle.
We had leaders who thought because they were successful in one area, they must be good at everything. So they experienced the Peter Principle firsthand, and were forced to pull back. (After having lost a lot of money and credibility).
Even more important, success in the church actually hurt us on many levels. Ministries grew larger, making us believe we should be sticking our nose into things we have no business doing. We had the arrogance to tell the outside culture how to live when we had plenty to do keeping our own house in order. Many of our “successful” leaders started believing that pesky issues like divorce, financial integrity, or morality didn’t apply to them, so they embarrassed the work of God on a national scale.
I would suggest that as 2010 begins, let’s re-take a hard look at our central mission to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
That’s a pretty focused statement. In fact, there’s a lot of possibilities that Jesus left out when he commissioned the disciples, and after the last decade, I can see why.