You’re going to make a major shift or change at a congregation. You think you know what you want to do. That’s great, but do you know what the result will be?
Most people (including church leaders) make decisions because they are focused on some element of the process. They like a certain style of worship, or they want new music or they want to ‘see people saved.’ But that sort of focus is wrong.
When I was learning to shoot, my instructors at Front Sight kept repeating, “Focus on the front sight!” It got irritating. I was focusing on the front sight! But they just kept saying it.
“Focus on the front sight!”
Over the course of four days, we fired off hundreds of rounds. I missed dozens of targets in spectacular fashion. What was I doing wrong? On the final night, something clicked in my head.
I wasn’t focused on the front sight.
I was looking at it but I was focused on a million other things – my grip, my back, my shoulders, my eye, the steps for clearing malfunctions. There were all kinds of other things in my head, and I wasn’t focused.
I took a breath. I relaxed my grip. I cleared my head. I aligned the sights, and then I focused on the front sight.
In the final shoot, I was the only member of our group from the church to qualify as a graduate, and I missed being a marksman by two points.
Look at the picture above. It is an image of a proper sight picture when firing a pistol. See how blurry the target is? That goes against our nature. Shouldn’t we be looking at where we want to put the bullet?
The answer is, “Yes, and you can do that by focusing on the front sight.”
See that middle post in the sight picture? That’s the front sight. When it is perfectly aligned inside the space created by the rear sights and you are focused on the front sight, you simply can’t miss. (Unless your sights get misaligned, and I speak from experience.)
Why is it so important? Picture a line drawn from the rear sight of the gun to the target. That line will always be straight. But with only two reference points, you’d never know the actual trajectory. The front sight adds a third point, a focal point to align your eye to the target. When you focus on it, it enforces the straight line. Like I said, when you do it right, you simply can’t miss. It’s junior high geometry really.
Think of leading a church when you look at that picture. The target is all the things you’d like to do with the congregation. You’d like to have a cool worship team, or you’d like to see people becoming disciples in amazing ways. Those are great; and they’re biblical. (Although I would say that the target of the church should actually be glorifying Christ, but I digress.)
Now, the rear sights of the picture are the people and relationships of the church. They’re strong and they’re close – just like that rear sight, but they’re easily misguided. They swing this way and that, and without a reference point, they’re not accurate. They’re all over the map.
Remember when I said that the front sight is a third point which aligns the barrel and makes a straight line to the target? Junior high geometry, right?
Here’s where we apply it to the church. The front sight is the reference point between the rear sights (people) and the target (glorifying Christ and all the thinks you want to do). The front sight is what the church needs to become in order to move straight toward the target.
During the merger process that resulted in Bedford Road Baptist Church, it was absolutely imperative that the elders and I kept the right focus. We had to constantly focus on what the congregation needs to be in order to do what is on the target. We needed to be a healthy, diverse group of people focused on Jesus.
Becoming a healthy, diverse group of people focused on Jesus was our focus – not how to merge programs or who got what positions or making sure every political base was covered at the business meetings. That constant focus on our front sight allowed us to deal with the winds of hurt feelings and bruised egos, and even the departure of dear friends over issues we hoped we could work out. When distractions came, we were so focused on the front sight that we dealt with them quickly so we could keep our focus tight.
If you want my advise, it is the same as the advice my shooting instructors gave to me.
Focus on the front sight!