Focused

Do you ever feel like the world is just too big? Do the vast number of options and ideas and plans and visions and things-I-could-do actually feel like a daunting, overwhelming “something” that you don’t want to deal with?

 

When we have so many options at our fingertips it is easy to get lost in the options and the ideas. Some days I kind of wish that I had never had the option to leave the farm in Kansas. If I hadn’t, at least I would know where I was going and could focus on that! But, alas, I did leave the farm. And now I’m in “the big city.” Now I’m in the elite 7% of the world that have a college degree. So I have to figure out where to go in this big world of choice.

 

I realize that what I’m describing is a problem of the privileged. I realize that my sex, race and religion afford me more opportunities than others in the world. This is of course my reality. It would be easy to be paralyzed by the realization of my privilege. But it would be better to acknowledge it, move forward, and seek to live into a reality where all are afforded equality of option.

 

One of the reasons I’m excited about InFaith is that we have decided to limit our options. We have chosen to focus.

 

This continues my look at InFaith’s ministry essentials. You can read my previous posts about relevance, commitment, and community. This week I’m looking at focus.

 

We are about connecting people with relevant ministry in the United States. We believe that people transformed by Jesus will be a redemptive community, causing winds of revival within our nation’s borders.

 

As a mission organization, InFaith has made the decision to be focused. We work in the United States. There are other incredible mission organizations out there that go overseas. Some of them are doing incredible pioneer work, translating the Bible and bringing the Gospel to unreached people groups. Others are working in health and community development, participating in God’s holistic reign of peace and justice. These are awesome movements of God and should be celebrated. But for our part, we are focused here on the U.S.

 

In every place where InFaith serves, we enable our people to focus exclusively on their own context. We don’t prescribe ministry because we reach locally. We let our people serving on the ground by the first ones to suggest they do ministry in this way or that way. This is how folks like Steve Kreis ended up being a pastor/ missionary to Latin American shepherds in the Rocky Mountains. How Rick Ediger became a mechanic. How Melanie Reimer began a program to connect young adults with mentors within her church.

 

InFaith’s focus on relevant ministry in the U.S. has enabled our people to move as the Spirit leads. This is just as we want it. We don’t pretend to know exactly what God is up to. We want to allow ourselves to be moved as God moves us. Our continual prayer is that God would use us. Everyday we submit our plans to God and ask Him to stop us if we need to stop or light a fire under us if we need to move quickly!

 

I’ve begun to realize that following after God is like moving along an ever-focusing arc. The experiences we have and the decisions we make, for better or worse, are how God shapes us into who He wants us to be. It is this constant transformation toward and by Jesus that makes us into the redemptive community the church is called to be! No one begins and ends their life in the same way. Each one’s road is full of unexpected turns and detours. But a constant focus on God and focus on the context around us will put us in exactly the place where God wants us to be.

 

What would it look like if more of us were able to focus our lives and our ministry? Without the distraction of unending choice, would we be able to more clearly hear God’s leading? How would it change the way we respond to unexpected turns and detours in our life? Would it transform the way we understand who we are and how God is calling us to love the world?