I just finished The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al and Laura Ries. It was very good. To me, the overarching theme was simple: narrow your focus. This is the theme of another Al Ries book, but it’s good advice. Narrowing your focus allows you to be known for something that you do well, rather than having a 100 things you’re mediocre at.
Most churches try to do too much. Everyone says that, but no one pulls the plug on anything they’re already doing. We decided to narrow our focus a couple of years ago after being challenged by the Northpoint guys at a session from Catalyst. We have limited what we do to 5 things:
#1 – Sunday Service
#2 – Children’s Ministry
#3 – Student Ministry
#4 – Small Groups
#5 – Couples
By narrowing our focus to these 5 things, it allows us to do these things well. Most churches increase ministry and lower their effectiveness as they grow. We have sought to do the opposite. We have narrowed the focus as we’ve grown and it has made all the difference.
“But what about the people who will leave if we don’t have ________ ministry?” Here’s a little secret: they are going to leave anyway, especially if you and your staff are stretched so thin that you can’t do anything really well. This was such a hard lesson to learn, but it’s so true.
The next challenge for us is to implement an international missions’ strategy, but we’re thinking this is a 2008 goal. We support mission right now, but we want to go beyond sending money and start sending teams. Right now we don’t have a staff member who can own this ministry, so we’re waiting to do it right. So we focus on what we can do well and sparingly add things as God brings the right people into the mix. (By the way, pick up the book. It was good.)