Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

So Focused I Lost Focus

A guest blog post written by my life-long friend Greg Moehl. 

Do you ever get so focused on something you lose focus of your focus? 

This Easter that exact thing happened to me.  I’m pretty involved in the church community. I wasn’t always that way.  I used to not go to church at all. When I did it wasn’t for big events like Easter, because I was a put-in-the-minimum kind of guy. That has all changed now that I am a semi-responsible adult with children of my own.  Now I’m heavily involved in the church -- and I mean heavily. 

My wife and I run a food pantry, I am a youth mentor, I sit on the board of trustees and I lead/participate in several small groups.  As I said, I’m involved in the church community, so much so that I find myself on unfamiliar ground.  I have to not only watch what I say but how I say it,  not because I am saying anything bad, but because people are actually listening.  Some are listening simply due to the fact I do so much at the church they think I must be Godly and they are looking for God (even if they don’t really know it.)  Some listen because my wife is the director of the food pantry; some listen because the Pastor and I were best men at each other’s wedding.  There are even those who listen because they look up to me, and yes, even those who are listening for God to speak to them through me.  That last one comes with a lot of pressure. So how do all these people listening and all the pressure take so much of my focus that I end up losing focus?  Let me tell you.

It starts with the simple idea of focusing on the mission not the method.  Recently the church  had a huge Easter event with hundreds of kids and parents in attendance, and even the Easter Bunny showed up.  This is a huge outreach for our church and one of the best opportunities we have to reach the masses with the love of Jesus Christ.  That is our mission, and one we take very seriously.   My problem is that, because I feel like so many people are looking to me to say the right thing or have the perfect answer, I often feel stuck looking for something perfect to give them.  These moments can get me focusing on the wrong things. 

I started to think: Are we set up the best way? Are there enough trash cans?  Did we divide the eggs appropriately per age group?  This was just a bunch of really silly things, and the most hilarious part is that I was only there to help with one specific task, which was to stake the egg areas and then get back to my mission of showing the love of Jesus. 

I realized that morning I lost sight of the mission. I became so focused on getting the method right, so the people listening would think that I am worth listening to, that the mission didn’t reach its full potential.  My focus on the method handicapped the mission. Luckily, it was short-lived and no harm was done. But I wonder how many people I could have shared the mission with in the time I was worrying about the method?

Great methods are wonderful things and we all have different methods we use every day. Methods are important, and it is important to have good methods. Maybe it’s how you trick your four-year into getting dressed super quick for preschool, or how you rally everyone at work for a big project. No matter how great the method is it doesn’t matter if you lose sight of the mission.

What I learned this Easter is to focus on the mission and because of that I can enjoy the method that much more.

Greg and his family.

Greg and his family.

Where do you need to put down the method and pick up the mission?

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