How can we determine if our church is ready for a FOCUS?
Review the Your FOCUS on the World Manual to more thoroughly understand the concepts and consider the real-life stories of churches that are engaged globally in a FOCUS. Then ask yourselves: Are we passionate about reaching across cultural barriers to reach people with the gospel and expand Christ’s Kingdom? Are we dissatisfied with the current level of missions involvement of our church? Are we willing to change or expand the way we engage in missions if another approach may be more effective? Do we have a core of key leaders willing to invest the time to discover how God is leading our congregation?
If you answer to these questions is, “yes,” then you are ready to further explore God’s global plans for your church. Welcome to the FOCUS process!
What difference will a FOCUS make in our missions program?
A FOCUS can move your church:
Does a FOCUS replace everything else we have been doing in missions?
Absolutely not! Adopting a FOCUS means you are adding a concentrated initiative, not dropping involvement with ministries that have been valuable elements of your church’s missions program. Often, but certainly not always, a church chooses to FOCUS on an initiative in which they have already been involved. In most cases, your entire missions program will benefit from your FOCUS efforts.
Can we chose more than one FOCUS?
Eventually your church may want to adopt two or even more focuses because there are few FOCUS initiatives that can utilize all of a church’s resources or engage all of its passion. Larger churches have the capacity to sustain multiple strategic initiatives at one time, thereby engaging the maximum number of people.
However, launching a FOCUS takes a lot of work. It is almost always best for a small or medium-size congregation to get one FOCUS well started before attempting to initiate others.
Choosing multiple focuses simply because the missions team cannot come to consensus on a single direction usually indicates an unwillingness to adopt a new paradigm and in the long run results in little or no release of fresh energy.
Must our FOCUS be international, or can it be a local initiative?
Many of the FOCUSing principles can be applied to outreach of any type anywhere. The FOCUSing process is designed to help your church fulfill the Great Commandment to love God and your neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40) and the Great Commission to go into all the world with the good news (Mk 16:15).
However, the Your FOCUS on the World Manual, specifically addresses your cross-cultural missions mandate. The issue is not primarily geography: You can cross cultures right in your own community if you reach out to a neighbor who has immigrated from Lebanon or India or Japan. But the majority of the FOCUS Manual’s context is ends-of-the-earth involvement.
Should we choose a FOCUS location before we begin?
No. In fact, you will not even decide if you want to pursue a FOCUS until your FOCUS selection team has had an opportunity to carefully consider and extensively pray about this option. After further consideration, your group will decide if you are ready to launch a FOCUS at this time and begin to narrow your options. In most cases, a final FOCUS selection does not occur until after you have sent a survey team to “explore the land,” a process outlined in the FOCUS Manual.
What if we already have a FOCUS but want to get our congregation more involved?
The alternate FOCUS resource, Your FOCUS on the World Implementation Guide, is designed for churches like yours! This practical resource will help you identify and train leaders, identify fresh ways to engage the congregation, avoid common pitfalls, and pursue opportunities to partner with others who share your passion.
Is a FOCUS primarily for large churches?
No. The FOCUS Manual presents the stories of many churches of all different types and sizes that have successfully pursued a FOCUS. One urban congregation of 35 members is making a major FOCUS impact. Another FOCUSing congregation is a brand-new church plant. If they can do it, so can you!
What if we have never been engaged in missions before?
Adopting a strategic FOCUS is a great way to begin your global involvement! The process of laying the foundation for selecting and implementing a FOCUS will expand your understanding of who God has made you to be and what His global purpose is for your church.
What if our church leaders aren’t excited about missions?
We have found that when they understand the underlying concepts of the FOCUSing process, the majority of pastors and other church leaders get excited about the implications for their church. Why? Because a FOCUS is not a program imposed from the outside but a natural response built on what your leaders believe God has designed your church to be and do. Your FOCUS grows organically at the speed which God provides the vision, leaders, and resources.
Can we walk through the FOCUSing process on our own, or do we need someone to guide us?
There are two options of how a church can walk through the FOCUS journey:
The Self-Led Approach
The Facilitated Approach
Finding a facilitator with missions knowledge and good facilitation skills is important. Catalyst Services can point you to a facilitator they have trained. Or you may wish to inquire if a facilitator is available from the missions partnership office of your denomination, the church mobilization department of a trusted agency, or a mobilization organization. Or perhaps a missions pastor/chairman of a nearby congregation has the time and gifting to facilitate your group.
How do we find a trained FOCUS facilitator?
Catalyst would be glad to connect you. Just call us at 215.579.4346 between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday. Or you can email us at info@CatalystServices.org.
If we use an outside facilitator, what coordination must be provided by the church for a successful FOCUSing process?
Your FOCUS coordinator will need to:
The FOCUS process coordinator’s role is completed when the FOCUS has been selected. He/She is not automatically the leader of the FOCUS effort.
How long will FOCUSing take?
The FOCUS manual will walk your church through the process of not only identifying and selecting a FOCUS, but implementing it and eventually bringing it to a conclusion. For this reason, you will return to this manual and related resources for years to come. However, the period of time from initiating the process to selecting the FOCUS typically runs 3-15 months. Planning a nine-month process might be optimum.
What does the FOCUSing schedule look like?
The sessions can be organized to fit your church’s preferred schedule. Below are two options. It is assumed that participants will have read and spent some time considering the pertinent material in the manual in advance of each session.
Here is what the schedule might look like for each of these options:
Can I talk to someone to get more of my questions answered?
Yes! Ellen Livingood, the author of the FOCUS materials, would be glad to talk with you. Just call us at 215.579.4346 Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET. Or email us at info@CatalystServices.org. We would be glad to be of help.