I’ve always been drawn to those pictures that focus in on one thing and make everything else in the picture fuzzy. It’s the mystery of it that draws me in. Yes, I can see that flower, but what’s in the background? What’s hiding in the shadows? What’s beyond the focus?
For a photographer, a quick twist of the wrist can instantly change the focus of their lens. What was once the primary focus of their snapshot soon becomes a blurred part of the landscape in lieu of a new subject. There is nothing to really say one is better than another, rather, the photographer has to decide which best fits the needs of the moment; the lighting, the mood, the overall flow of the picture.
The idea of refocusing, of moving from one primary area of focus to another, is one that many ministries find themselves exploring in this world of rapidly changing trends and technology. The most notable difference however is that it takes much more than the flick of a wrist to bring about that kind of change in organizations. While we may be able to see where we’d like to take our focus, the journey to get there is often wrought with resistance that we don’t foresee or are not prepared to encounter.
Recently, there has been a move throughout churches and ministries towards a new focus, a focus that turns our eye towards the home and champions a partnership between the church and family supporting parents/caregivers as the primary means to disciple the next generation. Practically this plays out in a church focused on equipping and resourcing the home and taking a more intergenerational, mentoring approach to ministry rather than an age-segregated “silo” avenue. The need for this shift in focus has been widely assessed by researchers and ministers who point to Scripture, studies and statistics as basis for re-envisioning church as a place of partnership rather than competition for spiritual formation and discipleship.
I have sat through many a children’s ministry conference where this vision is shared and embraced with great enthusiasm and support. Sadly, I have also watched on Facebook as many of my fellow ministers face obstacles of tradition and misunderstanding upon their return home and grow discouraged in their desire to bring about that change in focus.
Thus springs the idea for this blog, and hopefully in the future, a ministry dedicated to the process of bringing about that transition and delving into the mystery of the fuzzy background by bringing it into focus. Each church, each ministry has different needs, different families, different cultures that have to be considered and invited into the process of bringing about that change. My heart is to provide a place that leans into the process of transition and brings light to the obstacles that hinder change in a way that honor is championed, hearts are encouraged and Christ is glorified. Transition is never easy, but it is possible and it can be an exciting time of growth and visioning for the entire congregation.
Perhaps you find yourself today on the verge of transition. God has given you a vision. He has drawn your attention to a new focus through His Word, His Spirit and His Truth, and you are ready to begin the journey of transformation. Perhaps you’ve tried before and failed and you feel like you just can’t walk the path alone. Perhaps you are in the trenches, knee deep in the throes of transition and ready to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of where you are, if you are feeling this tug towards transforming your church’s ministry to families, I invite you to join me as we together take the steps we need to see God’s heart for children, parents, grandparents and everyone in-between growing together in their faith and life.
It is time to reFocus.
Picture courtesy of Nicole Cook photography, ncookphotography.com