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Planned Neglect

A young violinist delivered a virtuoso performance.  After the magnificent concert that showcased her gift she was asked by a music critic what she attributed her success and talent to.  Her response was “Planned Neglect!”  She explained a strategic decision in her life to neglect those things that were not necessary to her goal of becoming a concert violinist.  Leaders and churches must begin to eliminate the unnecessary so that we can get back to those things that are necessary for us to be who God wants us to be.  Planned neglect asks the question, “What is most important?”  “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  —Michael Porter

 There are so many things we could be doing but what should we be doing?  What is it that God wants us to be busy about?  In Matt. 28:19 we are told to “Go and Make disciples…”  We are to be focused on disciple making. That has not changed and never will change until the Lord returns.  We do not have to scratch our heads or call another meeting to try to figure out what we should be doing.  Our mission is clear and we need to quit talking about it and just do it!  “God calls us to make a transformational impact on the world, not provide a carnival of frenetic activity for ourselves.”  —Thom Rainer

 Two questions need to be asked to decide how effectively we are doing the best things. 

#1  Are we going?  Are you living sent?  A sending environment should be a part of the atmosphere in your church.  There should be strong evidence of mobilizing our people to infiltrate the culture they function in.  We should not settle for a “come-to-us” mentality but a “go-and-find-them” attitude should permeate every ministry of our churches.  Instead of creating paths that lead those outside inside, we need to create paths that lead those inside outside.  Many focus on getting better at what they are doing but we must first focus on doing better things.

#2  Are we making disciples who make disciples?  A process and strategy of mentoring new believers should be in place that is simple, easily reproducible, and functioning in our churches.  Our mission is not just to win people but to cultivate the faith within them.  This involves meeting people where they are spiritually and moving them to where they need to be.  It is relational, a little messy at times, but always meaningful.  “Many people do not give themselves to developing other people because they never had it happen to them.” —Reggie McNeal 

 Be careful because it is much easier to develop programs than to win people to Christ and build them up.  Just because you have a program for discipleship does not guarantee that disciples are being made. We must first “go” if we are going to make disciples.  For far too long Christians have been ignoring their responsibility to evangelize!  This is where it must begin and until individual Christians once again embace this commandment from the Lord, churches will have to try to develop “programs” to reach the lost. 

 How are you investing your time and energy daily that proves you are concerned about the lost people in your circles of influence?  Multiplication of ministry has to begin with subtraction and you must figure out what you need to stop doing so that you can focus on what you should be doing.  All of us need to stop doing some things that are consuming our time and dedicate more time to reaching lost people with the gospel.  “A “stop doing” list is more important than a “start doing” list.  Stop something to liberate energy for what matters more.”  –Eric Geiger

 Dave DeVries puts it well, “What does the American church need to abandon to see the gospel move forward and disciple-makers made exponentially?”  Make plans now to neglect some things that really do not matter in order to focus time and energy on what does matter; Disciple Making!