One of the more important personal disciplines as a leader is to be able to know what you don’t care about. Or more to the point, what you shouldn’t care about.
For example, I don’t care about:
…transfer growth from other churches
(we’re after the unchurched)
…whether another church in town is bigger or faster-growing
(we’re not in competition with other churches)
…people who leave the church because they disagree with: our belief in the Bible as the Word of God, our policy of conducting criminal background checks on all children’s ministry volunteers, our belief that lost people matter to God, or…
(some things are simply non-negotiable)
…refusing money from someone who wants to use it to impose their will
(no amount of money is worth that)
(haven’t for many years)
…petty disagreements on historically disputable matters
(in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity)
(come as you are; it’s how you leave that matters)
I’m continually surprised at how many leaders spend enormous amounts of energy – and emotion – on things that simply don’t matter. I could add to this list, almost effortlessly, with scores of other examples – and could give testimony to seeing how each one consumed a person or church.
But then, equally stunning, is how lax these same leaders are on things that DO matter.
For example, not caring about:
…people knowing and embracing the vision, values, mission and doctrine of the church
(these are kind of the big four)
…the continued presence and practice of contentious, divisive behavior in the church
(if you haven’t learned to confront this at once, you haven’t learned much)
…whether you’re reaching the unchurched
(it’s called the Great Commission – translation: it’s why you exist)
…the poorest of the poor and those suffering injustice in the world
(it’s what separates the sheep from the goats)
There’s an old line about “majoring on the majors,” because the temptation is to major on the minors. For most leaders, this means how they spend their time, or choosing what to take a stand for. But somehow, the wind seems to have gone out of our sails on this one.
So let’s up it a notch: the real issue behind what to major in is what you should care about, and what you should care about is simple:
What hills do you need to be willing to die on?