Diversions. Distractions. Deviations. Detours. All of these are temptations to boards, leaders, teams and individuals. It is the temptation to divert our attention from the main thing to ancillary and less important things. It is easy to be distracted from what is most important. It takes great discipline to focus on the main things God has called us to and keep our focus there.
Take the local church. The Main Thing is introducing people to Christ and helping them grow into spiritual maturity - the front and back side of the great commission. It is more believers and better believers.
If you are on a church board or staff, make a mental guess as to how much time in your board meetings are focused on accomplishing the Main Thing and how much time on other things? Or in staff meetings? Or in your particular ministry. It is easy to stay wrapped up in budgets, staffing and programming, all important but to the detriment of the Main Thing? Which is why many congregations keep many people busy with very little spiritual results.
My experience in working with church boards is that unless there is significant resolve on the part of board leadership, the board will gravitate toward all kinds of time churning issues that have little or nothing to do with the Main Thing.
I think about my own life. God has given me four Main Things for me. It takes huge discipline to stay focused on the Main Things and minimize distractions from other nice but non Main Things - for me. Scattered attention is easy, focused living is hard.
In his letters to Timothy, Paul repeatedly encouraged Timothy not to be distracted or to waste his time on ancillary issues, fruitless debates or even people who were prone to spend their time in empty discussions. He urged Timothy to focus on the Main Thing for him - preaching and teaching the word and ensuring that his life was lived with faithfulness and integrity.
Every day, people, circumstances and the very organizations we serve can distract us from the Main Thing. Our challenge is to keep steering our lives, our teams, our boards and our organizations back toward the Main Thing so that the Main Thing is not distracted by ancillary things.
Can you define the Main Things for your life? Those key things God has called you to? Can you do the same for your church or your current ministry? If you can, how are you doing? If you cannot, are you willing to take the time to ask and answer the question?
The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. And that is the hardest thing!