Thursday, November 24, 2011

Passion + Focus = Impact

Passion + Focus = Impact                         What in the world does that mean?

This is a description of who I am, what I do, and how I do it.  I am a man of deep passion - no, not in the sultry, bite on a rose stem and tango across the floor kind of passion, but rather the take a mission in my heart and devote myself fully to it kind of passion.

For me, this most notably is shown through my concern for the plight of orphans worldwide.  I've been in quite a few orphanages, shelters, and trade schools for the fatherless throughout Eastern Europe, and the feeling of hopelessness is almost a physical experience - the darkness, the empty eyes, the cold temperature, the lack of warm blankets, etc.  I've also seen those eyes light up when true love, hope, and care are shown to the kids.  I've seen kids that most people would write off as troublemakers and carousers turn into the most lovable and sensitive kids that just need someone to hold them, pray over them, and truly love them without expecting anything in return.  Jesus can do all of this for them... and He is experienced by orphans through people like me and you.  So... yeah... that's my passion.

But passion alone doesn't get the job done.  I've seen a lot of people with love in their hearts go overseas once a year to give gifts to kids and think that they've done a great work, but they haven't.  If that's you, I'm sorry I've hurt your feelings.  But if that's all you're gonna do - a few days a year, give them a "Jesus hearts You" teddy bear, sing a few rounds of "Jesus Love Me" in a language the kids don't understand, and you think you've accomplished the Lord's work - sorry, but you fall incredibly short of the bar He set up for us.  I've actually had orphans tell me that if I wouldn't come back through the year to please not even come at all.  They've already been abandoned several times in their lives and don't need you to add to the list.

We need Focus in our outreach efforts, and that focus needs to remain for the other 51 weeks out of the year, continually with people on the ground, visiting, proving their love, building trust, providing for their needs.  We need focus in the organizations to operate with honor and respect of the culture and traditions of the locals.  We need focus to organize what we're doing, so we're not taking multiple organizations fighting to serve the same groups of kids in the same orphanages in the center of big cities, while hundreds are simply dying alone in remote warehouses for kids.  This focus enables us to define who our target kids are, how we're planning on reaching them year round, and how these efforts are effectively funded.  Churches around the world will unite to not just treat the symptoms of fatherlessness, but together combat the causes of poverty, addictions, and apathy.

Then... oh then, we will truly have impact on those we are called to serve.  Kids will have families.  Those without families will feel as if they have families with those volunteers, mentors, and churches that will surround them.  They will have clothes on their back, food in their bellies, roofs over their heads, and friends to call upon when times get tough.  Just as important, they will not turn to drugs, alcohol, or suicide.  They will have defenders to stand up to the traffickers and those who wish to do them harm.  They will turn to the Lord and become those who stand up, love, and serve those who remained behind.

That's true impact.

What does it look like in your ministry?  In your church?  In your mission?  And how can you fuse Passion with Focus to create more Impact?

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