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Pastor's Pen: "Focus Can Make All the Difference"

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11

The 2003 book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and the subsequent movie starring Brad Pitt, tells the true story of how the Oakland Athletics built a successful baseball team on the cheap. How did they do it? They changed their focus. They discovered that a player’s ability to get on base predicted how many runs he would score better than more traditional measures. Then they built a team based on this new outlook. Whether you agree with A’s statistical analysis or not really isn’t the point. What matters is that our focus can make all the difference.

Churches often have the wrong focus. They enslave themselves to the “Three Bs”-- BUCKS in the bank, BUTTS in the pews, and the BUILDING’s square footage. These certainly are important, but defining a church’s success by them is a fool’s errand. Other measures might tell us more.

  • Does our church have a clear sense of God’s calling?

  • Does the church foster a sense of community?

  • Does our church make a difference in our city, region, and world?

  • Does our church adapt, applying God’s love to new situations?

  • Does our church leadership act as good stewards of the blessings we have received?

Starting in September, the First Presbyterian Church of Norwalk begins a partnership with Leighton Ford Ministries. Thanks to a grant from the Lily Foundation, this organization will use its experience and wisdom to help our congregation chart a course for the future. In 2030, we celebrate our bicentennial. We are the product of God’s grace and the faithfulness of past generations. We want to be just as faithful as we look ahead.

The first step on this journey is to understand where we are. We want to know your perceptions of the church’s health and faithfulness. We are asking the entire congregation to take a survey. It can be completed online or by pen and paper. This survey will be the start of our conversation about the future.

It all begins September 17. May God continue to bless the First Presbyterian Church.

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