Have you ever hit your sweet spot? Anyone who plays or watches golf has heard the term “sweet spot.” It’s that often-elusive spot on the face of your golf club where, when the ball is hit just right, produces a crisp shot that achieves maximum distance and direction. The sweet spot is just above the center of the clubface, the exact point where the center of gravity of the club head is moving directly towards the center of gravity of the golf ball. Hitting the sweet spot results in balls that will travel straight and true. On the other hand, if you don’t hit the sweet spot, the energy transfer will be less effective.
Estimating that I’ve probably hit 15,000 golf shots in thirty years of playing an average of five rounds a summer, I may have hit the sweet spot a hundred times. Clearly, sweet spots are few and far between when you don’t practice. Yet, those few times when I nailed it will never be forgotten.
Everyone has a sweet spot. It’s the place where we live integrated and joyful lives that achieve the best possible balance and wholeness. It’s when we’re in the “zone,” as runners put it. We are operating on all cylinders, stretching beyond our grasp and making full use of every talent and spiritual gift we have been given to positively impact our small corner of the world. According to spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, “When you are living in your sweet spot, you feel both calm and energetic, accomplished and joyful, strong and at ease.”
I would contend that many of us, including our churches, never reach our full potential and savor the sweet spot because we either don’t know how to find it or are afraid of what might happen when we do find it.
Thirteen Ways to Find Your Personal Sweet Spot
- Create a personal mission statement that guides your decisions and actions.
- Work smart. Focus on what only you can do, delegate what others can do and don’t give in to the tyranny of the urgent but not important.
- Follow a routine for maintaining balance between work and play and write it into your calendar!
- Eat the frog. Tackle the most important task on your to-do list in the morning before you get distracted by other demands. At the same time, always be open for the Holy Spirit to disrupt your well-thought-out plans.
- Sleep on it. Making decisions tires out the brain, so get enough rest. Not only does your body function better when rested, but your brain is also much more effective.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up and be positive!
- Relish family and friends. By bearing one another’s burdens, we all grow stronger.
- Learn how to let go, forgive and seek reconciliation, thereby gaining a peaceful and generous heart.
- Spend time outside, soaking up the energy of God’s creation.
- Beware multitasking! Know when to turn off the phone.
- Be strategic in knowing when to say “no” and when to say “yes.” No one is indispensable.
- Pay attention to the longings of your heart, stay centered in God’s grace, do what you can, then let it be. Take a hot bath, read a novel or go for a long run.
- Discover what you love to do, what you’re good at and what serves the world. That just may be your sweet spot!
- Take the necessary time to discern your core values as a congregation, out of which you can develop mission, vision and purpose statements.
- Focus your energy on providing relevant, invitational and transformative worship.
- Hire staff and identify lay leaders who have the ability, creativity and passion to lead your congregation in fulfilling its mission and vision.
- Continually evaluate your ministries, letting go of what no longer works and boldly starting new ministries that are appropriate to your context.
- Work in teams to gain greater perspective and make wiser decisions.
- Use technology to enhance your ability to communicate the gospel and reach out to your community.
- Offer a balance of opportunities for spiritual growth, learning, missions and outreach.
- Do whatever it takes to foster diversity and be inclusive in every aspect of church life.
- Create community by having fun together, grieving together, singing together, disagreeing together and changing the world together.
- Let the children come to you and do not hinder them by making every conceivable excuse why you can’t attract children and families.
- The world is outside your building. So go there! Meet people where they live, work and play. At the same time, open the doors of your church to the community.
- Expect discipleship by identifying, training, equipping, empowering and nurturing spiritual leaders of all ages whose deep faith in Jesus Christ compels them to multiply their faith by creating more leaders.
- Discover what your congregation loves to do, what your congregation does best and how your congregation can best serve the world. That just may be your sweet spot!
Have you hit your sweet spot lately? Maybe if I just buy a new driver…