The question became his guiding light. In his business career he rose because he was able to focus on what mattered most. Undaunted by minutia, he could zero in on the highest priorities. Repeatedly he asked colleagues that same question: what were they supposed to be doing? What was their purpose?
It was both a matter of business goals and a matter of style. His leadership became noted for how well people were treated and how clearly the organization functioned. Personally, he was also appreciative of his church. There he had learned values he readily applied. There his purpose became clear. In various ways he gave back to the church in gratitude.
Yet he was troubled that the church, where he found guidance, seemed unsure of itself. It didn’t sound unsure most of the time: confident sermons and sincere prayers flowed toward the pews. Purpose and confidence appeared intact.
But verbal assurance did not become tangible in church life. Committees squabbled. Programs faltered. Interest groups guarded their precious turf. Beyond platitudes the church splintered into factions. “The church can’t put its values into action,” this leader mused. “Has it lost its purpose?”
In a crucial way the church must learn from the business world. The ability to turn words into action, to live out purpose tangible, must be reanimated. Successful businesses get it. And Christian ideals seem obvious. But living them out in a timely way is the great challenge. Can the church revive its purpose? The jury is still out.
William L. Sachs