Odeo was a tech company that created a platform for people to create podcasts quickly and easily. At the time, right in the middle of the "dot com" boom, tech companies were getting a lot of funding but not all tech companies were surviving. Odeo was floundering.
The company's leadership decided to refund all the investors and shared that they were ditching their podcasting platform. Additionally, the leadership shared that the company was going to take a little side project one of their employees was working on and try to make that product work. Odeo changed it's name to Twitter and, well you know what might have happened next.
In the part of the Church that I work in, there is a emphasis on being focused. My conference has a focus "empower and equip local congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world". My denomination has four areas of focus. Local congregations are encouraged to have a mission and vision statement in order to bring focus to the missional goals of the local church. And while this emphasis on being focused may be a reaction to the multi-tasking and distracting world we live in, focus can lead us astray.
Jesus said the Spirit blows like the wind. We neither know where it comes from or where it is going. The Spirit came down at Pentecost and opened mouths not so that one focused language could be heard but that every language was heard. The work of Paul was like that of Jesus; moving from community to community on a constant search for the next thing that the Spirit is doing. The Spirit moved in the hearts of reformers and the Church is now expressed in thousands of denominations around the world. The Spirit cannot be contained, it cannot be focused.
Might it be possible that with our efforts to try to be more focused we are missing what the Spirit is trying to do in our midst?
If Odeo was focused on podcasting and their software, they would have missed out on the wild-eyed idea that one of their people had to create a micro-blogging website which others did not see the value of. Odeo chased down an unfocused idea in order to discover a new and wonderful tool of connection and sharing.
It was not what they thought they were going to create, but it was where the spirit of inspiration took them.
The question for the local church is are we so bound to being focused that we are unwilling (or unable) to go to a new place that the Spirit may be taking us?