In The Externally Focused Church, the authors recognize that they do not know any churches that claim to be internally focused, yet that does not mean they do not exist. Here is a word-picture of many churches in America:
Internally focused churches concentrate on getting people into the church and generating activity there. These churches may create powerful worship experiences, excel in teaching, offer thriving youth programs, and have vibrant small groups, but at the end of the day, what is measured is the number of people and activities within the church. (2)
Churches are too focused on themselves and not focused on the kingdom of God. The activities and ministries of many churches are devoted to the members. Yet more tragic is that church members are consuming vast amounts of resources that could be utilized to extend the kingdom. Budgets are expanded to build larger buildings and to hire more staff to serve the members. From the outside looking in, churches appear to be self-absorbed. The church’s “contribution beyond themselves is no longer seen as viable or significant by the community.” (3)
There is a desperate need for Christians to embody the mission and message of Jesus. “The church doesn’t exist for itself; it exists to serve the world. It is not ultimately about the church; it’s about the people God wants to bless through the church. When the church loses sight of this, it loses its heart.” (4)
Ultimately, it is not about us! It is about the King and His kingdom. Christians have to realize that “we can no longer afford to sit still, waiting for people to come to us. We must go into the world and be Christians who reproduce Christians and churches that reproduce churches.” (5)
1. Easum, “It’s Time to Tell the Truth About Christians and Our Churches,” Net Results (February 2000), 22; quoted in Clegg and Bird, Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next Door, 21.
2. Rusaw and Swanson, The Externally Focused Church, 16.
3. Ogne and Roehl, Coaching: A New Paradigm, 48.
4. Bell, Velvet Elvis, 165.
5. Clegg and Bird, Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next Door, 37.