Inward Focused? Part 1
I am working on some new thoughts that follow up on my book Calling. I would love your thoughts about my concerns of the local church. Keep in mind I still work in a local church daily, and love the local church, but I still have some huge concerns. My first concern is that we are so inward focused.
Inward focused churches it seems to me have created two major problems for the Family Of Faith:
First, they don’t have much impact on the culture.
Second, they offer very little ministry dignity to the majority of the congregation.
I think impact and dignity are twin casualties in inward focused churches.
The first problem, lack of impact, was obvious to me as a kid that my church was not interested in what was happening in its community . It quickly became clear to me that my church had little interest in ministry beyond it walls. But the second problem, i.e. the lay person’s dignity, took a few years to figure out.
In inward focused churches, Joe and Jill Christian are seldom encouraged to find and follow their ministry callings. Rather, they are seduced into settling for less. They typically settle for being inspired by the few who feel they are “called to the ministry.” It can be frustrating for Joe and Jill, and it can also be frustrating for pastors. Both laity and clergy are victims in inward focused churches.
Yesterday I met with a person in my church that has his Doctorate in Leadership Development, and he has written a course as thick as a phone book on leadership development that a very well known seminary uses, and it is great. We talked about how to implement it in our church and he stopped me in the middle of our conversation and said,”Rich, you know I think our church is change resistant.” I said, “no we are inward focused and your ideas would threaten that.”
Here are some questions I would love to hear from you on:
1. How do we move beyond being inward focused?
2. How do we give dignity to each person, not just the few in our church?
3. How do we move beyond inward focused to impact our community?
4. What is your church doing to be outward focused?