An outward focus means looking outside the walls of your own church. It means being more concerned about reaching out and meeting the needs of the community around you than you are about the level of comfort inside the church. For most churches, it’s much easier to look inside the church– at things like budget, staffing, buildings, attendance, etc. Yet those things are actually a means to an end. What is the end? The mission of the church to go and make disciples (Matt 28).
What are the most common barriers to our looking outside the walls of our churches?
- Not knowing where to start or how to get connected. Survey and pray over the needs in your community. Consider who you can talk with to find out more. Who is already involved in meeting those needs? How can you come alongside what God is already doing?
- Freeing up time and energy. Consider how much time you will need. Consider what you are already doing and decide what you can delete, delegate, or delay? Consider your priorities, then get specific in terms of concrete action steps.
- Being in the comfort zone of fellowship. Fellowship with other believers can feel good, but it’s not the primary activity Jesus has called us to as his church. Consider ways you can be a support to one another AS you are serving, ministering, reaching out, and making disciples.
- Fear and an unwillingness to reach out. What are some of those fears? Engage in some honest dialogues with one another about those fears. What are the concerns your people have and how can you address those concerns?
How can you address these barriers in your context? What would an outward focus look like in your context?