I have the privilege of speaking in so many, many churches every year. I’ve discovered there are two kinds of churches. There’s a congregation-minded one, and there’s a community-minded one. The difference is rather simple. A congregation-minded church looks inward, and a community-minded church looks outward. Let’s break that down even further. Here’s what happens.
Congregation-minded church: Grows by transfer. That is people moving from one church to another.
Community-minded church: Grows by conversion. They lead people to Christ who become growing believers.
Congregation-minded church: Looks at everything they’re doing and says, “How can this benefit our people?”
Community-minded church: Looks at whether everything they’re doing could possibly have an outreach to unbelievers.
Congregation-minded church: Is strong in Bible teaching but not evangelism.
Community-minded church: Strives to be strong in both areas. It’s not either/or; it’s both.
Congregation-minded church: Comes to the end of the year and says, “How many people have we increased over last year?”
Community-minded church: Asks a different question. It’s how many people have been led to Christ by corporate witness of the church and are growing as His disciples. Growth for growth’s sake does not satisfy a community-minded church. They want growth by conversion.
Congregation minded church: Uses Bible teaching as the end.
Community minded church: Uses Bible teaching as the means. That is, they’re not satisfied with simply knowing more of the Word, but they want that knowledge of the Word to impact the people they have contact with each week.
Congregation-minded church: Tends to be program centered.
Community-minded church: Seems to be people centered. That’s why their concern is so much for unbelievers.
Congregation-minded church: Spends very little, if anything, on evangelism.
Community-minded church: Spends a significant portion of their budget on local evangelism over and above what they’re doing in terms of the missions budget.
You can see how profound the difference is between the two. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” I believe God wants our churches to be community-minded. Frankly, there’s no healthier congregation than one that is concerned about unbelievers. Seeing them come to Christ and grow as disciples can be one of the healthiest things any congregation can experience.