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The Externally Focused Church

The reason that most churches in the United States are plateaued or dying is that they have an inward focus.

This inward focus affects everything they do, from their leadership and decisions that they make to their style of worship and marketing strategy (or lack of one). In contrast, churches that are externally focused make decisions based on the people that are not already there. I actually was just discussing this very thing with my mentor last week in our weekly meeting.

The reason that I made the connection to fast-growing churches using consultants and services like secret shopping is to point out that they are passionate about reaching lost people and will do whatever it takes to grow and make an impact in their community.

When you make decisions as an organization, do you make them based on pleasing your existing congregation or doing whatever it takes to reach the people that are not already there? I know pastors and church leaders in fast-growing churches that will unapologetically say they make decisions based on their community and the people they’re trying to reach. They make it clear to their congregation that they are focused on reaching the lost and constantly cast that vision to their people.

To be honest, the difference between the internally focused church and the externally focused church is a vision leak. Churches that don’t intentionally, strategically, purposefully, and consistently cast a vision for reaching the lost will inevitably turn inward.

How do you address this constant struggle in your church? What tough decisions have you made to be an externally focused church?

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Greg Atkinson is an author, speaker, consultant, and the Founder of the First Impressions Conference and Worship Impressions—both specializing in guest services and hospitality.