Meanderings of a Minister

Where Is Your Focus?
May 3, 2012, 3:25 pm
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Dr. Thom Rainer, the President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, recently wrote on his blog in which he listed ten ways you can tell if your church is inwardly focused or one that understands both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.  While not intended to be a reproduction of that article, I thought it would be helpful to consider these signs and evaluate our own churches to find out where our focus is and what we should do about it.

#1 – Worship wars.  Do you hear frequent complaints from people about what music your church is doing or not doing?  Do you hear frustration over what instruments are used, how fast or slow the music is sung and whether or not you should have a choir or praise team?  Are you locked into a certain order of worship?  If so, put a one in this column.

#2 – Meetings that have to meet, whether there is anything to talk about or not.  Do you have committees or teams that meet because it is on the schedule?  When you do meet, what is the topic of your meetings?  Is it to talk about reaching the lost or other inconsequential concerns?  Do you have so many meetings that people don’t have time to lead their families, reach their neighbors or be involved in their community building relationships with the lost?  If any of this is true, put a one in this column.

#3 – Do you choose not to do certain activities that will reach people because of its potential impact on your church facilities?  In other words, do you not want to dirty up and wear out your carpets, dishes, chairs, tables or bathrooms?  If so, then your facility has become your focus and it is being seen as sacrosanct instead of being seen as a tool to reach your community.  If this is true of you, put a one in this column.

#4 – Do you have programs that have little or no attendance, but you have to have them?  For instance, at our church, we had only about 4 or 5 people coming to prayer meeting on Wednesday nights.  Our AWANA program was growing and we needed workers.  We chose to cancel prayer meetings and ask all of those coming to work in our AWANA program and we have gone from 50 kids to as many as 130 kids!  Would your church do such a thing?  If not, then put a one in this column.

#5 – Take a look at your church budget.  Do you spend all your money on your own people?  What percentage is spent on missions?  On outreach?  Benevolence?  Events designed to reach people?  Other churches?  If you look at this and the amount being spent outside of the church seems to be too little, then put a one in this column.

#6 – Does everyone in your church want pastoral care?  I don’t mean that they want a pastor to visit in times of difficulty.  Do they want the pastor to visit them just because they are members?  If this is the general expectation of your church, put a one in this column.

#7 – Do you ever hear, or do people generally have, an attitude of entitlement for those in the church?  It might apply to music, time, meetings, programs or any other of a plethora of areas.  If this is the case, then put a one in this column.

#8 – Greater concerns about change than about the lost.  When you mention change, do you get more people involved and excited than when you have an evangelism challenge?  Than when you have a scripture memory challenge?  Than when you have a tithing challenge?  If so, put a one in this column.

#9 – Anger and hostility.  Do you encounter anger from the members of your church?  Whether it is over change or not, is there a lot of anger?  If so, put a one in this column.

#10 – Are you personally, and is your church corporately, apathetic about reaching the lost?  I don’t mean do you talk about it.  I mean, do you do it?  Are you intentional about it?  If not, put a one in this column.

Now, add up all of the ones.  If you have more than 8, your focus is extremely inwardly focused.  If you have 5-8, you have a great tendency towards looking inwardly.  If you have 2-5, then you are either heading towards being inwardly focused or are recovering from it.  If you have 0-1, you are outwardly focused and should be or about to see God do an amazing work.
Where do you want to be?


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