The Externally-Focused Church

Continuing on with the theme from my last blog post (go HERE if you haven’t read it), I’d like to get straight to the heart of the matter. What all these “fastest-growing churches” have in common is an external focus. 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?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “The Externally-Focused Church

  1. My church asked the question three years ago: "Is our community a better place because we are here?" As a result of that, our vision statement was changed to incorporate serving people towards Jesus. We have also started a church-initiative called GoServe. Headed by a full-time coordinator, we impact the community in a meaningful way, both through church-driven programs (GoServe) and individual ideas (iServe).

    Three weeks ago, we cancelled all six services and took 1,200 people out into the community to serve. We worked with the city planners and coordinators to help them with projects that they otherwise would not have been able to complete:

    Our church is also hosting the ABC regional meetings for Colorado next week and our guest speaker is Rick Rusaw, author of The Externally Focused Church ( It should be a good event!

  2. I am in my fourth year as lead pastor at a church of 200 who have been around for 57 years in southern Indiana. Good people, who have spikes of doing good things in our community. I NEED HELP. I am looking for someone to come along side and help / mentor me to get the Externally Focsused mindset in our body. Comments and suggestions are greatly welcomed. More could be said but I think a mentor is what I need most at this time.