The Externally Focused Church

( 1 )

Overview


If Your Church Vanished, Would Your Community Weep? Would Anyone Notice? Would Anyone Care?

"I will never forget the comment of one fourth-grade teacher as she stood there, amazed at the work being done on her classroom by complete strangers: 'If this is Christianity, then I'm interested,' she said."
from Forward by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson

Learn from churches that have made serving their communities a ...

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Overview


If Your Church Vanished, Would Your Community Weep? Would Anyone Notice? Would Anyone Care?

"I will never forget the comment of one fourth-grade teacher as she stood there, amazed at the work being done on her classroom by complete strangers: 'If this is Christianity, then I'm interested,' she said."
from Forward by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson

Learn from churches that have made serving their communities a priority--with dramatic results. Your church can be a firm pillar in your community because of the unwavering truth and love of its members.

Use case studies from churches that have mastered community service, and apply the action steps to:

  • Attract new believers and reach hurt and skeptical people through service
  • Use the resources your church already has to impact those in need
  • Learn how churches have made community service a part of their DNA
  • Help your members deepen their spiritual commitment through service
  • Discover practical ways to change your community--starting now

From the minister to the mechanic and the teen to the tenured, your church will expand God's kingdom when it extends his love to the people in your community.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764427404
  • Publisher: Group Publishing (CO)
  • Publication date: 6/9/2004
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 230,334
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

There is a movement creeping its way across churches of all shapes, sizes, and denominations. It's gaining ground, it's getting attention, and it's making a difference. It's slowly changing church statistics. These churches are evaluating what really matters, and they are reaching skeptical, hurt, and broken people through serving. How are these churches changing the relationships between the church and their communities? How are they getting a skeptical society to hear them? They are externally focused, and this is what defines them:

They are inwardly strong but outwardly focused.

They integrate good deeds and good news into the life of the church.

They value impact and influence in the community more than attendance.

They seek to be salt, light, and leaven in the community.

They see themselves as the "soul" of the community.

They would be greatly missed by the community if they left.

Remember Show and Tell in third grade? It seems as if the church has become more concerned with telling than showing. Christians will tell others what they need to do to be right with God, to be better people. Christians will proclaim what isn't right with the world. Christians know how to tell about God's love and why it is needed in people's lives. For the most part, though, our churches have forgotten to show God's love. And all too often, what we do show doesn't match up with what we tell.

Today, whether we like it or not, we have to earn the right to be heard. As we've all heard many times, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Showing through serving can help Christians and churches tell more effectively. The success of an externally focused church depends on getting involved in the community, creating authentic relationships, and being truly useful. In the process of showing, externally focused churches have discovered, again and again, that people are more willing to listen to their telling.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is written with two types of churches in mind. First is the externally committed church. These churches are already externally focused in what they do, but they want to learn what others are doing so they can excel even more. They want to increase the number of people deployed into the community where they can be salt, light, and leaven-agents of transformation. Or they may want to increase the frequency of service or the depth of that service-moving from service into relationship. They also want to learn how to leverage and increase their impact by beginning new ministries or partnering with existing efforts.

Second is the externally curious church. These churches have heard about this growing movement and want more information on how to become an externally focused church. They ask, "How did they do it?" and "How can we do it?" In both cases, by the end of the book we hope to have answered three questions:

Why should we be an externally focused church? What are we trying to accomplish? How can we get started or improve on what we are doing?

The results of an externally focused ministry are not entirely predictable. It's certain that the church will get its feet wet and probably muddy. At the very least, it will have benefited the community through its service. By becoming externally focused, churches have the chance to build relational bridges, giving Christians opportunities to share God's grace in the midst of real need. In this way, the church can transform lives as people both see and hear God's grace at work in their world-a church that is showing and telling.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Introduction: Show and Tell
Chapter 1: What Is an Externally Focused Church?
Chapter 2: Becoming Externally Focused-One Church's Journey
Chapter 3: The Power of Service
Chapter 4: Helping People Grow
Chapter 5: Nothing Happens Outside of Relationships
Chapter 6: Good News and Good Deeds
Chapter 7: From Mercy to Justice
Chapter 8: Casting the Vision
Chapter 9: Assessing the Needs of Your Community
Chapter 10: Organizing for Usefulness
Chapter 11: The Best Is Yet to Come
Appendix
Scriptures Revealing God's Heart for the Poor, the Needy, Widows, Orphans, and Aliens
Scriptures Concerning Good Works and Good Deeds Resources
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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    I agree with the premise of this book. The church is to be exter

    I agree with the premise of this book. The church is to be externally focused. This book offers many real life examples for churches & church members. It's practical & inspiring. I found myself wanting to go out & get started! I'm not in  church leadership, but I feel that I've gained insight, perspective & some ideas on how to help the church, any church, be externally focused.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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