The ‘compromises’ Of An Outward Focused Church

title imageLeaders, have you noticed how certain topics and issues find a current emphasis when the Holy Spirit is seeking to say something clearly to The Church. The challenge of being outward focused in our churchmanship is strong in this season.  Why is this? Because it is so easy to move away from our original purpose for existing.

In the excellent book Missional Drift, co authors Pete Greer and Chris Horst work from this premise. ‘Drift is the natural course of any organisation (including a local church).  It takes focused attention to safeguard against it. Ignored, drift is only a matter of time’. Might this be the reason seventy percent of local churches never celebrate their centenary. Making church just about those who go and forgetting about those who have not yet come is drift and the churches’ demise is eventually inevitable.

A recent British Social Attitudes poll observed  52% of the UK population now claimed ‘no religion’, that is a significant spike in recent years. They are skeptical and cynical, but loved of God.  Below is a bullet point list, it is just that, of some ‘compromises’ worth considering for the ‘shop window’ Sunday service. Big question for your next leaders meeting, is our focus in or out?

  • No church just for me - My song choice, my preferences, my exercise of spiritual gifts
  • No ‘no time’ limits - People want to know what time the service starts and finishes! The worship always goes on, into the workplace on Monday morning
  • No ‘In Jokes’ - Because you immediately alienate those who have never been before.
  • No Cliques - They are more prevalent in church than you might imagine.  Get people to connect with those they are not comfortable with
  • No ‘Off Message’ - It takes a long time to build trust in many people. It only takes a moment of madness to destroy it
  • No Indulgence - The platform is not for showboating but for communicating. Anything that works against this must be looked at
  • No non explanations - If something happens unusually or unexpectedly, explain briefly. Visitors to church are not bound by our assumptions.The thought that ‘everyone knows’ means no new people are coming
  • No Lazy Sunday - That is just the week a bunch of new people come, and we are not ready.  Consistency wins out! ‘Successful churches doing consistently what other churches do occasionally’  
  • No Individuality - It takes a team. ‘It is amazing what can happen when it doesn’t matter who gets the glory……it doesn’t matter’
  • No Compromise on Compromise - Because one of the primary reasons the church exists is for those that have not yet come.

Of course styles of church will differ, no more so than in Assemblies of God.  Whatever the style, by intentional lead let us avoid the drift and that means lifting our eyes to always ensure an outward focus

Phil Pye
National Leadership Team - Central Area Leader