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Are You Leading an Outward or Inward-Focused Church?


What is your church willing to do to reach people on the outside? The simple answer to this question reveals a lot about the kind of ministry you're leading.

Over the last several years, I’ve worked with church leaders from close to 200 different churches in consulting and coaching relationships. These churches are all different shapes and sizes.

There are denominational and non-denominational churches.

Traditional and contemporary churches.

Small churches and megachurches.

Church plants and churches that have existed for over a hundred years.

After working with all those churches, though, this is probably the key distinguishing factor when it comes to the health of the church: It’s whether the church is outward-focused or inward-focused.

That issue is always what creates the most tension when it comes to the potential for change.

At the heart of the issue is this basic question: What are we willing to do to reach people outside the church and outside the faith?

For some churches I’ve worked with, the answer is just about anything short of sin. For others, it’s just about nothing if it means losing people who already attend the church.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true about these two types of churches:

The Outward-Focused Church.

The primary challenge will be how to we help people take steps in their spiritual journey after they accept Christ.

The fact is, though, most outward-focused churches are very sensitive to this challenge. These leaders are uncomfortable with people getting stuck spiritually, and they recognize that people with vibrant relationships with Jesus want to continue to reach people outside the faith.

Maturing Christians join the mission.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and

Tony on ChurchLeaders   Tony's Website

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