Saturday, May 05, 2007

Purpose Driven Presbyterians – Report 7: Inward and Outward.

Every church and Christian is faced with a balancing act—balancing “looking inward” and “looking outward.” The Purpose Driven ministry model helps to provide that balance.

Looking inward: The natural tendency of every church is to look “inward.” There are many things involved with this inward focus. Pastoral care is one aspect of an inward focus. We need to be there for people during their times of need. In the past couple of weeks our small church has had three people with surgeries and several others with various medical needs. Another aspect of an inward focus is our gathering for food and coffee following worship. This is a great time to reconnect with people you haven’t seen for a week or two. Discipleship is a component of our inward focus.

Looking outward: Every church needs to be involved in mission and evangelism—the outward focus. Presbyterians are very generous with their $$$ for mission. Presbyterians are not very comfortable with actually “doing” evangelism and mission. Just this week one of the elders at my church said that we do not need to grow larger. I couldn’t believe my ears! But when I calmed down (a day or two later) I realized that the elder was only reacting like most of the rest of my church. Just last Sunday we had visitors stay for the coffee time. They were sitting at a table all by themselves. Not a single long time person from the church was talking with them. Fortunately, some of our newest members went over to talk with them. I am convinced that most churches say they want to be “outward” focused but very few are willing to do what it takes to be outward focused. Here at Evergreen, we have be talking about it (and trying to do it) for two years. We have only taken baby steps, at best. The Purpose Driven model will eventually help our folks to gain an outward mentality.

I look forward to the day when there is a balance between the “inward” and “outward” focus of our church. I just hope that it won’t be too late.


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