8 Reasons Why Many Churches Don’t Have an Outward Focus

It’s no secret that many—if not most—churches are not outwardly focused. In my judgment, here are 8 reasons that’s the case:

  1. They view the church gathering as a safe place from the world. For a few minutes during fellowship and worship, we can tune out the often-rotten world we live in. Safety and comfort cause us to be inwardly-focused. 
  2. The very work of growing a church can turn a congregation inward. Think about it—determining when services will be, setting church policies, building worship centers, hiring staff, enlisting small group leaders – all of these activities turn our attention inward even when we don’t want to do so. Churches default into an inward focus unless they work hard to prevent that. 
  3. Nobody models an outward focus for them. Even the pastor often talks about an outward focus more than he models it. Sometimes, busy pastors call their church to look outwardly while they’re spending all their time ministering to the church folks already there. 
  4. Some have a history of conflict, and they’re doing their best to maintain harmony to avoid further issues. Their leaders so focus on putting out fires that they have no time or energy left to reach non-believers. A day without a battle is a good day.  
  5. Their community has changed around them, and they don’t like it. Rather than reach out to their community, they cautiously drive through it to get to the church parking lot. They usually don’t know their church neighbors, nor do they want to know them. 
  6. If the church is growing, they’re probably growing by transfer growth. They’re reaching people like them, and that growth has lulled them to sleep regarding evangelizing others. If the church is growing already, why spend more time reaching out?  
  7. The congregation is older, and they simply have little energy to be outwardly focused.  They may not want to be inwardly-focused, but they just don’t think about ways they could fix that problem. They’re tired. 
  8. They know nothing about the nations living around them or the billions of non-believers living around the world.Again, that’s because no one has taught them, challenged them, or burdened them with this responsibility. It’s hard to be burdened about outsiders if you don’t any very well. 

What are your thoughts? What would you add? Which describes your church?


  • Robin G. Jordan says:

    The challenge that many Continuing Anglican churches face is that they were not organized a community churches, ministering to a particular community, but as safe havens for Episcopalians disaffected from the Episcopal Church for various reasons and resident in a particular region. They may have no members living in the community in which their building is located and no other connections to that community. It is simply the location of their building. They require what the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Carolinas describes as “remissioning.” if they are going to not just survive but thrive. Their original base was small in the first place. The Episcopal Church was not a large denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention. Nor was it outward-focused as a denomination. Consequently the breakaway churches have negligible evangelism in their DNA. As the original base of these churches has shrunk, their membership has shrunk with it.

  • Doug Miller says:

    Titus 3 totally applies here. Too many living with the things Paul tells us are to be avoided and ignoring the things he calls excellent. If the church, everyone of us, would concentrate on and live out submission, obedience, readiness to do good, peacability, humbleness, and being transformed by the Holy Spirit, maybe then the church would be outward focused as we should be.

  • christoph says:

    point 6 is a very important point. Sometime new people fill our pews and we’re happy they’re not empty. It puts us in a wrong satisfaction.

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