These are hallmarks of churches that have turned inward.
It’s no secret that many—if not most—churches are not outwardly focused. In my judgment, here are eight 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 know any very well.
What are your thoughts? What would you add? Do any of these describe your church?
This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com.