Internally focused churches find themselves lacking in relationships. This happens because an internally focused church teaches people unintentionally to be selfish. This selfishness tends to turn “outsiders” (those outside the church) off. Actually, selfishness turns us all off, doesn’t it, unless its us behaving selfishly! On page 19 of The Externally Focused Church, the author says this, “…Worship that is not manifested in how we live in relationship with others may be hollow.“ Our relationships with others is paramount to being externally focused and key to our worship of God.
I like the worship talk a lot here. We have been focusing on worship in our “Your Christmas To-Do List” series this month. Our Lead Ministers, Jason Hight has talked a lot about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable worship. When I combined Jason’s explanation of acceptable and unacceptable worship with the quote from the Externally Focused Church, I recalled a quote I heard at a church planting conference Katie and I attended in the spring. I heard church planter Vince Antonucci say at that conference, “If we are not in relationships with non-Christians maybe we aren’t as close to God as we think we are.“ Think about that for a moment. Knowing that the Bible mentions people on the margins of life over 400 times tells us that God’s heart breaks for those far from him and those who hurt and struggle. Just maybe if our worship of Him, that is, the living of our life before Him in every moment, doesn’t include being externally focused on people on the margins of life, we just might not be bringing acceptable worship. I know I have a long way to go. How about you?
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