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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One response to “Being Externally Focused and Worship”
In the text you wrote comes this question – “If we are not in relationships with non-Christians maybe we aren’t as close to God as we think we are.“
This is my question/comment – “If we are not in relationship with Christians maybe we havn’t even got to first base on being close to God?”
In most of the churches I have been to there are few deep relationships with others at church.
Relationships at church are often based on shared activities or studies and conformity to accepted norms. I don’t see a lot of just hanging out together so we get to know one another for no other reason than that.
Real fellowship is very rare and very precious and I am a church going Christian and yet mostly unknown by many people I come in contact with.
When Jesus died no one at all knew him – it was only at Pentecost they got to know who Jesus really was through the holy spirits revelation.
Do we take the time to really know each other and love each other as Jesus asks us to? Do we only love those at church who are like us and don’t rock the boat too much? Do we only love those who give to us or do we give to others so we feel good or they feel good?
I am a friendly boat rocker – I don’t fit in too well yet I still value fellowship for its own sake and I care about people.