Blog Archives

Outward-Facing Churches


Joining the community

Joining The Community by Susanne Nilsson on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Thom Rainer suggests seven powerful habits of outward-focussed churches.

What would be on your list?

What Pastors Don’t Like About Pastoring

Thom Rainer lists a Top 10 of things ministers don’t like about the ministry. It’s only an informal list, not based on a serious, properly researched survey. Ministers will have different perceptions. For example, I love doing weddings (#9 on Rainer’s list) and I also consider it a great privilege to conduct the funerals of non-Christians (#2), because there is a gospel opportunity to show the love and compassion of Christ. But budgets (#10) and business meetings (#1) – oh yes, I’m there every inch of the way.

What do you think of the list? What would you add to it, or remove from it?

A Contradiction In Terms: An Inward-Looking Church

Remembering the old quote attributed to Emil Brunner that ‘the church exists by mission as fire exists by burning’, it is sobering to read ‘10 Warning Signs Of An Inwardly Obsessed Church‘ by Thom Rainer. Some of Dr Rainer’s ten signs sound not only familiar but widespread to me.

What do you think of his list? Would you add any? Would you challenge any?

Whatever you think, the tenor of the article underlines even more for me the importance of churches being mission-focussed. (By which, I don’t simply mean, ‘raising funds for others to do mission’.) Stuff about the priority of worship often deteriorates into narcissistic arguments about personal taste and aesthetics. I agree that ‘mission exists because worship doesn’t’, but that is all the more reason to have mission-minded churches.
I’m reminded of the words of Ian Brown, former lead vocalist of the Stone Roses, who talked about his own spiritual quest in an interview in Q Magazine in November 2007:

My spiritual quest is for me to understand God. I’ve gotta educate myself, cos the church isn’t going to show me God. They put themselves next to God so that you’ve got to go through them to get to God. I don’t believe that.

It’s time we stopped getting in the way and being part of the solution for people like Brown.