Ten signs of an inwardly focused church (From Thom Rainer):
- Facility focus. The church facilities develop iconic status. One of the highest priorities in the church is the protection and preservation of rooms, furniture, and other visible parts of the church’s buildings and grounds.
- Inwardly focused budget. A disproportionate share of the budget is used to meet the needs and comforts of the members instead of reaching beyond the walls of the church.
- Inordinate demands for pastoral care. All church members deserve care and concern, especially in times of need and crisis. Problems develop, however, when church members have unreasonable expectations for even minor matters. Some members expect the pastoral staff to visit them regularly merely because they have membership status.
- Program driven. Every church has programs even if they don’t admit it. When we start doing a ministry a certain way, it takes on programmatic status. The problem is not with programs. The problem develops when the program becomes an end instead of a means to greater ministry.
- Attitudes of entitlement. This issue could be a catch-all for many of the points named here. The overarching attitude is one of demanding and having a sense of deserving special treatment.
- Greater concern about change than the gospel. Almost any noticeable changes in the church evoke the ire of many; but those same passions are not evident about participating in the work of the gospel to change lives.
- Anger and hostility. Members are consistently angry. They regularly express hostility toward the church staff and other members.
- Evangelistic apathy. Very few members share their faith on a regular basis. More are concerned about their own needs rather than the greatest eternal needs of the world and community in which they live.
- Worship wars. One or more factions in the church want the music just the way they like it. Any deviation is met with anger and demands for change. The order of service must remain constant. Certain instrumentation is required while others are prohibited.
- Prolonged minutia meetings. The church spends an inordinate amount of time in different meetings. Most of the meetings deal with the most inconsequential items, while the Great Commission and Great Commandment are rarely the topics of discussion.
Ouch, ouch, ouch! You stepped on my toes. Thank you Brother Ron. John 9:22
I especially like the point about the concern being greater over a change than the gospel. I am afraid too many are guilty of this, as well as others you have mentioned. Thank you again for your inspirational and thought provoking blogs. I look forward to receiving them in the coming year. Happy New Year to you and you family.